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$ $ $ $ $
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• • • • •
Time
2h30

Just the thing for those old shopping bags
This is a bag I made for my Aunt's birthday - since I'm a student I can't really afford to buy presents (or materials really!), so I always try to make things when I can.
Its a really easy project - I upcycled an old store-bought shopping bag and an old dress (you could use any fabric you have handy!) that I had lying around, and think it turned out great!

Posted by Heather D. Published See Heather D.'s 2 projects »
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  • How to make a tote bag. Up Cycled Funky Shopping Bag - Step 1
    Step 1

    For the project you'll need an old (or new if you don't have one handy) flat bottomed shopping bag - the kind they get you to buy so as to use less plastic bags. The shape and size of this will dictate your finished bag. You also need the fabric for the outer of the bag (I used an old dress), as well as scissors, pins, and a seam ripper/unpick - this needs to be as sharp as possible!

  • How to make a tote bag. Up Cycled Funky Shopping Bag - Step 2
    Step 2

    The first thing you need to do is deconstruct your bag - if yours has 'piped' edges like mine instead of a normal seam, take these off and throw them away - you won't need them.
    You also want to take off any tags or hang-tabs that were on the bag. Keep the handles, and main panels of the bag.

  • How to make a tote bag. Up Cycled Funky Shopping Bag - Step 3
    Step 3

    When you're un-picking the bag BE CAREFUL! The fabric these are made of isn't super strong on its own - don't try to just pull and rip the threads, or you'll end up with a big rip like I did! Thats why a really sharp seam ripper/unpick is best, since it means you don't need to tug as hard.

  • How to make a tote bag. Up Cycled Funky Shopping Bag - Step 4
    Step 4

    Now you should have all the bits of your deconstructed shopping bag, as well as your outer fabric - in my case, a deconstructed dress!
    I also decided at this point to re-inforce my bag in the side panels with some heavy denim I had lying around. I also decided that I'd use a denim panel on the bottom of the bag, so as to make the bottom a little more sturdy, and to prevent any of the pretty fabric getting scuffed or dirtied if put on the ground/counters.

  • How to make a tote bag. Up Cycled Funky Shopping Bag - Step 5
    Step 5

    I then cut out the outer fabric from my dress - I just laid the pieces of the original shopping bag down on the fabric, pinned it, and cut out around it. Do this for all of your pieces of bag - if you are reinforcing the sides or bottom with heavy fabric like denim, cut those pieces out as well.

  • How to make a tote bag. Up Cycled Funky Shopping Bag - Step 6
    Step 6

    Now you want to put the bags back together - if your shopping bag has a print like mine did, sew it so that the print is on the wrong side, so it won't show in the finished project. (I didn't take a photo of the process, it is pretty simple to sew it all back together).
    Do the same with your outer fabric (and denim if you're using it)
    Now you should have two 'bags'

  • How to make a tote bag. Up Cycled Funky Shopping Bag - Step 7
    Step 7

    Next, put the bags together, with the lining bag inside the outer bag.

    (At this point, if you decide you don't want to have a band of colour around the top, put the outer bag inside the lining bag, and sew around the top, leaving an opening for turning. Turn the bag in the right way, and sew across the opening)

    Take one of the handles from your bag (mine were really long, and went down to the bottom inside the bag for structure - if your bag doesn't have long handles, you may need extra fabric!) and unpick one at the fold. Use this like bias tape, and pin it around the top of the bag to seal in all the edges. Sew this down.

  • Step 8

    For this step I didn't take a picture, but my dress had ties attached at the side - I cut these off, and made them the right size for the previous handles of the bag to fit inside. I pretty much had a tube of fabric that I pushed the handles into. I then zig-zag stitched the edges of these handles, before attaching them to the bag. You could use the same fabric as the outer, or some thick ribbon or the stuff backpack straps are made of - anything you think would make a nice tote handle!

  • How to make a tote bag. Up Cycled Funky Shopping Bag - Step 9
    Step 9

    And that's it! One finished tote/shopping bag, upcycled from a store bought shopping bag.

    I have a feeling I will be making more of these!

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