Want a brand new tote bag? Don’t purchase one – attempt making one as an alternative! Portia Lawrie, writer of the sustainable style e book The Re:Style Wardrobe cleverly reveals you make a tote bag from upcycled supplies.

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Are you a complicated sewist or crafter in search of a brand new strategy to reuse waste supplies, akin to previous cushion covers, bathe curtains, or previous garments? Portia Lawrie, writer of the brand new e book The Re:Fashion Wardrobe – revealed by Search Press – is right here with an in-depth information on make a classy tote bag from totally upcycled materials.

An excellent bag is a vital a part of any wardrobe, and there are a near-infinite variety of designs to select from. None are extra enduring, versatile or as easy to make, although, as the standard tote bag.

Differ the scale and dimensions, handles straps, closures and {hardware}, and materials used. Line it, or don’t. Field out the corners, or don’t. There are a lot of prospects to make your tote bag private to you.

Upcycled Material Decisions

With regards to making the tote bag, stitching two layers of fabric collectively, and leaving the highest open, is the elemental place to begin of any bag.

The material you select will depend upon the aim of your bag. For every day use, materials ought to be sturdy. Heavier materials like denim, canvas, curtain and fabric materials are perfect and are sometimes widespread selections. Nonetheless, don’t be afraid to get inventive and think about much less standard selections. Neoprene, tarpaulins, bathe curtains, laundrette luggage, quilted throws and towels all have the potential to throw up some fascinating and presumably novel outcomes.

Don’t rule out lighter materials both. These could be interfaced so as to add construction and sturdiness.

When choosing a cloth take into consideration what your stitching machine can address, and use the appropriate needles, thread, presser ft and machine settings for the job.

Stroll by your design in your head. Take into consideration what number of layers of cloth your machine might want to sew by: the place will seams intersect, and the way will the layers construct within the ultimate levels?

I like to recommend swatch testing to see how your machine copes by that variety of layers. Considering
forward like this provides you the chance to adapt your tote bag design earlier than you begin, slightly than reaching the previous few steps and discovering the concept in your head merely isn’t going to work with the machine you’ve.

Selecting the Handles & {Hardware} For Your Tote Bag

Numerous handles, straps and {hardware} could be added, in response to the instruments and supplies at your disposal and your private desire/aesthetic. They are often comprised of the identical materials as your tote bag outer/shell (if in case you have sufficient left). Or they are often comprised of contrasting materials harvested from previous or damaged luggage.

Bag-making suppliers inventory a variety of ready-made handles, straps and {hardware} in case you don’t have entry to those you want. It’s sensible to resolve what handles, straps and {hardware} you’re going so as to add earlier than you make your bag, as it’s possible you’ll want to hold out some steps previous to attaching the liner.

How To Make A Tote Bag From Upcycled Supplies

The completed dimension of your tote bag can be 28 x 38cm (11 x 15in), not together with the deal with and strap.

On this information, I’ve used secondhand leather-based cushion covers purchased on eBay and an previous shirt for the liner. I then added some new {hardware} to raise the general look and end.

For those who’re utilizing upcycled leather-based, then right here’s a tip on sew leather-based seams:

  1. Sew the seam as standard, utilizing a leather-based needle, Teflon presser foot and robust thread.
  2. Curler the seam open and flat utilizing a leather-based curler/press.
  3. Glue the seam allowance down utilizing a appropriate glue. Weigh seams down with sample weights
    as they set.

You Will Want

● Supply cloth, for the principle tote bag outer/shell and dealing with. I used 4 cushion covers with leather-based fronts – every cowl measured 40cm (15¾in) sq..
● Donor cloth, for the principle bag lining. I used 1 gray cotton shirt.
● Sample weights
● Aluminium clips
● Robust thread, like denim thread
● Rivets and fixing instruments
● Eyelets and fixing instruments
● Heavy-duty set off clasps
● Non-compulsory: leather-based glue; leather-based press/curler – a small rolling pin is an effective various; non-stick/Teflon presser foot


I’ve damaged this down into three components – the tote bag physique, the handles after which the shoulder strap.

How To Make The Tote Bag Physique

red leather cushion covers which will be upcycled into a tote bag.

