confessions of a fabric obsessive

Tag Archives: Tote bag

Take one boring shopping bag…the reveal!

I saw a tutorial for this book bag on Sew, Mama, Sew:

and it started off a desire to make myself a library book bag complete with pocket for my library card.

Knowing I had some of this fabric:

in two colours, I decided to go for it.

I also saw a tutorial (on Betz White’s blog – I love Betz White) to upcycle cotton totes by  using them as a lining for a more interesting bag.  Two tutorials means two bags.  Jump to my previous post for details of the original tutorials that I followed to make my upcycled bags, and to see the story so far.

Bag number 1

book bag

Ta-da, boring bag used as inside of interesting book bag. I love this bag, and the pocket on the outside is so useful. It usually houses my library card and the little receipts that I can print off at my local library with a summary of what books I still owe them. It is currently sitting on the floor next to my computer, full of books that need to go back to the college (where I work, I’m a college tutor/lecturer now) and to the university (where I’m a part-time teacher training student) libraries. So useful, and the pattern on the fabric defines is sue for me, which is always useful when you have memory issues like mine (aka, mind like a sieve!)

Bag number 2

purple bag

This is as far as I got! The idea of appliqué was a good one, but I’m not an appliqué kinda girl . I may get round to it, I may not. I’m not even sure where it is.

What more is there to add? I have a new bag and it makes me happy.


Claire Bear

Interesting bag-related posts from other bloggers (and one of two of my own):

Project Upcycle: An Online Class on Craftsy Taught by Betz White (whileshenaps.typepad.com)
Painted Heart Bag (craftzine.com)
Boxed-Bottom Tote Bag Tutorial (skylarchastain.wordpress.com)
It’s a Bag Marathon (girlwithjavacurls.typepad.com)
Butterfly Tote Bag (mindfuldrawing.com)
I wanna new bag…. (handmadebyclairebear.com)
Upcycle project – skirt into shoulder bag (handmadebyclairebear.com)

WIPs on Wednesday

It’s been quite a long time since I got some serious sewing done, so I haven’t bothered posting about my WIPs over the last few months.  There’s been a lot of manic spring cleaning and decorating, not to mention finally dealing with all of the stuff from the loft that had to come down when I had new insulation put in. I now have a loft full of fluffy insulation and no storage space, so the boxes and boxes of things I’d kept from when the kids were little needed to be gone through and sold/donated/stored properly.

I also have a kitchen with paint on ALL FOUR WALLS AND THE CEILING!! and a fresh white (instead of pastel blue and yellow from over a decade ago) back room with my doodled daisies painted on the wall too. I’ve been doodling five-petalled daisies for months now, so I thought I’d put them on my wall.

Yay, this is my new creative space that also serves as a dealing-with-household-bills-and-writing-essays-for-college space.

Back to the WIPs, my pile of shame  is still shameful. I can see a time when I give up on some of these mending and alterations and just donate or recycle them.

The cloak for this costume is still cut out and waiting to be sewn (cloaks are a big project and this one in particular is huge, therefore a small amount of procrastination may be happening).

I did upcycle a skirt into this tote bag for me and it has made me very happy !! It fits all my stuff perfectly and I can carry it on my shoulder or in my hand.

My most recent project has been to make a slip cover for my footstool. I bought this footstool in ebay about a year ago, and love its height and size (high enough to rest my feet on, big enough to be extra seating if needed), but not the original upholstery fabric.
A bit brown for me, I saw this tutorial and though, yes, I’ll do that for my footstool. I found some fabric in my stash (just don’t ask how big my stash is: I’m a hoarder, OK?) that goes beautifully with the upholstered blanket box (also extra seating, plus hiding space for some of my stash), my navy sofa, and the natural wood and wicker baskets that are in that room too. .
Last weekend, with an hour to kill before Mr CB arrived, I decided to go for it.
I didn’t really follow the tutorial at all, I just pinned the fabric to the stool and marked where I needed to sew, I also made a lining exactly the same way and sewed them right sides together so that all of the manky bits would be hidden.
You can see that I stopped at the stage where it is usable, I just need to add some elastic around the bottom of it so that it’s not so baggy. I did iron it all before I sewed it, but the fabric is a linen mix, so the creases are expensive creases.
I’m pretty happy with it though. All part of my master plan to make my living room look presentable.

