Cute Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Tutorial by Sawdust Girl

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Today I have one of my closest friends and blogging buddies here. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, she’s the amazing, the incredible and the always vivacious Sandra from SawdustGirl.com. And she’s going to give you a tutorial for sewing those cute reversible and reusable tote bags!

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Howdy Handy friends! I’m Sandra of Sawdust Girl – formerly Sawdust and Paper Scraps. I had grand plans for my Tres’ Fugal gift post for Brittany…but I’m currently building a kitchen and it’s kicking my pants! So, I’m recycling an oldie. I try to reduce, reuse and recycle anyway so this tutorial for reusable, reversible, ruffled totes is fitting. Don’t ya’ think? I like to use my totes as grocery bags and have given a pair of these as gifts along with a few reusable produce bags found at the dollar store.

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

I used an old sheet and a set of pillowcases to make mine but for a gift item, I’d use new fabric. If you look for sheets on clearance you can get a LOT of fabric for just a few dollars.

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

This is a really easy pattern that I made from looking at a canvas tote. (It fits perfectly on a standard pillowcase)

*Seam allowance? I run the fabric along the right side of the foot. I think it’s a waste to take a wide allowance and then trim!

Instructions:
1. Use the same pattern for the bag and the liner. You could use the same fabric for both or mix it up for fun. I like to use 2 different fabrics so I can flip it inside out and have a totally different bag!

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

2. Sew all 4 pieces (excluding the bottom) together like this: front/side/back/side making one long piece of fabric.

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

3. If you are going to add any kind of embellishment, now is the time. I’m adding three rows of ruffles!

  • To make my ruffles, I cut small slits in the fabric 1″ apart from each other.
  • Then I ripped them the rest of the length! If you’re not comfortable with the ripping technique, go ahead and cut 1″ strips.
  • Either use a ruffling or gathering foot, or stitch using a large stitch and pull one string to gather up your fabric.

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

4. I used a mark b gone marker to mark my fabric on the RIGHT side where I wanted my ruffles. (It disappears in the wash which is another great thing about these bags. You can throw them in the wash. Just make sure you wash your fabric before you start the project if using NEW sheets or pillowcases.)

I put the first row 5″ from the top. Then the next row 1″ down from there and so on.

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

5. Pin the ruffles on and sew right down each center line!
I didn’t do anything to the edges of the ripped ruffles. It frays, but I like the raw edge.

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

6. Now pin the sides together inside out making sure your rows of ruffles meet up and sew that together.

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

7. Pin the bottom on to make sure it fits and make adjustments accordingly. You might have to pinch the corners but it’s just a grocery bag. No one’s judging!

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

8. Now sew your liner the same way with or without the ruffles, depending on what you want to see when/if you reverse your reversible reusable grocery bag. (I just wanted to say that again!)

9. Pin the liner inside the bag so the WRONG sides are facing each other. (So you see the RIGHT side of the liner when you look in the bag.)

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

10. Cut a piece of either fabric about 48″ long and 4″ or 5″ wide.

  • Iron it with the ends meeting in the middle.
  • Fold it in half and iron again.
  • Pin it onto the top of your bag with the fold at the top so the “band” covers both the inside and outside of your bag.
  • When the ends meet, fold the top one under to make a hem so it overlap the bottom piece by about an inch. (You might want to trim a little.)

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

11. I sewed close to the bottom edge and then went back and put a second row of stitching about 1/4″ from the first one both to strengthen the seam and because I like the look of a double stitch.

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

12. I cut 2 handles about 20″ long and 3″ wide and sewed them closed at the side and one end.

13. Then I turned them right side out, snipped off the closed end, ironed them with the seam in the middle and sewed another ruffle in the center of each one.

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

14. Fold the ends under and pin in place. I made sure my “band” ended where I was going to place my handle so that seam would be covered.

15. Sew handles in place however you want. I sometimes do criss cross applesauce and a square around that. This time I just did a double stitch at the top and bottom.

16. Make a hanging tab.

  • Cut a piece of fabric about 4″ long by 2″ wide.
  • Fold and iron like you did for the top band (But fold your ends in first like I DIDN’T do in this picture). It should end up being about 1/2″ wide.
  • Sew it closed.
  • Make a loop and sew it onto the front of bag. I layed my tab down into the bag and sewed along the top because I didn’t want the tab sticking out when not being used.

The pattern is simple and you can make them really cute by mixing up the fabric.

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Reversible Reusable Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Roll them up and tie with a bow and voila’:easy and super cute and Tres’ Frugal — DIY gift idea.

Happy Holidays!

~Sandra~

What an adorable idea! If sewing isn’t your thing, check out these other Très Frugal DIY Gift Ideas are here:

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Comments

  1. Great project!

  2. this is a great tutorial and it looks like it is actually a bigger bag to hold more than the ones the groceries, etc sell.

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