I’ve got a fever. And the only prescription… is to shop more yard sales. ; ) Ha! Okay, so not really. I mean, I only stop if it looks promising!
So I stopped at a yard sale at the beginning of summer, and I saw this fabric shower curtain and thought that it would make a great tote bag due to its canvas-y texture. Pretty good upcycle idea, eh? (I live close enough to the Canadian border to feel comfortable enough to say “eh”. Don’t judge me.) And the pattern is pretty nifty to boot. So the totes (yep, plural – totes. That’s a lot -o-fabric there) I’m making out of this one shower curtain are destined to be my grocery bags.
And I think that’s the perfect job for them. They are totally washable. I have some quasi-sturdy plastic canvas to put in the bottoms to help make them a bit more sturdy and to hold their shape. They are a good size; larger than a plastic or paper bag, yet not too large where you feel you have to fill it to the brim with canned goods and then rip it to shreds from being too heavy. And the handles are long enough that I can sling them over my shoulder, yet short enough where I can carry them with my hands down at my side and they don’t skim the ground.
So, yeah. Here’s how to make them!
The finished tote measures 13″x13″x8″. So I cut 5 pieces of fabric, the details of which are highlighted in the photo below.
After your pieces are cut, take them to the iron (set aside your handle pieces for now). Fold your large piece in half (hamburger fold) and iron, and your two side pieces in half (hot dog fold) and iron. Here’s where the explanation gets a little tricky, so hopefully the photos will help.
- Take your large piece (right side up), find the fold that you ironed. Then take one of your side pieces (right side down), find the fold and match that up with the fold from the large piece and pin all along that bottom edge.
- Then, you are going to take the remaining fabric from the piece on the bottom on both sides, and fold them up at a 90 degree angle to meet the two sides of your side piece. Pin in place and sew (1/2″ seam) from the top of one side all the way around to the top of the other side. If you want, you can even go back and stitch again around the bottom for added strength. Once that is done, you need to go back and do these steps over again for the other side. It’s not going to lie perfectly flat like it did for the first time, so just line up the sides the best you can.
- Now you should have an inside out tote bag without handles. So let’s go make the handles! Back at your ironing board you are going to fold the handle pieces in half (hot dog fold) and press. Then open it back up, and fold your sides in half so that the outside edge meets up with the inside fold line. Press those in place, close it all back up and press again. Then sew all along both edges (about 1/8″ seam) to close them up and make them sturdy. You can leave the ends raw as they won’t be exposed.
- Now, to sew your handles on to your bag. Take your inside out tote over to your iron, and fold the top edge down about an inch and iron, and then another inch and iron again. To place your handles on your tote, find the center of the front and back, then measure 3″ out on either side of the center, and that’s where the ends of your handles should be pinned. Tuck the raw ends of your handles up underneath the folded top.
- Back at your sewing machine you are going to sew along the bottom edge of your top fold. Make sure your handles are laying flat and are pointed down. Reinforce your stitching as you get to each handle.
- Now, take your handles and bring them up so that they are still flat and facing up out of the tote. Sew all along the top edge of the top fold, making sure to reinforce your stitching as you get to the handles.
- Turn the tote right side out and enjoy putting these work horses to good use!
So how did your tote turn out? What are you planning on using it for?