Totes have many uses from grocery shopping to carrying your craft supplies. This is a guide about homemade tote ideas.
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This is a Christmas tote bag made of quilting scraps. I made this tote bag from two squares of 30 by 30 inch material with batting in the middle. You then quilt them together and put a binding around the raw edges. It's like making a 30 by 30 quilt square or you can use the pre-quilted material, just add your binding.
You then lay face down, fold the two opposite corners to the middle, overlapping each other. This, you will see, will give you a square in the middle. Sew around the square in the middle, this will give you the inside pockets.
Then flip wrong sides together and sew up your sides. Take the bottom and sew 2 inches from the corner point across, this will give you a boxed bottom. Do this on each side. Then cut off point and discard. Make sure you zig zag across where you just cut. Turn this to the inside. You are now on the outside of your tote. Fold down your outside flaps, sew across the top of tote about a half inch.
You are now ready to make your handles. Cut matching material into 2 - 4 inch by how ever you long you want your handles to be. Fold the material, each side to the middle and press. Then fold once again and sew on each side of strap. Do this to both pieces of material. You should now have two straps ready to sew on your tote.
Measure 1 1/2 inches from the top corner of the tote, pin your strap in place making it a good inch down in the tote. Sew across the strap several times to secure. So this for both side of handle. You then take a piece of sew on velcro and sew at top between handles on both sides.
This is was not my original pattern but I have modified it to my own liking. The embroidery patterns used are from the free embroidery pattern section of sew forum and I take no credit for them, they are gifts from the wonderful digitizers there. I only embroidered them on to my tote bag. Oh, the inside pockets are at an odd angle but this is the way it is made. Don't worry, things will not fall out of the pockets as they are quite deep.
By Madeline from Jacksonville, Alabama
I make cakes, make quilts, and now I decided to get into purses and totebags. I take the fabric and cut into squares, four squares any measure. I do the same thing with the inside lining. Sew the front and back together as well as the lining. Make the handles any length you like and sew it to the top of the purse or totebag.
You can add pockets in the inside or outside, simply cut a small square and stitch to the bag front or inside. You can also add embellishments and voila! Show it off as you wear your creation.
Since we are celebrating "going green" I thought I'd share yet another tote idea. I made these totes (5 in all) for our church fair last fall. Someone generously donated the denim fabric. I added the little green leaf applique before sewing the totes together. I used Aleen's fusible web and followed the directions and then cut out the leaf shape and fused it on. It worked great.
By Jan Lee from L.I. NY
Did you know you can recycle Tyvek into a waterproof and durable lining for fabric projects. Tyvek can be found in jumpsuits/coveralls for industry work. This type of Tyvek is very soft and fabric-like.
You can also recycle Tyvek from mailing envelopes. This Tyvek is medium weight, but not suitable to use with light colored cover fabrics as the printing will probably show through. Tyvek used to wrap houses in new construction is also useful. This is very stiff and paperlike, but softens when you crumple it. It will stay wrinkled though.
Tyvek should not be ironed or put into the dryer.
The tote in the picture is a cosmetic tote made using jumpsuit Tyvek on the inside. The handle allows it to be hung from a locker hook or wall hook in a bathroom, and the inside can be easily wiped out.
For fun, I write a message on the Tyvek with a Sharpie before assembling the project, so the recipient sees the message each time they open the bag.
By Regina from Rochester, NY
A tote makes a quick homemade present for anyone!
By Beth from England
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Here are questions related to Homemade Tote Ideas.
I am very good at making tote bags, but not very good at the handles. Any tips or instructions?
By peaceloveparise from MO
By Judy Harris 07/28/2009
If you want a more sturdy handle with a little cushioning,here is the way I make handles for my nicer tote bags and for purses: Cut your fabric strips 4 inches by the length you want for a narrow handle(1 inch.)For a wider handle cut it 6 inches by the length you wish( 1 1/2 inches)Next you will need iron-on fusible fleece. This is not very thick but is dense. cut two strips for each handle a little shy of 7/8"wide for the narrow handle and 1 3/8 wide for the wide handle. Follow manufacturers directions and fuse a strip to wrong side of fabric on each outer side of your fabric strip.Next fold both sides to the center and press,fold in half and press. Edge stitch down both sides. I hope this helps.I also make the standard handles like the previous ladies described. Judy from Alabama
Our church ministers to residents of a nearby nursing home. We are looking for a pattern for a tote bag with compartments that can be placed between the box springs and mattress.
Betty from Mesa, AZ
By (Guest Post)02/10/2008
Can I get a denim school bag pattern roughly 1 foot tall and 9 inches wide?
I'd like to make tote bags with fringe from some blanket material and old suede jackets I have. I've never made one. Can someone help?
Karen from Ontario, Canada
By gretta 02/19/2009
I love the place mat idea! I like to use my old beautiful sweaters. Or patchworks from the pieces of favorite embellishments from worn out jeans or shirts. I hate to get rid of pretty decorations.
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.
I love making creations out of everyday things. I would really like to know other people's ideas on how to make great purses and tote bags from material and objects that people might not think of to use. They can be any size or shape! Any suggestions?
Natasha From Ontario
By Patricia Shook