Make a Large Shopping Tote from a Pillowcase

Here is a quick tutorial on how to re-purposed some of those old pillow cases into a large shopping tote.  

Or if you are like me and your regular sheets aren't the most fun fabrics head on over to Goodwill to look for bright and fun pillowcases to make into a large tote.

(Here's a tip: Sheets/pillowcases are really just huge pieces of fabric that can be used for tons of sewing projects.  Next time you see a bright colorful sheet set think about how it might look as drapes, or throw pillow, or even a custom shower curtain.  The possibilities are endless, and the price/yard is usually a great deal!)

Supplies you'll need:
- 1 pillow case (regular or queen)
-seam ripper
- sewing machine

You'll start by ripping out both side seams and the end seam if necessary.  All the pillow cases I own are really just one piece of long fabric folded in half so there probably won't be a third seam at the bottom to rip out.

After the side seams are ripped out fold the fabric back in half and lay it flat on the table.  You will make two cuts here.  The first is to cut the fabric in half along the fold at the bottom. And a second cut diagonally through the rectangular pieces.  To do this you will need to cut diagonally from the lower right corner to the upper left corner. After both of these cuts are done you should have 4 right angle triangle shaped pieces of fabric.

Here is what the pieces will look like after one has been flipped upside down to show the shape of the tote.

Next step is to iron and sew a hem on the angled edge of all 4 pieces. 

Once the seam is done you will need to sew two of the triangles together in the layout above to form one side of the bag.  Sew along the angled edge, following your seam as a guide.  Repeat this step with the other 2 triangle pieces.  You can see where my pins are above to follow the seam.

Now you will need to sew the front and back of the bag together.  Line up each piece with the right sides together and sew the two side seams and the bottom seam to form the bag. 
Once the front and back are sewn together you can stop here, or add box pleat corners like I did.  Adding box pleats is super easy and I like the squared off look it gives this large tote.

To make box pleat corners you will need to sew one seam in each corner perpendicular to the seam that made the bottom of the bag.  The length of the seam is up to you, but I used 3" as my guide for this project. 

Once the box pleats are done all you need to do is turn the bag right side out and tie the two sides together for the strap. 

And that's all there is to it.  A few cuts and sewing a few seams and you have a reusable (and cute) large shopping tote.

I hope you can find the time to make one!

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39 Response to Make a Large Shopping Tote from a Pillowcase

August 4, 2010 at 8:20 AM

Oh, that is such a cool method for converting a pillowcase! Great tutorial, and the bag is so pretty. Saw you on a linky party (oops, can't remember which), now I need to go snoop around the rest of you blog to see what other cool stuff you are making!

August 4, 2010 at 8:55 AM

Very nice and creative! Love it. I am your new follower, you can visit me at

August 4, 2010 at 9:26 AM


August 4, 2010 at 3:54 PM

Hi, I'm following you! Cute blog! I would love if you could follow me back!


August 5, 2010 at 7:28 AM

Wonderful idea, love that you recycled a pillowcase.

August 5, 2010 at 2:19 PM

I have a pillow case begging for this kind of transformation! So fun!

August 5, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Super cute bag! I need to try this project!

August 5, 2010 at 7:01 PM

this is such a creative idea! the bag looks really great :)

August 5, 2010 at 9:23 PM

What a great idea. I love your page-- right up my alley. Happy to be following you and look forward to having you join me on my page too.

August 6, 2010 at 5:34 AM

I love this idea! Thanks for the instructions. Visiting from Hop Along Friday. Following you. Would love a follow back. Happy Friday!

August 6, 2010 at 8:42 AM

This is such a clever idea, and it turned out really cute!

August 6, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Hi, What a great idea with that pillowcase
I'm your new follower from Friendly Friday Follow

August 6, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Hi.... I'm your newest follower.

August 6, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Hi There,

This really looks great!

I’m your newest follower, I’m stopping by from Friendly Friday.
If you have any giveaways, I would love it, if you would link them up at my Fantastic Friday Giveaway Linky
FrugalMom from
Frugality Is Free

August 6, 2010 at 12:42 PM

wish I could sew ! Stopping by from FF. Hope you'll visit sometime .

August 6, 2010 at 1:30 PM

I'm saving this! This is definitely something I would love to try!
You are invited to Of Such is the Kingdom's first birthday party! We're looking back at old posts and giving away daily prizes. Come on over for some fun!

August 6, 2010 at 1:45 PM

I’m already following you, but wanted to invite you to visit my blog of 100-plus inspirational messages (stories, poems, prayers).

Take care!


August 6, 2010 at 1:57 PM

I'm a new follower from Friendly Friday! Have a great weekend!

August 6, 2010 at 2:47 PM

This is such a creative idea! I love the shape and style of it and I looooove the fabric!!

Thanks for linking up.

August 6, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Very cute bag! I will have to try that one. I love using stuff I already have. Love your blog! Saw you on Friend Friday. Stop by if you get a chance:

August 7, 2010 at 12:08 AM

That is so cute, love it! I can think of so many uses for this.

August 7, 2010 at 12:32 PM

hey girl! This looks great! I am your newest follower from FF :) Have a great weekend!

August 8, 2010 at 5:54 AM

Hello! I am a new reader! Please follow me back at The Nutritionist Reviews and Giveaways:
I look forward to reading more of your posts!

August 8, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Great idea!

I featured you here:

August 8, 2010 at 2:02 PM

A few hours to Sunday afternoon blog hop. Hope you will stop by for a visit...I am giving away another copy of In a Heartbeat on Monday night...
Happy Sunday

August 9, 2010 at 10:20 AM

wow, so simply, so effective, now on the hunt for rectangles of fabric. Will definitely be making this. Thank you soooooo soooooo much for this fab idea.

August 9, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Love it! That fabric is fantastic! I am putting a bright pillowcase on my list for next goodwill trip! Thanks for sharing I'd love it if you stopped by Topsy Turvy Tuesdays!

August 10, 2010 at 7:18 AM

So totally cute! Love the triangle method!

Thanks for linking up at Craftastical!

August 10, 2010 at 8:38 AM

Fabulous and so much fun!

August 10, 2010 at 9:16 AM

Looks great! Love it!

August 10, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Great tutorial! Thanks for linking @Creative Itch's "Sew Cute Tuesday"!

August 10, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Awesome idea! I think I need a new summer bag!

August 10, 2010 at 6:17 PM

Fun idea! I love the color that you used. Thanks for stopping by our blog on Friday and linking up, we love having you participate!

August 10, 2010 at 11:06 PM

I'm featuring this :)

August 18, 2010 at 5:04 AM

It turned out so cute! Sorry I wasn't able to admire your tote making skills last week. I was out of town. Thanks for linking to Transform Tuesday!!

March 9, 2013 at 2:54 AM

lovely bag... and thanks for the tutorial... hope will make the same one...

flight bags
leather tote bags
wash bags for men
sports bags for men
retro bags

April 30, 2015 at 7:52 AM

Super tutorial! I've just made one and I love it! Thank you for sharing!

August 9, 2018 at 2:08 PM

Thank you for this. I sewed up two today to use as gift bags.

September 28, 2018 at 6:20 AM

I didn't understand the tutorial. Can you do a video?

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