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My friend Hannah and I recently made some reusable organic canvas tote bags for my craft shop, Home Ec. They turned out great (entirely due to Hannah’s awesome design and silkscreening skills) but I managed to smudge some ink on one of the bags — specifically on the straps. So I kept that one for myself, intending to replace the strap with some colorful fabric. Like a lot of folks I know, I have a ton of natural-colored canvas bags laying around to carry groceries and whatnot, and this is a fun way to revamp them and give them a personalized look. Here’s how I did it.


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Materials
Cotton fabric
Fusible interfacing
Thread
Buttons
Seam ripper
Note: All seam allowances are 1/4" unless otherwise specified.
Step 1: Using a seam ripper, pick away the stitches to remove the straps on your canvas tote bag.
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Step 2: Once the straps are removed, measure their length and width. Cut out 2 pieces of fabric and 2 pieces of interfacing the same length, and double the width (plus 1/2"). For example, my original straps were 24" long and 1" wide, so I cut my fabric and interfacing to be 24" long and 2 1/2" wide. Iron the fusible interfacing strips to the wrong side of the fabric strips according to the manufacturers instructions.
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Step 3: Fold the straps in half lengthwise and pin. Sew along the long, open edge, leaving the ends open. Turn the ends inside out using a safety pin or wooden dowel, and press flat. Finally, topstitch each strap about 1/8" from each long edge. I used red thread to match the fabric I chose.
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Step 4: Place your straps in the spaces where you removed the original straps and pin into place. Stitch in place using thread that matches the bag, following the pattern left by the original stitch holes.
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Step 5: Hand-stitch a few buttons to the front of the bag, near the straps. That’s it!
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Related

Comments

  1. Dave at Rings & Things says:

    Hi Jenny, I just wanted to comment that your post about upcycling tote bags is an excellent contribution from Craftzine, as usual. I picked you guys (well, this blog) out to pass along the “Kreativ Blogger Award”,* and I recommend your consistently inspired, well-presented ideas to all the crafters I know.
    With appreciation,
    –Dave
    *(http://www.rings-things.com/blog/?p=1292) in case the URL didn’t come through :)

  2. Dave at Rings & Things says:

    Hi Jenny, I just wanted to comment that your post about upcycling tote bags is an excellent contribution from Craftzine, as usual. I picked you guys (well, this blog) out to pass along the “Kreativ Blogger Award”,* and I recommend your consistently inspired, well-presented ideas to all the crafters I know.
    With appreciation,
    –Dave
    *(http://www.rings-things.com/blog/?p=1292) in case the URL didn’t come through :)

  3. Dave at Rings & Things says:

    Hi Jenny, I just wanted to comment that your post about upcycling tote bags is an excellent contribution from Craftzine, as usual. I picked you guys (well, this blog) out to pass along the “Kreativ Blogger Award”,* and I recommend your consistently inspired, well-presented ideas to all the crafters I know.
    With appreciation,
    –Dave
    *(http://www.rings-things.com/blog/?p=1292) in case the URL didn’t come through :)

  4. Dave at Rings & Things says:

    Hi Jenny, I just wanted to comment that your post about upcycling tote bags is an excellent contribution from Craftzine, as usual. I picked you guys (well, this blog) out to pass along the “Kreativ Blogger Award”,* and I recommend your consistently inspired, well-presented ideas to all the crafters I know.
    With appreciation,
    –Dave
    *(http://www.rings-things.com/blog/?p=1292) in case the URL didn’t come through :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    where did you get your fabric?

  6. Jenny Ryan says:

    Hey thanks Dave!
    Anon., the fabric is a vintage cotton print I found at a thrift store…

  7. Anonymous says:

    That’s funny! The reason I asked was because I picked up the same fabric from a thrift store. Small world.

  8. Ayana P. says:

    Fantastic Job with the bag!!! Congrats! :)
    Crafting is always fun….
    If you love making crafts and such… then organization is always important. I thought you might enjoy this website:
    It’s: TheOriginalScrapbox.com
    Anyone who enjoys doing crafts should check out the site!
    They have some excellent storage solutions and organizations products. I strongly recommend visiting their website!
    You won’t be disappointed! :)