Placemats become Tote Bag

Placemats become Tote Bag

Can we ever have TOO many tote bags???  We use them all the time at our house, so I am constantly grabbing different sizes for different purposes.  Here is a very cheap and very easy way to add to your collection!

Found these two colorful placemats for $1 at a thrift store.


I began by putting the placemats right sides together, then pinning them.


Since they did not appear to be perfectly straight, I took my trusty purple disappearing pen, and drew my sewing lines, making a perfect rectangle.


Obviously, I did not sew along the top edge of the bag.   I stitched the seams down the sides and across the bottom.


Wanting to make a flat bottom to the bag, the next step was a bit wonky!  I grabbed the bottom corner of one side … like this ….


I pulled both sides out like this, so that I was holding the pointy corner in front of me.  In order to make sure my seams matched at the bottom, I inserted a pin into one seam, and made sure it came out in the seam on the other side.  I hope these photos show what I mean by this.



Next, I layed that pointy piece flat, and measured 4 1/2 inches from one side to the other and marked it for sewing.  I did this (using my purple disappearing marking pen) to both of the bottom “pointy” corners.


Stitching across these “pointy corners” gave the bottom of the bag a 4 1/2 inch wide flat bottom.IMG_4955

On one of my trips to the fabric store, I had purchased a length of nylon strapping, as close to the color of blue which I could find, to the blue on the placemats.  I cut 2 lengths of strapping for my handles, 27 inches each.


By very lightly heating the edges of the nylon strapping, I was able to sear the ends so that they will not ravel.  I did this by using a propane lighter.


Along the top edge of the bag, measuring 4 1/2 inches away from each side seam, I placed a pin.


Measuring 1 1/2 inches from each end of the strapping, I placed a pin.


I placed the straps, and pinned them for sewing (putting the ends of the straps inside the bag).



To create strength and stability to a strap, it is important to sew a rectangle or a square, followed by an “X” inside.  This is what that looks like.


Here is the look of the completed bag!!!



Very simple and VERY useful!!!   Give this one a try!!!  Now pack that tote and head somewhere fun!!!

Happy making,

Molly 🙂

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