Thursday, April 19, 2012

How To Repurpose Scrap Fabric Into An Anthropologie Inspired Tote

Have you seen these cute patchwork tote bags from Anthropologie?

priced at $78

Well, you can make one yourself for much, much less . . .

from scrap fabric . . .


You have now created 1 panel of your tote bag, repeat these steps with the second piece of foundation fabric to create the second (or back) panel.
Now it's just a matter of assembling a basic tote bag.
If you have never made a tote bag, this is a great photo tutorial, which includes instructions on making the lining and boxing the corners.

Here is a pic of my front and back panel sewn together, before adding the lining:

There are several options you can choose from for straps for the bag -
1. Use a recycled strap from another bag like I did here
2. Make fabric straps like the photo tutorial shows.
3. Use purchased leather stripping (I got mine at Hobby Lobby), like I did for this bag:

sewn on by machine, using a super heavy duty size 18 needle

4. Re-purpose a thrift store belt, like I did for this bag:

sewn on by hand, which worked great since it already had the little holes punched

And now you have a fantastic, handy tote, or two!!


  1. Love it! thanks for sharing.

  2. Fabulous! Will be giving this a go for sure. Thank you.

  3. That's great inspiration! I'm adding this to my to-do list of things to make!

  4. This looks fantastic! I haven't seen the use of a foundation fabric before. Are you able to tell me more about how it is useful? Like, is it mainly useful to help guide you to form the shape you want, or to provide stability to the patchwork (i.e. make it hold the right shape), or something else? Thanks! :)

  5. I use it mainly to help guide the shape, especially when piecing patchwork at angles. For the tote bag, it also helps add some stability for lighter fabrics, for example with the dark blue floral fabric, which was somewhat thin and silky. Also, the vintage tablecloth was a lace so it provided a backing for the "holes" in the lace. Here's another project that I did that uses foundation fabric when sewing angles -

  6. Thank you for sharing. I love your choice of fabrics, they look so good together. I love making totes/bags, etc but don't really mix up the fabrics at all. Very inspiring !! I've got some gifts to make and might try this.

  7. Thank you! I can't wait to try it out!

  8. Awesome!! I love projects for using up scraps. This is perfect :)

  9. How do they get by charging $78. I do love them but not that much. You did a great job and I want to find some.

  10. Gorgeous fabrics and such cute totes! Thanks for the tutorial, I think I'd give it a try:)

  11. hi, i have just bought a new embroidery machine and looking for practise projects- what a great idea- thanks!

  12. Wooohooo! You rocked that, girl!!

  13. Thanks for sharing , Georges, great, simple to sew, I am going to spend my day with your idea.