October 17, 2008

How to Make a Tote Bag

If you're like me, you have TONS of clothes sitting on your shelves that you don't use. I am always going to thrift stores and buying random crap. I often buy things for their bold colors or vintage patterns even if they don't fit properly. I tell myself I will alter it and wear it to death...but this rarely happens. In any case, one simple thing you can do with an article of clothing you love but never wear, is turn it into a tote bag.

I especially like to turn skirts into totes. I find that because skirts already have a nice finished waistline, that when upcycled into a bag, it gives the illusion of excellent craftsmanship. But the work required is minimal. Here are the steps.

1. First, find your favorite skirt that you NEVER wear. I literally have had this skirt over 5 years and have NEVER worn it.


2. You'll also need something for the straps. You can easily use the scraps from the skirt, a necktie, or a fabric belt. I opted for the fabric belt. I had one lying around that never fit me anyway.


3. Once you have selected your items, turn the skirt inside out, and just fold back the sides until you find a size and dimension you find pleasing.

4. Then simply take a sharpie (or any marker) and draw a line right on the fabric along your folds. Remember this is not an exact science. I just eyeball my measurements. I hate measuring! (You're not going to see the marker anyway, since it's inside out.)



5. Take scissors and cut right along your line. If your line isn't straight, don't worry. Just try to cut as straight as possible. You should now have 2 squares of fabric (3 cut sides and 1 finished waistline which will be the top of your bag). Now you are ready to sew!


6. Just sew up the 3 cut sides. Make sure the inside of the fabric is facing out. I use a sewing machine because it is so quick and the stitches are even and tight. But you can certainly handsew it.




7. Now for the straps...Loosely measure the length you want your straps. Cut them to size. And decide how you want to secure them to your bag. I personally like when my details are revealed. Sort of a craftsman approach. I prefer to see the stitching because it gives it more character. Turn your bag right-side out. And sew the straps to the bag.



8. You now have a super cute totebag and I guarantee no one else will have it!! And now you can feel good that you are finally using that skirt!

9 comments:

bshorr said...

so cute!

Mannie Vincent said...

Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing!

KimmChi said...

Love it - this is my kind of crafting!

Geek+Nerd said...

That is so clever - I've been refashioning forever and I've never thought to do this! Thanks!

MaryAnne LoVerme said...

adorable!

La Pistolera said...

pretty!

persuede said...

that rocks - thanks!

Nancy said...

All I gotta say is BEAUTIFUL.

Lydia said...

wow! It's such a simple idea but I never would have thought of doing that. Looks great!