Saturday, November 6, 2010

Recycled Overalls Tote Bag

This is my current knitting bag. I bought it on clearance for less than $5.00 at a local craft store. I have had it for almost forever, and it is my favorite bag of all time. I love and have used it as a tote for absolutely everything. It's faded and it's out of season, but its just so perfect I love it so much. (Can you tell I love this bag?)

Well.. my bag is so well loved, the handles are starting to fray and are about to the point of breaking.

I honestly have thought long and hard about using duct tape, or red athletic tape, to tape the handles. But that would really be tacky, and just prolonging the demise of this poor bag.

Out of the love and the respect I have for my bag, I am just going to let it retire gracefully.

I have been perusing the craft stores, thrift store, and every store I walk through to find a worthy replacement. I have yet to find one that is the right size, the right color, and that fits in my budget.

This past week we have been purging closets for out of season or outgrown clothes. Out of my oldest daughter's closet came a cute pair of khaki over-all shorts. They were still in really good shape, and had lots of pockets.

I had seen some time back a lady carrying a purse made from toddler overalls, and thought it was a really cute idea, but never had the opportunity to try it.

But here I was with my daughter's outgrown overalls, and me in need of a new bag. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to try making a tote bag to me!

It took me several hrs to get it done, but I was interrupted with a toddler not napping, yard work, and then dinner for my fam. If I was not inerrupted I am pretty sure this would not of taken more than 30 minutes at the most to start and complete.

Best part is it fit within my budget because it cost me nothing. The overalls were going to be given away or tossed anyway, and I had the thread on hand. Oh... the sewing machine I made it on was given to me for free as well.

How's that for a free tote bag?!

Here's how you can make your own....

Please note... I didn't pin any of the edges before hemming them. I just hand pressed them, and then held them together as I sewed along. I also wasn't very picky about hem allowances, but I think they ranged between 1/2" to 1".

Start with clean over-all shorts.

To keep the length, cut out the crotch seam. If you don't want your tote bag as deep, simply cut the legs off above the crotch.

Turn the over-alls inside out. Match the raw edged of the crotch together in the back, and then again in the front. Dont match up the front with the back, but make sure the back and the front stay separate so you don't sew them back together.

With a sewing machine, Hem first the back crotch cut. Then hem the front crotch together.
After they are hemmed it should look like this when laid flat. Notice the side seams are what are in the middle, and the hemmed crotches are on the sides.

Now with the over-alls still inside out, lay them flat with the side seams on the sides again, and the front and back crotch hems matching up.

Before sewing the bottom edge closed, to reduce bulking, fold the top crotch hem allowance one way, and the bottom hem allowance the opposite way.

Machine hem with a generous edge allowance.

This is what it should look like after the bottom is sewn closed.

To help make a little bit of a flatter bottom, Sew the bottom corners at a diagonal.

Turn it right side out, fill it with your favorite things or you daily must haves, and enjoy!

Here's what mine looked like filled.

To give you an idea of how roomy this tote is, I have my current knitting project, my book tote, my knitting instructions, and a notebook on the inside. The front pockets have my hand lotion, and my chap stick. The two back pockets were perfect for holding my book light and my MP3 player.

I am not head over heals in love with this bag yet, but it's cute and so far I like it pretty well.

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