Happy Wednesday!

Claire Bear

WIP Wednesday (iknead2knit.wordpress.com)
WIP Wednesday (onlymuttix.wordpress.com)
light to a sunrise {wip} (piecinglight.wordpress.com)
A little “Lotta” Chevron Quilt- WIP (bloomingpoppies.wordpress.com)


Take one (or two) boring shopping bag(s)…

I saw a tutorial for this book bag on Sew, Mama, Sew (click on photo to jump to Sew, Mama, Sew’s tutorial)

and thought; “I need a bag for my library books with a pocket that my library card can live in so that I don’t lose anything” (not that I have a tendency to lose library books or my card around the house, no, no, no). I loved the apple appliqué on the front, and this idea stayed in my head until I saw this book fabric

and knew it was the fabric I wanted on the front of my book bag (my rubbish dyslexic memory means that everything has to be labelled in some way or I will forget what I meant to use it for, in my head fabric with books on means a bag with books in).

For a while I toyed with the idea of a book strap to keep all my library books in, mostly because I saw this tutorial and loved it

But that all looked like hard work too so I left this idea in the back of my mind (and on pintrest) for quite a while.

Somehow over the last few years, I have amassed a load of cotton shopping bags, you know the ones you can buy cheaply instead of a plastic carrier?  Apart from a few, they are all boring, boring, boring or have logos I don’t want to display to the world when I’m carrying stuff.

I saw this tutorial to appliqué over the logo on a cotton tote bag, and thought “Mmm, interesting”

Then I saw this tutorial (on Betz White’s blog – I love Betz White) to upcycle cotton totes by keeping them intact and using them as a lining for a more interesting bag. Yes! Most of the boring work done, plus (depending on which bag I use as the lining) a really strong bag for my books with minimal work for me.

So, two tutorials means two bags.

Bag number 1

  • Take one sturdy cotton bag with random design on the front, washed and then dyed (I like purple, I wanted a few other things coloured purple instead of boring, so I threw the bag in with them).

  • Add one T-shirt with a print that I love, but with a shape that’s all wrong for me (and some mystery holes in the shoulder and a stain at the bottom).

  • Iron t-shirt, cut around design, turn edges under then appliqué to dyed bag. Sorted. Next!

Bag number 2

  • Take one sturdy cotton bag with random design on the front, washed and ironed (yup, I had two identical printed cotton bags I didn’t like).

  • Add some cute book fabric in two colours.

  • Make zipped pocket from one colour of the book fabric and iron it. Yes, I did want an angled zip (not bad for my first zip sewing attempt since I was 12 years old, I think. The stacks of books are almost lined up straight).

  • Make a boxed bag shape from second book fabric.
  • Turn edges of outer fabric under and iron, then insert boring bag and top-stitch around the top edge of the bag ( I zigzagged). Avoid stitching the handles.
  • Stitch zipped pocket to front of bag in the position you want (or you could stitch the zipped pocket to the darker fabric before making the bag outer if you prefer, I might do it this way round next time).
  • Bingo, one library bag in book fabric with zipped pocket for library card so I don’t lose it or the books.

UPDATE: Yes, you’re right, this post doesn’t have many photos of my bags in it.  I was writing this as a draft for a future post and somehow managed to click on “publish” without knowing it. Oops.  I’ve added all of the extra photos now, I’ll show you the photos of the two finished bags in my next post.

Claire Bear

Interesting bag related posts from other bloggers:

Shopping for the Bookworm: Mystic Moose Book Bags (onetrackmuse.com)

DIY: Stripes and Neon (ohshedabbles.com)

Spare me a tote? (coolmompicks.com)

Boxed-Bottom Tote Bag Tutorial (skylarchastain.wordpress.com)

Butterfly Tote Bag (mindfuldrawing.com)

Upcycle project – skirt into shoulder bag (handmadebyclairebear.com)

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