While on one of my yard sale adventures I found this cute denim mini skirt. It was obviously too small for me, and a bit short for anybody, but that didn’t stop me from seeing the possibilities. I decided a skirt tote bag was just the ticket. I have made jean totes before, but they always look like you’re carrying your butt on your shoulder. The length of a jean tote can also be hampered on the distance between the waist and the crotch. The curves on the bottom of jean butts also make it difficult to cut and sew a straight line along the bottom edge of the bag. With a skirt, these issues were non-existent. This tote can also be done with skirts made from different materials, making this a great project for recycling old clothing from your closet.
Turn your denim mini skirt wrong side out and lay it flat on your work surface. Determine how long you would like your tote bag to be. Cut across the skirt’s width at this length. If your skirt has a slit, you will want the bottom of your bag to be above it. Mine didn’t have a slit, and I liked the length of the skirt, so I chose to cut across the skirt just above the hem.
Pin the cut edges together and sew using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. You now have a bag.
Open the bag. Lay one side seam over the bottom seam. This will make a point at one bottom corner. Measure 4 inches down from the point and pin. Sew across the point at the pinned measurement. This creates the boxed bottom. Repeat on the other bottom corner. Cut off the points, 1/4-inch from the stitched seams.
Make the handles for the tote bag. If you have extra material from the bottom of the skirt that you cut off, you can use that. You can also use old blue jeans, or other material left over from other projects. I chose leather scraps from an old leather jacket I had repurposed for crafts. Cut four 2-inch-wide by 20 inch long strips.
Decide whether you would like the long raw edges of your handles to be exposed or turned to the inside. Since I used leather, I chose to have my edges exposed. Turning the edges to the inside would have been too difficult. For edges turned inward, place two strips together with the right sides facing each other. Pin the long edges. Sew the long edges using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Do not sew the short ends. Turn the strips right side out and press. For raw edges exposed, place two strips together with the wrong sides facing each other and pin. Sew the pinned edges using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Do not sew the short ends. Do not turn. Repeat with the remaining two strips so that you have two handles.
If your long edges have exposed seams, cut 1/4-inch wide slits from the edge to the seam. This creates a little fringe on the edge of the handles.
Lay the wrong-side-out tote bag body on your work surface with the front facing up. Along the top edge, measure 3 inches on each side of the center and mark with a marking pen. Pin one end of the handle to the wrong side of the bag, at one mark and 1/4-inch below the bottom edge of the waistband. Repeat with the other end of the handle at the remaining mark. Flip the bag over and using the pinned front handles as your guide, pin the remaining handle to the bag.
If your skirt had a belt, move it out of the way of the pinned handles. Sew across each end of the handles at the pins, and also just below the top of the waistband. Replace the belt if desired.
More Tote Bag Inspiration!