Sunday, August 26, 2012

DIY Tote Bag: Be inspired! neon, tribal, and leather

As promised, here is the tote from yesterdays post...

So if Pinterest is any clue, this tote is the trifecta of trends right now so forgive me if I'm feeling a bit smug that I. MADE. THIS.

Ok, smugness aside and moving forward, this tote is made primarily from repurposed thrift store goodies.  This post is less of a step-by-step tutorial and more of general procedural walk through that is meant to inspire...

heavy duty cotton fabric
lightweight leather salvaged from a skirt
awesome tribal fabric from poncho / nurse scrub shirt
2 leather belts
D rings -- copper wire -- Jiffy rivets
lightweight fabric interfacing

Because both the leather from the skirt and the tribal fabric (from here on out, TF) are lightweight, I used heavy duty cotton fabric as the "skeleton" of the bag and then stitched the leather and TF onto it.  The TF has a loose weave so I iron lightweight interfacing on the back to give it more structure. This also makes it easier to sew as it doesn't stretch, shift, and wiggle all over.

Once all the pretty was stitched onto the canvas skeleton and it had been sewn into a bag, I went to work on making the strap anchors and sewing them on the INSIDE of the bag. This was so the pattern wasn't broken up on the exterior.

The straps are made out of repurposed leather belts (TIP! These are great to pick up at yard sales because often you can get them for a quarter!)
Because the belts are different, on the one I punched holes for jiffy rivets and the other I looped a ton of copper wire through existing (originally decorative) grommets and then gave it a good hammering to harden it up.
Just about every bag I've used a belt on has called for different method to secure. Be flexible in your approach and you'll think of something!

So that was my process. I hope this gave you some ideas!
All together I spent around $12 on materials, which I still have a bunch of. Bag anyone?

PS! If you would like step-by-step instructions on how to make a tote bag you can find some here.


  1. Awesome! DIY'ing like a BOSS, lol... :)

  2. I personally don't like totes but sweet DIY!