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April 12, 2010



I'm going to have to get out to some of the garage sales. I don't have any old pillow cases. Thanks for the tutorial. Once I get some old pillow cases I'm so on this project! :)


I can already see a hundred uses for these totes. Thanks for the tutorial!


happy hunting, kc! :)


yes, andrea! i use mine for everything and they are so pretty sometimes i just use one for my everyday bag. enjoy :)


Definitely saving this post for future reference. This is so cute!


Thanks so much for the shout out. Your pillowcase bags turned out so pretty. Good for you! I'm so happy you enjoyed the one I sent you.



oh, you'll love making these kara. they are such a quick fix when you need one :)


you're welcome! thank YOU! oooxxx


i think keana and i need to have a sewing day.. and make THESE!
thank you, abi!

Mousy Brown

Can I add the bag I made with a pillowcase to show you too? It was a very pretty pillowcase but I used my own pattern is that ok?! :D


You are welcome Leslie! Oh, I wish I could join you guys! Someday, ok?


Go for it! Let's make it a vintage pillowcase group?! I can't wait to see your version. Do you have a pattern on your blog. I am so addicted to these, I'd love to try other methods :)

Mousy Brown

You can find the tutorial I did here http://mousybrownshouse.typepad.com/poised-to-take-flight/2010/01/a-simple-reusable-shopping-bag-made-from-a-pillowcase.html I did it in response to the 'small change' challenge - loads of people were going over to reusable bags and I thought this was a great way to save on plastic! Hope you like it - I will add my photo to the flickr group :D


Thanks for this, something I can actually manage at the moment without my head exploding. I made one yesterday. Will blog/add it to flickr next week when the sun will hopefully return, perhaps by then I'll have made more than one...


that is so great! they are very quick, right? i hope the instructions were clear. let me know if you have any feedback and i can't wait to see yours! let me know and i'll link to it here too!


Oh, how exciting! I am behind in my blog reading and so happy to find your tutorial! I know I have a couple vintage pillow cases in my thrifted fabric that I can can use - yay! Now to get the kids to clear their Playmobil stuff off the dining room table...thanks so much for your tutorial!


you are welcome susan! :)


hey, i just heard that we live near each other! we should meet up :)


These are really wonderful. What a great way to reuse!

Queen Bee

I am sooooooo excited to try to make one this weekend!!! I'm gonna start either with a Dollar Store pillow case, since I'm not a morning person so I never make it to yard sales. If I can manage to do this well....

... I can make a tote out of my Rainbow Bright pillowcase from my childhood. *dreamy eyes*


Merrill Frazier

I have been saving vintage pillow cases for a year because I knew I wanted to make totes with them. Not being a great seamstress, I was having trouble working out how. Found this today via whip up and YAY!



I love this tutorial! I didn't even know how to use a sewing machine and my husband and I figured out how to get my daughter's threaded and ready and viola...three bags! I did stitch more than you do on the handles just to strengthen them a bit and with bigger cases, we sewed the flaps (that squared out the bottom of the bag) wider than 2", but I wouldn't call either of these things "changes" - just "tweaks" so they're kidstrong! I put a picture and link on my blog. I'm slow on the techie side, but will try to put pics on flikr one of these days! Thank you again and again! xo

Rebecca F

Hi. I am the Editor of a Girl Scout magazine, which is given twice a year to members of the Girl Scouts in Western PA. I would like to print this tutorial in the upcoming issue of our magazine so that girls can learn to make their own shopping bags. May I have permission to do so, and how would you like to be credited? Thank you! Rebecca


A complete novice here - and I'm very confused! After the factory edge is cut off for the straps, and the pillowcase turned inside out, I don't understand exactly what I'm sewing! I only see one reference to an opening, but that's sewn up, so I don't follow how I get the half-height basic bag-shape. Can someone help?


hi catherine :) i just sent you an email. please let me know if it clarifies the point you are stuck at!


I'm really interested in trying (uh, very, very newbie sewer!) to make these but the PDF won't download for me. :( Any way you can repost the link or email instructions?


