PHOTO: SweetMommyMom.com
Emily Lawrence Mendoza
January 13, 2015

Ask any farmers’ market regular and you’ll hear that reusable shopping bags aren’t just green, they’re far more convenient to carry than their disposable counterparts. They hold more, are much more durable, and are far more comfortable to carry than plastic bags cutting into your hands.

If you are anything like me, you have no shortage of reusable bags lying around, but I am in love with this stylish, upcylced pillowcase tote and can’t help but think of it as the grown-up cousin to the trick-or-treat candy sacks we all lugged around as kids. Whether you want to make one for yourself, for a friend or to sell at your market booth, you’ll find they’re a great way to use up old linens take up space in your hall closet.

To make this low/no-sew tote you’ll need:

  • a pillowcase (I used the plain ones I had on hand, but this project would be adorable with a cute vintage floral pillowcase.)
  • fabric scissors
  • PDF template
  • water-soluble pen
  • bias tape
  • sewing machine and supplies, or heat and bond adhesive

Step 1

Upcycled Pillowcase Tote - Photo by Emily Lawrence Mendoza (HobbyFarms.com)

Lay out the pillowcase on an even cutting surface, and fold in half lengthwise.

Step 2

Upcycled Pillowcase Tote - Photo by Emily Lawrence Mendoza (HobbyFarms.com)

Print and assemble the cutting template.

Step 3

Upcycled Pillowcase Tote - Photo by Emily Lawrence Mendoza (HobbyFarms.com)

Lay the template at the top of the pillowcase, with the straight, flat edge facing the side seams. The point where you start cutting should be touching the top folded corner. Trace the cutting line with your water-soluble pen so it washes off.

Step 4

Upcycled Pillowcase Tote - Photo by Emily Lawrence Mendoza (HobbyFarms.com)

Along the transferred line, cut through the four layers of folded fabric.

Step 5

Upcycled Pillowcase Tote - Photo by Emily Lawrence Mendoza (HobbyFarms.com)

Upcycled Pillowcase Tote - Photo by Emily Lawrence Mendoza (HobbyFarms.com)

If using a sewing machine, hem the raw edges. Otherwise, finish the raw edges with bias tape and heat-and-bond adhesive. To attach the heat-and-bond, first trim it to the same width as the opened bias tape, and iron it on with the adhesive side facing the tape. Cut two strips of bias tape long enough to line the edges.

Once the heat-and-bond has cooled, remove the paper backing, fold the bias tape around the raw edges and adhere it with an iron, following along the edges until all raw cuts are covered. It helps to start on one side of the top point and finish along the other, trim overhang and repeat along the other side of what will be the armhole.

Step 6

Upcycled Pillowcase Tote - Photo by Emily Lawrence Mendoza (HobbyFarms.com)

Upcycled Pillowcase Tote - Photo by Emily Lawrence Mendoza (HobbyFarms.com)

Once the raw edges are finished, gather the two points of fabric and tie them together with simple square knot leaving about 1 to 2 inches of overhanging points.

Tip for Use

This bag folds up easily and can be tossed into a purse or car trunk to have on hand for your next shopping trip.



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