1. My covers had felt cloth on the again, and leather-based on the entrance. I started by fully deconstructing them, retaining solely the leather-based fronts. Every of my deconstructed cushion fronts measured roughly 40cm (15¾in) sq..

The zips on the unique covers weren’t thrown away. As an alternative, I added them to my haberdashery stash for future initiatives. I additionally held on to the material cushion backs, to assist me determine my tote bag design – and to make a toile with – earlier than chopping into the leather-based.

Cut of strips of red leather cushion cover.

2. To make the aspect panels of the bag outer/shell, I lower out two slim items from one cushion entrance, retaining the identical top as the unique entrance. As my cushion entrance featured two vertical seams, I used these as a information for chopping my aspect panels. You may make yours wider or narrower if you want, relying on how giant you’d like your tote bag to be. My aspect panels measured approx. 15 x 40cm (6 x 15¾in).

red leather panels stitched together

3. I sewed the aspect panel items to an uncut cushion entrance, proper sides collectively and matching the uncooked edges.

Pressing the tote bag seams

4. The seams have been pressed open and flat. (Use a leather-based curler or rolling pin, in case you’re working with leather-based, like me. I additionally used sample weights and glue to carry down the allowances flat).

Adding the third cushion panel to the bag.

5. A 3rd cushion entrance was then sewn proper aspect collectively to the free edges of the aspect panels, making one other giant bag panel and making a ‘tube’.

Making a tote bag lining from an old grey shirt.

6. To create your bag lining, make one other ‘tube’ from items which might be the identical dimensions as your bag outer/shell, utilizing your donor cloth.

I wished so as to add dealing with to the highest of my bag lining, so the liner panels themselves have been made somewhat smaller in top than the bag outer to accommodate, and ensuring to permit for the seam allowances. I subtracted about 7cm (2¾in). From my shirt, I lower up two 15 x 33cm (6 x 13in) aspect panel items and two 40 x 33cm (15¾ x 13in) essential bag panel items.

With the shirt entrance with a button placket, I made certain the button placket of the shirt entrance was flipped on its aspect earlier than I lower it. After which I sewed vertical traces over it to kind pockets.

At this level you may additionally add all method of pockets and extras to the liner, utilizing numerous components of the shirt. For instance, why not use the cuff placket as a key fob? Get inventive!

Red leather tote bag facing.

7. For the dealing with on the prime of the bag lining, I lower a number of 7cm (2¾in) extensive strips of leather-based from the remaining cushion fronts. I then joined the quick ends proper aspect collectively to make a “loop” that matched the circumference of the bag outer/shell. My loop measured approx. 95cm (37½in) lengthy. The seam allowances have been pressed open and flat (use a leather-based curler, glue and sample weights, in case you want these).

Attaching tote bag lining to outer fabric.

8. With the dealing with piece inside out, and uncooked edges matching, I sewed the dealing with to the highest of the bag lining.

Cutting away corner triangles

9. With the bag outer/shell turned unsuitable aspect out, I sewed throughout the underside of the tube with a 5mm (¼in) seam allowance to shut the bag base. The seam allowance was pressed open. I then pinched the corners of the bag, so the aspect seam was centred over the bottom seam. Then I clipped them collectively after which sewed straight throughout the corners at proper angles. The nook triangles have been then lower away, with a scant seam allowance.

The base of the tote bag

10. Repeat for the bag lining, with a 5mm (¼in) bigger seam allowance on the base. The gap between this line of sewing and the tip of the bag nook will dictate how boxy your bag is (in different phrases, how extensive the bottom is). For a shallow base, sew a brief distance from the tip. For a wider base, sew additional away.

11. I turned the bag RS out and poked out the corners.

Lining the bag with cardboard

Non-compulsory step: If you wish to present construction to the bottom of the bag then you may recycle a bit of sturdy card or plastic. Minimize it to the scale of the bottom after which glue it to the bottom, on the within, earlier than continuing to the following step.

Bag inside out with lining attached

12. The bag lining was turned the unsuitable aspect out, and the bag outer/shell turned the appropriate aspect out. The bag outer/shell was then positioned contained in the bag lining, with the aspect seams of each luggage aligned. I then sewed the liner and outer/shell proper sides collectively, across the prime edge solely. Grading the seam allowances afterwards lowered bulk.

