Sunday, 2 June 2013

Project: Recycled blue tote bag

(Click any image to enlarge). Here is my latest project.

I didn't have anything specific to do yesterday and started looking for something to occupy my time (unusually for me, I didn't feel like reading). Then I remembered this embroidered blue Indian handbag and decided to make it the focus of a project:

The handbag
 I bought it second hand a couple of years ago, but because parts of it were too tatty and worn for me to want to use it as a handbag, I had the notion of cutting it up and using the least worn parts in a crazy quilt. However, I then forgot about it and it ended up packed away with some fabrics I was saving up to use in quilting.
The curtain
I started rummaging in the old sea-chest I use for storing my fabrics and where I was sure I had put the bag, but first I came across a length of denim café curtain I had bought an even longer time ago, intending to use it to make tote bags and table mats and possibly a denim rag quilt if there was any fabric left. All that got made of that project was a single tote bag that I gave to my mother, that she still uses. It has now, about 6 years after I made it, lost the "brand-new jeans" look and is beginning to look interestingly faded and worn.

The handbag lining turned into an inner pocket
Also in the chest was the handbag. I noticed how the blue of the bag fit nicely with the blue of the denim, with the shiny, patterned and embroidered viscose making a nice contrast with the dull, pristine indigo of the denim.

How the strap is sewn on
I set to work. I cut up the bag, removed the lining and sewed the back to the front. I cut a piece of the curtain to the right size (removing the hanging loops) and sewed it all together, adding some cream trim to lighten it up. The front panel of the handbag became an outside pocket, with the back panel as the pocket lining. The inside lining became an inside pocket for the tote,and the strap became a strap for the tote.

Squaring up the bottom
I used the thick, wide hem of the curtain as the bottom part of the bag and squared it up to form a flat bottom.

The result is somewhere between a handbag and a tote bag, but since it has a shoulder strap and no handles I prefer to call it a tote. I will probably use it as a book bag:

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