Do you have a favorite handbag that you carry with you just about everywhere you go? Well, mine is my canvas Marc Jacobs tote that I got for less than $1 while thrifting—it’s the perfect size and completely resilient to the torture I put it through. So, in addition to being this girl’s best friend, it’s also now served as the inspiration for what will become my new tote.
But since I’m super lazy when it comes to switching up my handbags, I thought “why not take it a step further and have two bags in one?” That’s just what I did….chic on one side, cool on the other. So I ran over to Mood Fabrics and grabbed some denim—they have a great selection of various weights and colors—plus some canvas, snaps, and faux leather; and I was well on my way. Tell me what you think!
SUPPLIES: Denim, canvas, faux leather, glue, straight pins, scissors, rotary cutter, tape measure, snaps straight edge, iron, and a sewing machine.
1. With your rotary cutter, cut out 6 rectangles. You’ll need all 6 rectangles to be 21 inches x 11 inches each — 3 denim, 2 canvas, 1 faux leather. Then you’ll need rectangles for your handles, 2.5 inches x 21 inches — 2 denim and 2 faux leather.
2. Pin down 1/4 seam allowance on both sides of 1 rectangle — this one will serve as the bottom.
3. Iron these down.
4. Pin this bottom to both side panels on either side — I pinned about 2 inches from the bottom of each one.
5. Now sew the 2 side panels to the bottom.
6. Now that you’ve sewn together both side panels and the bottom, take this giant rectangle you’ve created, in half with the right sides facing and pin up both sides.
7. Sew up the left and right sides you just pinned.
8. Now you have a pocket — you’re getting close! Turn it right side out.
9. Pinch the bottom corners together like I’ve shown you here, to box out the bottom of your handbag.
10. Pin the point of your corners to your bag.
11. Your bag is coming together, but now would be a good time to press out those side seams with your iron to make it look really polished.
12. Now for the fun part! Put the bag on your machine and sew these 2 bottom points to the body of the bag.
13. I found these snaps in some of my stuff and didn’t think to put them on before I sewed the points down….so you can either do it the right way, or glue them in place like I did, here.
14. Repeat Steps #1-13 for the canvas and faux leather version, and then place one side inside the other, wrong sides facing.
15. Fold down about a 1/2 in seam allowance on both bags, and pin them into place.
16. Now that your bags are created, it’s time for the handles. Take 1 denim and 1 faux leather, and place them together right sides facing — pin them together.
17. Sew about an 1/8 in seam allowance on both sides of each handle.
18. It’s going to take some wiggling, but stick a safety pin in the denim and use it as a guide to aid you in turning the handle to the correct side. Repeat for second handle.
19. You want to place the handles between the 2 layers; so peel open the panels, stick the handles in, and pin them in place.
20. With an 1/8 in seam allowance, make 2 stitches around the top perimeter — and you’re all done!
Brandhyze Stanley is the chief voice of the award winning blog, Frugal-nomics.com; a platform designed to share with women how to live and look fabulous on a dime. A DIY girl at heart—Brandhyze has been featured on The View, The Early Show, The Today Show, InStyle Magazine, Essence Magazine, and MTVStyle. A Wilhelmina Model for the past a decade, with a Business Degree from Loyola University Chicago, Brandhyze provides DIY content to the popular How-To Site, eHow; and was a Fashion & Style Writer and Video Contributor for Newsday Westchester. Brandhyze is a huge thrifter and a lover of all good deals, follow her on Twitter @MyFrugalnomics and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Frugalnomics.