Saturday, 15 March 2014

Turn an old pillow case into a bag

When we had our Repurposing Swap on the Down to Earth Forums recently, I was trying to work out what I was going to make for my swap item and came across a tutorial by the very clever Rin from Sew in Love which had instructions on how to turn an old pillowcase into an eco shopping bag.

Rin made it look so easy that I thought I would give it a try and bought a pillowcase at the Op Shop for 50 cents to do a trial run. 

With the pillowcase opening at the top fold the pillowcase in half lengthways.


Then, in the middle draw a handle which is at least 7cm (approx. 2 1/2 inches) wide and 25cm (approx. 10 inches)long.  Then cut out the curves on each side of the handle ending up with four handles.

Sew over the edges with bias binding or overlock them. Rin has done both versions in her tutorial. I had made some continuous bias binding a couple of years ago so used that. You can find a tutorial for making continuous bias binding on Oliver + s here  and using the traditional method here. If you are unsure about how to use a bias tape maker then there is a tutorial on the same website here. Actually I need to read those instructions again as my bias binding is a bit dodgy in places as it was the first time I had made it. 

To finish off the bag, simply sew the top of the handles together before turning the bag inside out. With right sides together and 3cm (1 inch) in from the top of the handle, stitch the handles together then fold the end down on the handle before stitching in place. Ensure that the handle is strong enough by stitching over both lines twice then repeat on the other handle.

My bag is nothing to write home about and won't be frequenting any shopping centres or markets so will be on home duty but, if you use a pillowcase made out of a decent fabric and with a nice pattern, it could turn out to be a very handy bag.

I didn't end up making a bag for my swap item as I mentioned in a previous post but I did come across some very interesting tutorials on repurposing while searching the net for some inspiration. If you want to checkout some more of Rin's tutorials, head over to Sew in Love and have a look. She has had an interesting life as she was born in Japan, grew in Australia and moved to the US last year with her husband who I believe is an Aussie. 

Enjoy your weekend and I hope that my readers in the Northern Hemisphere are starting to thaw out now and are seeing some signs of spring.  It has been a long hard winter for you all.


  1. Will have to put this on my sewing list.
    I need some new shopping bags & this would be perfect


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