Episode 206:

Pillowcase Tote by Jodi Kahn

Create a simple and stylish grocery tote from a pillowcase.

The featured tote is 18 3/4”x26”.

  • Standard pillowcase (approximately 20”x30”)
  • 8 yards of 1/4”-wide double-fold bias tape
  • All-purpose thread
  • Ruler
  • Seam ripper

Cut It

  1. Press the pillowcase to remove any wrinkles. Position the pillowcase on a flat work surface. Fold the pillowcase in half lengthwise with wrong sides together, orienting the pillowcase opening along the top and the fold on the right.
  2. Measure 15” from the pillowcase lower edge; mark on the fold. Repeat to mark 16” from the lower edge along the opposite long edge. Measure 3 7/8” from the upper-right corner; mark on the upper edge. Repeat to mark 3 7/8” from the upper-left corner on the upper edge. The width between the marks should be approximately 2 1/4".
  3. Connect the fold mark to the corresponding upper-edge mark, using a ruler to aid in drawing straight lines if needed. Repeat to mark the left-side mark to the corresponding upper-edge mark. Cut along the lines.
  4. Unfold the pillowcase. Using a seam ripper, remove the pillowcase hem along each strap; press.
  5. Fold the pillowcase in half lengthwise along the previous foldline. Measure 29” from the bag lower edge along the strap; mark. Trim away the straps beyond the mark.

Sew It

  1. Unfold the pillowcase. Designate one pillowcase side as the tote front and the other as the tote back. With right sides together, align the front straps; pin. Stitch the straps using a 1 1/4" seam allowance; press open the seam. Fold the raw edges 1/2" toward the wrong side; press. Repeat to stitch the back straps.
  2. Measure one armhole raw edge. Add 3” to the measurement; record. Cut a piece of bias tape according to the measurement. Unfold the slightly narrower side of the tape; press. Fold one tape end 1/2” toward the wrong side; press.
  3. With right sides together, position the bias tape over one armhole 3” beyond the strap seam, aligning the raw edges; pin. Stitch along the tape foldline. Fold the tape over the raw edge toward the tote wrong side; pin. Topstitch the tape from the tote right side close to tape fold along the bag wrong side. Repeat to stitch bias tape to the remaining armhole raw edge.
  4. Turn the bag wrong side out. Push out one lower corner to create a triangular point. Draw a 4"- long line perpendicular to the side seam 2” beyond the corner point. Stitch across the line, backstitching at the seam beginning and end. Stitch a second seam just below the first seam to reinforce the tote bottom. Turn the tote right side out.


Products used in this episode:

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