My daughter loves bags (and so do I), so turning cotton pillowcases into bags seemed like a good way to work through my stash.
A pillowcase makes a great size bag for carrying shopping, treasures from a nature walk or to transport toys around the house. It can be left plain or it can be decorated any way you like.
Pillowcase. Mine was 50cm x 70cm (I would recommend one without any extra frills)
Needle and coordinating thread
Extra fabric for a pocket
A webbing strap or handle
Embellishments / Fabric crayons.
Rotary Cutter, Ruler & Cutting Board
Unpick the stitching for the envelope fold (the bit that tucks over the pillow) and cut off the top 10 centimetres from the pillowcase. Sew along the long sides of the pillowcase to reinforce the seams.
If you are using a webbing handle then you can skip the next step.
For a long shoulder strap – Take the cut off section, sew the two halves together along the short edge, fold in half with the right sides together then sew along the length
For two hand straps – Fold each piece in half, with the right sides together and sew along the length.
Trim off any excess fabric. You should now have a tube. Turn right side out and iron. Set to one side.
To add an inside pocket, pin the piece of fabric to one side of the pillowcase and sew around three edges. Make sure the opening for the pocket is facing the opposite way to the opening of the pillowcase.
Tuck in about one centimetre of fabric across the top of the pillowcase, pin and stitch both sides together across the top.
Fold the sewn top of the pillowcase inside, so that the seam you have just sewn touches the bottom, Tack the corners together, then turn inside out.
Sew diagonally across the corners, remove tacking, then fold in and sew to one side of the pillowcase.
Turn right side out. Pin two tucks into each side about 5 centimetres from the edge. Sew them across the top. Iron the bag and press the creases for the tucks.
Pin the handle(s) to the inside of the bag along the seam. Stitch into place by sewing an ‘x’ across the width of the strap, then sewing a rectangle around it.
And that’s it. The basic bag is finished. You can decorate it anyway you wish; the only limit is your imagination.
Avril Byrne lives with her Husband and Daughter near historic Sherwood Forest, Nottingham (England) She loves to bake, craft, take photographs, read children’s books, hug trees and is working on developing her sewing skills. She blogs at planted-in-the-earth.