Thursday, May 9, 2013

No-Sew Pillowcase Tote Bag

I found this really fun vintage-y pillowcase at Goodwill a few weeks ago. At only $0.99, it had to come home with me!

After scouring the Internet to find out what I could do with it, I stumbled upon this free pattern and tutorial from Martha Stewart for a pillowcase tote bag.

The only problem was, her tutorial was a bit hard to follow and only included two photos. Shame, shame, Martha!

I decided to break it down into smaller steps, so that even the most novice of sewers (I would definitely be included in this category!) could make this super cute bag. :)

You'll need:
An old pillowcase (Check our your local thrift shops, you're sure to find some great ones!)
Sewing machine
Basic sewing supplies
Rotary Cutter and Mat (or Scissors)
Stich witchery
(You'll see why those last two things are needed in a moment... atleast in my case! Ha ha!)

Step One:
Cut a whole in the box... Wait, that's not right! Iron the pillowcase. Yes, iron that puppy. Not only will it be nice and wrinkle-free, it'll be much easier to work with!

Step Two:
Using your rotary cutter (or scissors if you don't have one) cut off approximately 1/4 inch off the bottom, sewn part of your pillowcase.

Step Three:
Using your rotary cutter again, cut your pillowcase in half at a diagonal. Don't worry if it's not perfect. ;)
Step Four:
Open up your pillow case halves so that they look like a large triangle. Flip them over so the underside is showing. Roll each side by 1/4 of an inch two times, then pin. Sew together. Do the same with the second half of the case. (ONLY DO THIS STEP IF YOU ARE GOING TO USE A SEWING MACHINE!)

Now, at this point, any novice sewer should be feeling pretty darn proud of themselves. Except for me.

You see, my sewing machine is the devil and it hates me. This is what happened when I sewed my seams... Yea, complete disaster.

I spent over two hours fiddling with my machine with no luck. As frustration was getting the better of me (and naptime was quickly coming to an end!) I was starting to lose my mind a bit. And then it hit me. I knew what I could do to save my project and redeem myself!

Enter God's gift to awful sewers everywhere: Stitch Witchery *cue angels singing* 

I was saved! And now, instead of being a sewing tutorial, this is a NO-SEW tutorial! ;)

So, if you are using stitch witch for this project and not a sewing machine, here's what you would do instead of the step above. But, if you do want to sew this bag, just substitute any areas where you would use stitch witch with your sewing machine. It works both ways! :)

Step Four (With Stitch Witch):
Place your stitch witch on the fabric. Next fold your fabric over the stitch witch about 1/2 an inch. Place iron directly on top of fabric and hold in place for 10 seconds. Continue down the fabric until you have created your seam. Flip fabric over and press iron down on seam on reverse side.

Step Five:
Once you've stitch witched (or sewn) each side of each half of your pillowcase, you should have a bit of leftover fabric. Just snip it off so that your fabric meets at a point where you have SW'd the edges.

Step Six:
Open up one half of the pillow case into a triangle. Place the second pillowcase inside of it and fold the other half of the bottom pillowcase over it so that it looks like the picture below. You're literally just placing one half inside of the other.

Step Seven:
Now it's time for LOTS of sewing stitch witching. Get your iron ready! First, just be sure that both pillowcases are lined up evenly at the bottom. Pin to keep them together. Using the guidelines in step four, stitch witch the front where the fabric over laps. Repeat with the back. Just to make sure things were sturdy, I turned the pillowcase inside out and stitch witched where those pieces overlap on the front and back as well.

Step Eight:
Now your pillowcase should be looking more like a bag. Well, without a bottom. You will have four loose bottom pieces. Turn the bag inside out (again) and stich witch the top two pieces and the bottom two pieces together so that you're left with two pieces. Then stitch witch the remaining two pieces so that your bag has a bottom. If you're feeling adventurous, you could always hand-sew over your stitch witch to ensure the bottom if secure. But, it's not necessary. This stitch witchery is tough stuff!
All that's left is to tie your top pieces into a knot (I used a double knot), and, now, your bag is done!

He wanted to model the bag for me! :)
Mine holds quite a bit, including my sunglasses, three wallets (don't judge!), cell phone and other items.

This would make a fabulous Mother's Day or Teacher Appreciation gift! Be sure to start scouring your local thrift shops for cute vintage pillowcases. You never know what you'll find! :)

I love how my tote bag turned out! It will definitely be my go-to bag for this summer, since it's light, bright and fun!

And I'm really proud of the fact that I actually made it myself. (Even though there were a few bumps along the way!)  :)

The best part though? It only cost me $0.99!

Now, that's a deal! :)

Have you found any great deals at the thrift shop lately? Any epic project fails you'd like to share to make me feel better about mine?

Don't forget to stop by Much Ado About Monday to link up your best projects, crafts and recipes of the week with us! We can't wait to see what you've been up to. And, you may even be featured! :)

Sharing with these great parties:

52 Mantels


Becoming Martha

Weekend Bloggy Reading


Beyond The Picket Fence


  1. I LOVE this tutorial! And I'm definitely inspired! Thanks so much for linking up on Hookin On Hump Day!

    1. Thanks, Tamara! I'm glad it worked out in the end... even though I thought for sure it'd be a failed project! :)