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13 October 2010

The Easy Five-Step Market Tote (and it's upcycled!)


There I was at the thrift shop, eyeing all these bright 99 cent pillowcases and yards of cheap but unloved bias tape. (I was also freaking out the other shoppers by smelling the pillowcases to avoid the ones with that sweaty laundered smell).  Put the two together along with some scraps for straps, and you can make a simple market tote that's sturdy enough for grocery go-getting.

Tutorial

Supplies:
One sensational pillowcase
One simple pocket
Two straps - I sewed mine from scraps of other fabrics.  Each strap should be appx. 48 inches long.
44 inches of double fold bias tape

Step 1 - Make a sensational pocket out of colorful scrap fabrics. 

Step 2 - Fold your pillowcase in half, bringing the short ends together.  The folded edge will be the bottom of your tote.  Centre your pocket on the folded pillowcase and sew to the "front" of your tote, either inside or outside.


Step 3 - Encase each "short" top edge of the pillowcase with bias tape and stitch into place.  (This will sew closed the open end of the pillowcase too).

Step 4 - Make two straps that will be seen on the exterior of your tote.  Mine are each 48 inches long and  about 3 inches wide when finished.  Finish the raw edges of each strap any way that you like (ie. folding the raw edges inward, serging them, etc.)  but make sure they are sturdy enough to carry your groceries!  Open up your pillowcase and position each strap as shown.  The straps meet smack dab in the middle.

Overlap the straps slightly where they meet.  Fold under one raw edge as shown below and pin the straps all over to hold them in place.  Fold up your pillowcase to make sure that the two protruding handles are the same length and adjust the straps till you get it right.  Sew straps to outside of pillowcase.

Step 5 - With right sides together, fold pillowcase in half again and sew up two side seams.  Finito!

For a fun look, dissect two different pillowcases and "remake" the pillowcase so that your inside and outside fabrics are different.

I'm in love with the price!  To buy enough fabric to make each bag's body, I would have had to spend at least $4.00.  Ninety-nine cents is far more economical!

36 comments:

leigh7911 said...

Cute! I have a bunch of old fabric that I stole... um, inherited... from my mom that I've earmarked for bags. If I didn't, this would be my go-to instead, I think. :)

Sandy said...

What a great idea! Thanks so much for the inspiration... this is going on my Must Sew list.

susan@tickledpaisley said...

FUN! I may just have to head over the the thrift shop to look for some pillow cases!

bountifulblessings said...

Love the tote...looks familiar? :-)

Melissa said...

Those fabrics are gorgeous! I have a bin full of pillowcases waiting to be sewn, now I know what to do with at least a few of them.

cucicucicoo said...

these look great! you found some amazing pillowcases! :) lisa

LB3K said...

That is awesome! Great idea. . .

Mommafo said...

GAH such a good idea!!!!!!! I find SHAMS all the time and I never know what the heck to do with them! I'm in heaven. :) (FYI- Baking soda makes a huge difference with icky smells)

Attilio said...

wow! how easy peasy...and if only i could find holiday themed pillowcases, they would make for great stocking fillers for my mum, friends etc,
thanks for always coming up with great ideas.
becky bpbajona(at)maltanet(dot)net

KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

The straps are gorgeous Cynthia!! It takes everything up a notch! Very resourceful, but how can bias tape be unloved?

Mama Lusco said...

Awesome idea. These are great!

dear my kids said...

You always amaze me!!!
I LOVE your stuff!!

Digital Misfit said...

Great tute! Now I will definitely pick up the quirky pillowcases I sometimes spot at Value Village (once there was a Chips Ahoy pillowcase that I wanted, but could not think of what to do with it).

Kerrie said...

Great project!

wwilloww said...

Thanks for a GREAT tutorial!!! As a rubber stamper, I am itching to try stamping on solid color pillowcases and then creating the tote!!! Woohoo, I'm havin' some fun now!!!

Joyce said...

This is such a great idea. I'm always going to thrift stores, etc... Now I'll know what I can do with pillowcases.

maemissymae said...

Great idea! I just bought a new sewing machine ,and I'm headed to the thrift store

Stephanie Ketchin said...

I love this idea! Fantastic!

Rosa said...

Great idea! Thanks for the tutorial!

Susan said...

Super idea. Just rescued pillowcases and shams from the thrift store box where they were sure to end up as rags.

Now, do you a great recyling idea for dust ruffles?

Susan

yippeevintage said...

This is a great project... and freaking out a few shoppers is totally worth avoiding that particular smell :p

patricia said...

great, this also works out for old t-shirts. cut off sleeves, sew bottoms, widen neck some and sew or serge around neck and arm holes. arm holes/shoulder makes built in handle.

Linda said...

I'm not much of a thrift store shopper but I found really cute pillowcases at the dollar store. Sure can't beat the price and they have that nice, new smell.

Melissa said...

I absolutely LOVE this idea!
Thank you so much for sharing, now I am on a mission for pillow cases!!!Thanks :)

http://www.artfire.com/users/auntiechrisquiltfabric said...

Great instructions ,super easy bag.Love it.

yammytam said...

OMGosh I love totes and dont sew!!! What an awesome idea, thank you

enchantedbybooks said...

Brilliant idea with the straps...never would have thought of that!

Christy And Claude said...

Wow so easy!! Love this!

Fave Tutus said...

Thanks so much for this tutorial! I can't wait try it. I added it to my blog of my favorite tutorials. I think my fans would really enjoy it! Here is a link: http://favetutus.blogspot.com/2013/06/5-step-market-tote-tutorial.html Thanks again!

ChelleK said...

Omg soooo cute! I gotta make some! Thanks!!!

sms11770 said...

What a great idea! Cute and economical. Going to make a couple for each of my favorite friends.
Thanks so much for sharing and posting this.

http://www.artfire.com/users/auntiechrisquiltfabric said...

Very nice!Cute bag.

zebra5667 said...

couldn't you use the same principal using wife beaters or tank tops....hmm gonna have to give it a shot..

madrocki said...

What a great idea, I am a senior and do a bit of selling at the local market so I am going to give this a go. Thanks for sharing

Kitty said...

ok, I'm confused. are you using a double layer of fabric for this bag? or a quadruple layer? thanks for any help. Kitty

Dale Huss said...

Just FYI.....those pillowcases that you find at a thrift store, the ones that have a head-smell odor... you can remove that smell from them by soaking them in hot water, a little laundry soap and dishwasher "Lemmi Shine" crystals or wash them in the washer with "hot" water, laundry detergent, hot water and a teaspoon of Lemmi Shine...you will be surprised how that works. They come out smelling fresh and clean.