Monday, March 16, 2009

Tutorial - Reversable Pillowcase Tote

Quick, go look in your linen closet. What? No linen closet? No piles of mismatched threadbare sheets and pillow cases? What shall we do! Go to an estate sale, dig through drawers and drawers of ugly embroidered towels, tea clothes with beaded edges, oh look! There's a garish mid-century bed set. Snap it up! There's lots to be done with such good stuff.
The reason to make a reversible bag (besides the fact that they're cool...) is to make the bag stronger. Two old worn out cases, too weak on their own are strong enough together. (there's a moral there, I'm sure of it.) If your pillow case is not old and beat up, go put it on a pillow, don't cut up good stuff!
Most pillowcases are the same width, within an inch or so. Though, king sized are longer. If your pillow cases are significantly different in width, just sew up one seam to equalize them. I measure 20" down, as they are 20" across and I want a squarish tote. I then cut two strips for handles, and a pocket.
Repeat with the other case to make two sets of identical pieces. The pockets can be different, but I like a little conformity every now and then. ^.^
I add an applique to each face of the bag. You don't have to, but that would be boring. Be sure to place the applique in from the edges so it doesn't get squished around the side.
Add a pocket to the other side and sew up the bottom. I am making gusseted bottoms so it is easier to put things in the bag. Lay out the bottom edge, measure a few inches in (the number is arbitrary, I used 4", but make sure it's the same for all corners.) and pin. fold the tip in and sew across in a "T".
Do this to both sides, then sew across the bottom. It should look a little like a paper bag.
Repeat for the other pillow case, you should have two identical bags, turn them inside out.
Line up your "T"'s, and sew the ends together. make sore you have the bags facing the same way! You are just tacking the bottoms together so the bag bottom sits flatter.
Now take your strips, cut the seam out and make handles. Take one strip from each case for each handle. Sew both sides, turn out, sew both sides. The strap will actually be quite strong!
Sew up the top of the bag, the hem of the cases is already sewn so this should be very easy. Fold the bag in thirds and roll up to measure the rolled size. Cut a section of strap from one handle, and cut the other strap to be equal length. You should now have two long handles, one bag and one short strap. Choose a button and make a button hole in the end of the strap.

Sew your strap and handles on. Make sure the right side of the strap is out, and not twisted! Sew a button in the middle of the front, and the strap in the middle of the back.
Look at that, doesn't that look like a totally different bag? Versatile, sassy, very spacious and quite comfortable to carry.
And it rolls up to fit in a pocket. I great thing to carry around for an impromptu shopping expedition, or some serious dumpster diving!

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