How to Transform a Tired Tote with Patchwork

comments (5) January 28th, 2009     

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LindaPermann Linda Permann, contributor
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Carry your new green tote everywhere! No more plastic bags!
Gather all of your materials before you get started.
Start by sewing a denim pocket to the inside of your bag. Place the pocket as you desire on the inside of the bag, pin it in place, and sew around the sides and bottom of the pocket to secure it to the bag.
Carry your new green tote everywhere! No more plastic bags!

Carry your "new" green tote everywhere! No more plastic bags!

Photo: Linda Permann

If you have a stack of free tote bags you never use, try refashioning them with some simple patchwork. It's a great way to cover up stains, logos/wording you don't want to be seen with, and to add a little pop to your sustainable grocery bag. The way I see it, the more you like your tote, the more likely you are to remember to bring it with you whenever you go to the grocery store. And remember—you can use a tote bag instead of plastic at ANY store, not just the farmer's market.


Gather all of your materials before you get started.

You'll  need:

  • An 8-inch x 13-inch tote bag to embellish (I used a tote I "ruined" with a badly transferred iron-on)
  • Several scraps of fabric, each 8 inches wide with varying lengths (2 inches, 3 inches, 5 inches etc.)
  • Jean pocket (optional—I used this to add an inside pocket to the tote)
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine and thread

Start by sewing a denim pocket to the inside of your bag. Just clip the pocket from an old pair of jeans and then trim the denim as close to the outer and inner edge as possible—that way, you can save the frustration of seam ripping.


Place the pocket as you desire on the inside of the bag, pin it in place, and sew around the sides and bottom of the pocket to secure it to the bag. Remember to load the bobbin with thread that matches the outside of your bag.

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posted in: recycle, DIY, tote, patchwork

Comments (5)

JohnWLennon writes: Taking something you are used to using and giving it a face lift is recycling and people think you got a new bag. Nice summery bag.
Posted: 8:50 pm on April 18th
JohnWLennon writes: Nice! Everyone likes a little change now and then. And to take something that you are already used to, give it a lift and it feels good.
Posted: 8:47 pm on April 18th
OrahLee writes: This is really a great idea. I'm going to do this tomorrow. Walgreen has a special on theirs today and I just can't get started making me some. BUT I'll add the patchwork and leave the top of the patchwork strip open to make a pocket. I love pockets and you never know !!!
Posted: 2:15 pm on February 1st
marie_makeandtakes writes: Oh, my plain old bags need this makeover. FUN!
Posted: 4:48 pm on January 29th
FaveCrafts writes: Nice idea. I love how this turned out.
Posted: 2:12 pm on January 28th
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