Friday, March 8, 2013

2013 Refashion #3: Thrifted Curtain to Tote Bag

I was in need of a bag to take to the SewExpo. What I had at home were too structured (canvas bags or thickly interlined bags), or too small (grocery reusable bags). I wanted a soft bag that I can fold or roll into my handbag, sturdy and big enough to carry my sewing kit and purchases, and I want to carry it cross my body. Basically I wanted a crossbody tote bag...

Enter this lovely curtain I thrifted from Goodwill a couple of weeks ago:
It's pretty simple looking, with horizontal stripes of shades of red and orange. It felt like a southeast asian weaved cloth, you see. Like one of those bags or fisherman pants you'd get from the night markets in Thailand or Cambodia. Anyways, that was why I brought it home, and even though I wanted to save it from the scissors (initially) I didn't. After all, why have nice fabric if I don't use it?

Now obviously there were many decision making that took place before it got to the stage of sewing.  For example, deciding how big I want it to be....

I cut 4 pieces of 22 x 24" (2 pcs for the body of the bag and 2 for lining/inside) and 2 pieces of 40 x 4.5" (for the straps). Then prepared the pockets and such for the inside.

To assemble my layers and attach the zipper, I viewed Elizabeth of SEWN's process, and followed this tutorial from Bemygoth.

Unassuming basic looking crossbody tote bag
Finished dimensions: Approx 20 x 15 x 6". Straps: 38".. :) It's quite huge on me that a lady observing me sitting and arranging my purchases into the bag at the shopping booths exclaimed: "Now that's a tote bag!!!" LOL.

Just a heavy duty black and copper ish 22" zipper, purchased for a diff project but no longer need it for that

View of inside pockets:

Outside looking in

Inside out: Smaller pockets with 2 sections for pens sewn onto a bigger pocket with repurposed (from Ikea seat cushion) sew on velcro
Inside out: An oversized pocket with repurposed sew on velcro

So voila. That was it. Started on Friday morning. Finally done by midnight the same day since there's this and that to do around the apartment and with the Bean. Super useful the whole day on Saturday at the expo. Even my camera case fits in there with the rest of the things:


  1. Look lovely and really useful, well done! xx

  2. Very nice indeed. I'd really like to see what it was filled with at expo though. Update? g

  3. I really do love your take on recycling fabric - the bag is lovely, functional and attractive - great idea to have something gorgeous tucked away in your bag for when you need it. I'll have to put one on my ever grwoing list of things to make "one day" now! Wwll done.

  4. Nice Far! Great upcycling, thanks for sharing on Recycled Fashion Finds!

    1. Hi Erica, thanks for the link up! I enjoy Recycled Fashion Finds a lot!


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