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Mood DIY: Reversible Denim and Faux Leather Tote

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!

Reversible Denim and Faux Leather Tote made with Mood Fabrics materials and supplies. Reversible Denim and Faux Leather Tote made with Mood Fabrics materials and supplies. Reversible Denim and Faux Leather Tote made with Mood Fabrics materials and supplies.

SUPPLIES: Denim, canvas, faux leather, glue, straight pins, scissors, rotary cutter, tape measure, snaps straight edge, iron, and a sewing machine.
Reversible Denim and Faux Leather Tote made with Mood Fabrics materials and supplies.HOW-TO:
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.

Reversible Denim and Faux Leather Tote made with Mood Fabrics materials and supplies.

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!

Reversible Denim and Faux Leather Tote made with Mood Fabrics materials and supplies.

Brandhyze Stanley is the chief voice of the award winning blog,; 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

10 Responses to “ Mood DIY: Reversible Denim and Faux Leather Tote ”

  1. Cheryl Taylor

    I had a pattern for a tote bag. I put very nice fabric inside in a black background and I used black canvas for the outside. I machine embroidered some larger patterns such as butterflies , flowers, a swan. It had a flap inside on the bottom. The pattern called for that foam board to put a peice in there. I found it not too sturdy with the foam board so I bought a 1/2 sheet of some kind of board at the lumber store. It was about 1/4″ thick.

    I made these about 3 yrs. ago and they are brand new today. If you take the board out you just throw them in the washing machine and dryer. Use an iron if needed.

    I use it for groceries and you must fit 2 paper bags full inside of there. I had 2 gallons of milk in one tote and then put other groceries inside the bag. It was heavy but it held up fantastic.

    1203 days ago   |   Reply
  2. Isabelle

    Love your design, great tutorial! I especially appreciate that the leather is faux.

    1203 days ago   |   Reply
  3. Arlene

    Love the idea of the bag being reversible and the faux leather bottom is a nice feature. Thanks for sharing.

    1217 days ago   |   Reply
    • Brandhyze Stanley

      You are so very welcome Arlene

      1211 days ago   |   Reply
  4. Lyn Peucker

    Would love to make this bag. Pockets inside would be useful ….may give it a go, thanks for you inspiration

    1217 days ago   |   Reply
    • Brandhyze Stanley

      I did wind up adding an outside zippered pocket Lyn….so functional!

      1211 days ago   |   Reply
  5. Rene Bolton

    Love this! Going to make it this weekend!

    1217 days ago   |   Reply
    • Brandhyze Stanley

      Would love to see your finished project Rene!

      1211 days ago   |   Reply
  6. Joen

    Great job! I love my tote bag too. I may give this a try.

    1221 days ago   |   Reply
    • Brandhyze Stanley

      You get SO much use out of them Joen…let me know if you try it!

      1211 days ago   |   Reply

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