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Sewing tutorial: Make a patchwork tote bag with reclaimed fabric


I’ll admit I’ve had this tote bag for nearly 4 years! I use it for grocery shopping, to move around shoes or the kid’s toys... I really like its very practical size and long handles allowing me to carry it on my shoulders. Also, people often compliment me on it... So here is a tutorial to make your own counterpane tote bag today. 

You can make it with brand new fabric, but it’s always interesting and rewarding to use scraps of fabric or reclaimed fabric. 

You will need:

  • 18 fabric squares, measuring 15.5cm (6 inches) 
  • 2 fabric squares for the lining, measuring 42.5cm (161⁄2 in) 
  • 2 rectangles of fabric measuring 75cm x 6cm (x 21⁄4 in), or 75cm (291⁄2) of 1′′ (2.5cm) bias tape. 

Then you will need to: 

Place and assemble the fabric squares following your own taste or following my design, with a 1 cm (1⁄2 in) seam allowance. Sometimes I overcast the edges of the squares to make the tote bags more durable. 

Iron the seams. 

Prepare the straps with the method of your choice. As for me, I overcast one of the longer sides and fold in three to topstitch. That’s the method used to hem pants. 


Then attach straps to bag, with right sides together, approximately 24 cm (91⁄2 in) apart.

Now the only thing left to do is to join sides and bottom (with a 1 cm /1⁄2 in seam allowance). Work likewise for lining, making sure you leave a hole in lower edge to turn it inside out. 

Then assemble the bag with lining, with right sides together. Turn it inside out and topstitch.



Don’t forget to close the hole, either by hand sewing or with your machine. Voilà! You have a beautiful reusable tote bag, and quite unique too! I hope you will like it as much as I do! 

Feel free to share photos of your bags! 

Find more sewing projects over here

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Here are some pretty upcycled tote bags made by Maya with this tutorial:


This one was made with a pair of her boyfriend’s old jeans, a dish towel that didn’t dry much and a scrap of colored Ikea fabric. So cute, right? 


The second one was made with reclaimed jeans fabric, a torn scarf and scrap of curtains. 

Yay for upcycling!

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