Ladies’ Christmas Gifts

Reminder: If your name is Martha, Amal, Jenan, Luca, Aila, Judy, Jenn, Sara or Sandy – please DO NOT read anymore!

Flora from Cabin at Wildflower Meadow shared this idea with me. I plan to sell these at the upcoming Holiday Craft Fair and also to give them to the ladies and girls in my family for Christmas gifts. So far, I have made 10 tote bags. They are awesome! I think I’ll have to keep one for myself.

Vintage Tote Bag
Vintage Fabric Tote Bags (Click to see the original pattern.)

I have been purchasing remnants and sheets from thrift stores for months. My friend and I went through it all on Sunday — I can probably make 50 unique bags from the fabric I have! My goal is to have them all be a little trendy, a little classy, and a little surprising in the fabric combinations.

The bags are made from two coordinating fabrics of your choice, perhaps a floral and a stripe. Or a floral and a solid.

Changes I have made to the above linked pattern:

  1. The pattern shows that each strap is made from one or the other of the fabrics. I made each strap from both fabrics (one fabric for each side of each strap).
  2. My bag size is 19″ x 14″ (cut (2) 20″ x 15″ rectangles of each fabric).
  3. I am orienting the bags in a wider-rather-than-longer orientation.
  4. My finished straps are 1-1/2″ inch wide, rather than 3/4″.
  5. My finished straps are 18″ (cut strips 20″ long) long for a short-handled bag, or 28″ long (cut strips 30″ long) for a long-handled bag.
  6. I added a layer of interfacing in each strap.
  7. I attached the straps 4 to 5 inches in from each side seam.
  8. I added a pocket to the outside and inside liner of the bag. The finished pockets are 7″ x 6″ (cut 2 rectangles that are 8″ x 7″ for each pocket).
  9. I squared the bottom of each bag by by sewing diagonally across each bottom corner (2-1/2″ in) of both the inner lining and outer bag.

With the changes I made, each bag takes about an hour, including cutting time. A. and B. have each made a tote for their piano books.

Update 11-2-06: Pictures of 39 completed Vintage Tote Bags for Craft Fair. (Use the same password.)


  1. Wardee,
    I hope you have lots of success with your totes. I took my inspiration from your totes and sites you mentioned to make the tote for the women’s retreat. It really was a nice tote. The lady who won it (my friend Aimee) gave it to another lady who really wanted it very badly. :) It was so easy to make! Thank you for the idea and suggestions.

  2. Thanks, Sylvia. I’m so happy to hear that you made a tote! I feel badly for Aimee, who gave up the tote. How could she give that up??? Maybe you should make her another for Christmas! :D

    I’m tickled that Jeff likes these totes. He really likes functional gifts and these sure are functional… but they’re stylish, too. A great combination!

  3. Wardee, you have a real winner here, good for you! I am so excited to hear about how the craft fair goes for you..I am soo proud of you!! warm hugs

  4. Oh, thank you, Mona! I’ll let you know how it goes…. :D Love, Wardee

  5. Those are lovely! I’ll have to keep that in mind as a good way to use up fabric pieces AND check one more off the Christmas list!

  6. Those are so lovely. I’ll have to save this link! I have several of this form that have a strip of fabric sewn in three different seams to make three large pocket on each side of the inside of my purses…six total. I love those. I sort of wish it were easier to know which side my hand was delving into as I drive down the road, though! Thanks!


  1. […] the straps, changed the dimensions, squared the bottoms, and added pockets. Read at my blog to see more details on the changes. The brown corduroy bag to the left is one of the bags I made using this pattern, but with corduroy […]

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