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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Totebag transformation

I am a confirmed tote-bag carrier.  Briefcases aren't configured for what I carry to work each day:  my planner (a combination of Day-Timer monthly dividers and Uncalendar weekly pages), my lunch, two cans of diet cola, and at least one book.  On the way home the lunch bag is empty but I often have three or four books.  When I go to ALA or other conferences I take a small purse and I tote a tote.   I return from said conferences with even more tote bags.  Over the years I've come to appreciate tote bag design.  The best ones have 4"-5" squared-off bottoms, are about 11" tall, and are made from heavy canvas or sturdy polyester.  The best ones also have corporate logos that are small enough to cover up.   That's because I like to transform them!
Here are the three stages of today's project, which will serve as my tote this summer.

I lined it, too--meaning that I pretty much made an entire tote bag with a heavy canvas base.
I like the color scheme of this tote but it is 14" high and only 2-1/2" at the base.  Those dimensions don't work -- but I figured that out after I had handsewn the Ohio star block to the pocket. 
This is the tote bag I used this past fall and winter. There is a similar batik maple leaf on the other side. (The diagonal placement just covers the publisher's logo on both side.)
This is the first tote I transformed (in 2008).  It's the one I usually take to ALA because it easily holds my computer. It has an exterior zippered pocket, and two net side pockets.  It looks blue in the photo, but it's actually purple. 


  1. I recognize that purple tote--we have two of them in our "tote closet"! Wish I had me some quilting skilz!

  2. I have the green demco bag. I use it a fair bit. It is a neat idea and a good use of leftover blocks.

  3. Great idea - but not unique to you! I have 'built knitting and quilting bags over the years. I agree that pockets are a necessity: if a study bag does not have them, then I steal them from yet another bag. The knitting bag I lined with silky scraps from an upholstery shop.I wonder how many quilting librarians do these ...

    PS I bring extra bags home and distribute them to the library staff - and they seem to enjoy receiving the colourful bags to use as "haul-the-groceries-home bags...

  4. Very nice transformations! We have a large collection of totes from various conferences. If I were to change them up like the ones you did, I'd practice my sewing and I bet people would appreciate the gift. Thank you for sharing!

  5. smart thing to do it this way, I usualy sew a piece of nice fabrik on top of the logo and leave the rest for what it is.

  6. love your transformed bags...
    I've done a couple - love to 'upscale' those logos!


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