Ripping seam to create gap for bag to turn through

13. I rigorously unpicked the bottom seam of the liner, nearly to the aspect seams, to create a spot to show by the tote bag.

Bag pictured inside out

14. As soon as the bag outer/shell was pulled by the opening within the base of the liner, I pulled after which pressed the liner away from the bag. I then under-stitched across the prime fringe of the liner/dealing with.

Closing up base of bag

15. I closed up the bottom of the liner by machine. This might be executed by hand with a slip sew, if you want.

Bag turned right way

16. The liner/dealing with was pushed into place, on the within of the bag, as proven. I secured the layers with clips after which topstitched the liner in place across the prime edge.

Making The Tote Bag Handles

Red Tote bag with handles
  1. I made the handles for my tote bag from the cut-away seams of the cushion fronts. I lower two strips, every measuring approx. 2.5 x 40cm. Then I turned below the quick ends by 1cm (⅜in) to neaten. I then stitched these down and lower the seam allowances at angles to scale back bulk. The tote bag straps have been then connected to the back and front of the bag with rivets, centrally.

Making The Shoulder Strap

making the shoulder strap from upcycled fabrics

1. The shoulder strap for the tote bag was additionally comprised of the remnants of my leather-based cushion fronts.

I sewed collectively six strips measuring approx. 7 x 20cm (2¾ x 7⅞in), with the appropriate sides dealing with, to make an extended strip. After urgent the seam allowances open and flat, I then folded the strap piece in half alongside the size, unsuitable sides dealing with.

The unsuitable sides have been then glued collectively, and I edge-stitched throughout. Every nook of the quick ends have been trimmed at diagonal angles to scale back bulk. Two strap-end tabs have been comprised of cutaway seams from the cushion fronts. These measured approx. 2.5 x 8cm (1 x 3⅛in). The ends of each the strap and tabs had holes punched for the rivets. Because the tabs sit over the ends of the strap to make them neat, in addition to maintain the clasps, I made certain the holes for the tabs and straps ends have been the identical distance aside.

Trigger clasps attached to straps

2. I threaded the tabs by the tops of the set off clasps. Then the tabs have been wrapped across the ends of the strap, matching the holes. The strap and tabs (and with them, the set off clasps) have been then riveted in place.

Eyelets with trigger clasp attached

3. Lastly, giant eyelets have been put in on the tops of the tote bag sides to permit the strap to be connected.

Have A Play

When you’ve made your tote bag, you don’t must cease there. You may make keyrings and zipper pouches to match out of leftover scraps. Or you may use the identical method however omit the liner to make reusable purchasing luggage to hold with you. Assume twill and denim, cotton bedding, bathe curtains, and tablecloths as sources of textiles for these.

About The Re:Style Wardrobe

Portia’s e book, The Re:Fashion Wardrobe, teaches you sew a sustainable capsule wardrobe that’s tailor-made to you – and with it, assist break the cycle of throw-away style.

Right here you’ll kearn alter or create totally new clothes from pre-loved garments or forgotten materials that aren’t solely stylish however don’t price the earth.

Starting with recommendation on tools, materials and supply your garments for refashioning, Portia will then take you step-by-step by a set of 11 clothes that she has reworked, displaying you simply how straightforward it’s to refresh or drastically change any piece of clothes you come throughout.

Each garment within the assortment can be utilized to create a contemporary capsule wardrobe which you could put on all year long, and Portia has included recommendation on modify the clothes within the e book to make variations appropriate for various occasions of the yr.

Helpful stitching strategies with clear illustrations are included in the back of the e book so that you can dip into everytime you want them – from measuring and becoming by to garment deconstruction and development.

This isn’t the “Becky house eccy” refashioning of previous, or just make-do-and-mend both. That is displaying that with a while, primary stitching strategies and a touch of inventive imaginative and prescient, a wardrobe you’ve made totally from recycled clothes and textiles could be as fashionable, edgy and aspirational as something the excessive avenue has to supply.

On the lookout for extra crafting inspiration? Take a look at this useful information on make a cushion from an previous jumper.

Pin this tote bag tutorial for later:

Red tote bag, with a blue text box that reads how to make a stylish tote bag from upcycled fabrics.

Images by Jamie Kendrick for Search Press

#Tote #Bag #Upcycled #Supplies

first published by moralfibres.co.uk

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