I just made these and they came out great! I made my straps a little thinner but otherwise followed your tutorial. Thanks for posting! I love them. :)



ok, I read your blog this morning (first time!! and I love it!!) and I fell in ove with this vintage pillowcase tote! Then I ran to the local GW with the goal of finding at least 2 pillowcases that I love... I found 2 beautiful vintage pillowcases! and they are the exact same print as your tote tutorial!!!! (I thought they looked familiar when I saw them hanging on the rack ;)

A wonkey Donkey

love love love this what a great idea. I could see my self using one for a beach bag also.


Really nice bag. Now, I will have idea when I see nice pillow case. Thanks for sharing.

Tiffany in Iowa

Okay, so this post of yours is pretty old, but I am just starting to sew and looking for easy things to make. I am confused by the sewing in the first section, do you really sew close the entire pillowcase with no openings or am I really that much of a loser sewer:)


You are NOT a loser sew-er! :) You do sew the whole thing shut but then you are pushing that seamed edge inside the bag so you now have a 'double bag' so to speak. Folding it inside itself, you know. I hope that helps!


I love this pattern and it is exactly what i am looking for! But I just have one problem. I have no idea what you are talking about when you explain the part where you pull the hemmed edge? What edge am i pulling? I am a beginner sewer so please excuse me if i am asking a very dumb question!


OOH! i just read through the other comments and it answered my question! Thank you for the wonderful tutorial. Take Care!


Hello Spiderwomen!
I just stumbled upon your blog while looking through someone else's blogroll and I soon came across these handy totes. I would like to ask you if you would be interested in adding this tutorial to a DIY Basics to Urban Homesteading PDF I am putting together. I was wanting something crafty to add to it and this would be perfect! So far I have things like how to make kombucha, how to make your own shampoo and dishwashing detergent, I also have a lovely lady writing a howto use Ubuntu (an opensource operating system for computers) and perhaps a howto on basics to urban foraging--just simple things to help people get off the grid in small ways that all will eventually add up I hope! These are so clever, practical and cute, yet seem simple enough for even a very unexperienced stitcher! Anyway let me know if you are interested and thanks a million for this great tutorial!

Naomi Snider

I just Stumbled Upon this post and it looks great, but the link does not work any longer. Is there any way you can send me the directions for this bag?

Naomi Snider

Never mind, I just found the link to download it. Sorry!


so bummed - I get just gray screen when I try to pull up the tutorial. am I doing something wrong?


hi :) so sorry for the delayed reply. we were away. have you gotten it to work? do you have adobe reader? you may need to download the latest version...


I got started making these and couldn't quit. Bought pillow cases from 3 thrift stores. I made 12 in one week. Took pics of them all, to show you, but they didn't take. I love these things, and so proud to use them at any stores I go to. Thanks! Janis


Would this work for school?


I know this is an older post, but I saw this on Pinterest and loved it! However, I can't get the tutorial to come up. Is there any way you could possibly email it to me?


I came online this lazy Sunday afternoon specifically looking to buy reusable grocery bags AND beach totes. But this is a way better option.

I've got some pillowcases that will turn out great for toting toys to the beach, and others for groceries. I can't wait for cashiers to ask me where I got them!


Hi. Thank you so much for sharing. I am still teaching myself to sew. I really like it a lot. Plus, cudos to you because your directions are simple & clear for me to understand. That is HUGE :)!!! I am nuts for pillowcases! Vintage, Shabby Chic, Animals, Flower-power, Lace anything girlie. I finally completed 5 bags to hit the grocery store the next time I go. I have a big variety & really hope someone does notice. It is such a cool way to upcycle a pillowcase that may be tossed.
I still have trouble making the corner inside & the straps. I'm doing really well to be a newbie. I will keep making more! Thanks again, Angela

Beckie Farrant

I love making stuff from old pillow cases....Might have to give this one a shot!


I never really care for the bags you can buy in stores. I'd rather buy one home made from a artist. That way people will stop and admire my home made hand bag.


Can you E-mail the pattern to me I can't get it to come up thank you.


Thanks for this! My daughter made these as her first ever solo sewing machine project for her teacher's Christmas gift! They turned out perfect, and so easy she did not even get frustrated with it!


Fastastic idea for our Parish Do It Ourselves Club. A group ranging in age from 8-80 meet once a week to learn skills and make items to sell to raise money to pay for the room rental and materials and donate to our church funds

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