The “ins” and the “outs” of my new Tote bag!

I think I’ve already mentioned that I need to replace my Tote bag.  The vinyl is cracking at the corners and on the straps.  I have decided to strip what zippers and buckles I can from this one to ensure no waste … but the rest of it is too worn.

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

My family, friends and co-workers have heard that I like working with repurposed denim and other repurposed fabrics to make my bags.  They all kindly gift me with fabric and notions they find!  For this Tote bag I will be using an almost never worn pair of jeans that a co-worker has given me.  They are large so I have lots of fabric to work with!  (Thank you, Linda R!)  

It takes some careful thought to decide what pockets and pieces of the jeans I will be reusing.  One wrong cut and my plans won’t work!  (Sophie isn’t helping here – she is stalking her brother Simon.)



I think I will use this pocket on the front of my bag and cut 2 or 3″ wide denim strips to complete the rest of the front panel. 


This piece with the strong seam will be good for the back panel of my bag.


Lost in thought and scissors flying, I managed to snip a hole in my yoga pants!  I’ll have to take time to mend these … OR? … I can add “sew yoga pants” to my “sewing to-do list”!


My sister, the one that I sew for quite often, has cleared out her house and given me all the fabric she had sitting around – that’s the second time one of my sisters has given me bags of fabric left lying around – I JUST LOVE IT!  GIVE ME MORE!  In the bag she gave me I found this curtain fabric.  It will be perfect for my Tote bag lining.  Sophie went wild on it!


But I did manage to cut out my lining pieces without any further “feline fuss”.  I plan on having two large inner zipper pockets, one on each side.  I have 12″ zippers in my stash already, but they are different colours, a burgundy and a beige.  This is a repurposed Tote bag though, let’s see if I can use what I scrounge and not buy anything new!

What better way to sew a repurposed Tote bag, than on a repurposed sewing machine – My Singer 500, my Rocketeer which I fondly call “Barbie”.  You can see more photos of Barbie and read about her HERE.  

Zipper pockets first!  The pocket lining and bag lining are sewn right sides together, the zipper opening is carefully sewn and cut open.


The pocket lining is turned through the zipper opening and pressed.  Wonder Tape  is applied to my zipper to stick it to the wrong side of the zipper opening.


My zipper is sewn in.  Actually, I like the burgundy coloured zipper with this fabric!


I always make the pocket lining twice the necessary length, then you don’t have to sew all four sides of the pocket lining together to make the pocket, just three sides, and the 4th side (the bottom of the pocket) is without a seam and stronger.


The “ins” of my new repurposed Tote bag.  But when I saw this completed lining, I put the brakes on this project quick!  It seems so big!  I copied the measurements of my brown vinyl bag exactly, but it just seems I better take a minute or two to decide how big this Tote bag really has to be.


While we are taking a break, let’s move on to the “outs” of my new repurposed bag.  The best way to take a break from sewing is take a break “out”side in the sun!  

Which meant a beautiful walk on a beautiful day around the Harbour in Victoria.


Extravagant hotels and condos, boats and sea planes!


Heading towards our old “Blue Bridge” and its new replacement.


The new replacement bridge is almost finished, 2 1/2 years behind schedule and $8 million over budget … last I heard.  But has that ever NOT been the case?



Oh, and I must confess … there was a stop for tea and Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake during our walk.  Sorry … desserts make me giggle!


My sister, @jvandervlugt_illustrations, preferred the Lime Tart, which was also delicious!  If you are ever in Victoria, you must stop by #larouxpatisserie for dessert!


When was the last time you used distraction to put the brakes on your sewing before it turned into a gigantic mess?  Do tell!

Happy Sewing!

STASH BUSTING WITH THIS PROJECT?  Still 138.5 remaining.  This project is being made with repurposed fabrics and notions.


10 thoughts on “The “ins” and the “outs” of my new Tote bag!

  1. Wow! Sophie went from stealth to having a really good time on that material. I’m really interested in your finished bag for my own personal reasons.

    We had a good time. That bakery is amazing. Cheers.

    1. Yes, I didn’t know Sophie had it in her… she’s usually the meek, calm one! It was a good day wasn’t it! A long walk, sunshine and cheesecake!

  2. Wow! Sophie is wild!
    I haven’t sewn for an age but I totally understand the need to take time out from a project. And cake always helps 😉

    1. She reminds me of something from the “Exorcist”! 😂 yes whether sewing, knitting, or doing taxes… cake always helps! 😁👍

  3. Wow, that little bakery looked really good (you two looked really good too). You’ll have to take us there the next time we’re in Victoria! Nice looking tote by the way. :).

    1. I thought you’d like that place! 😁👍 thanks for the compliment! 🤗

  4. If I remember correctly, that fabric had a satiny smooth feel to it, maybe that is what Sophie loved about it, the cool feel. The lining/zipper combo looks really nice and desert also looked yummy. Glad you found a way to “feed” your thoughts. Always good to take five and regroup.

    1. Yes, the fabric is very smooth. Thanks for giving me all the stuff you found. It was quite an assortment and will come in handy!

      1. Some of the scraps lean more to “test” projects than a final finish but glad they found a home.

        1. We shall see what I can come up with! 😁

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