Posted on 7 Comments

Tote bag makeover


So I wanted a sturdy but decent-looking tote with pockets that would allow me to carry around all of my Summer junk – camera, various gadgets, and the usual purse stuff.  I had a pile of these Polka Dot Creations tote bags in the basement, and I didn’t like using them because they had an outdated logo.  (I know, I know. Crazy.)  Still, they’re really nice heavy duty totes and it’s stupid of me to let them go to waste like that.

Enter the ticking stripe.

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I covered up the front logo and the back logo with pockets.  The first pocket I made was more of a 3-pocket system – one large pocket with a shorter divided pocket on the outside of it.  I attempted to make the second large pocket for the other side be gusseted, or at least, expandable in some way.  It’s for my camera.


Then I made the outside of the bag, which was essentially a sleeve for the original tote.  The tote would be turned inside-out, so that the pockets were on the inside of the bag, and the ticking would be sewn to the outside.


Like so.


Here are the pockets.


And the self-made polymer button I added on for fun.  It’s not functional – there’s a snap underneath it that does the real work.  Pay no mind to the messy stitching – by the time I got to this section, I was more interested in finishing than in making it perfect…

I’ve been carrying around this bag for a week now, and I do like it, however I’ve got some notes for next time (and why shouldn’t there be a next time, if I’ve got so many of these tote bags in the basement doing nothing?):

  • I should add a backing to the pockets.  When I open and use a pocket, it reveals the logo behind it, and I really don’t want to see that.
  • The pockets feel flimsy compared to the canvas of the bag.  I should either interface them, use heavier fabric, or cut up a second tote bag for the pockets.

Essentially, my biggest complaints are related to the pockets, but since big, functional, and numerous pockets were the whole point of this experiment, I can’t really ignore the fact that they don’t feel right to me.

Still, I like it.  And I particularly like that it’s not obvious where it came from (at least, until you look inside a pocket!).

Posted on 7 Comments

7 thoughts on “Tote bag makeover

  1. I heart your tote makeover!! Too cool. I bet you could sell those easily!!

    1. Well, thank you! As for selling them, though, it really looks better than it functions… the pockets definitely need to be re-worked. If I manage to make it work better, I will definitely consider putting some in my shop 🙂

  2. i love the makeover- super smart. i did one and added sides to make it a bit bigger. making it like a sleeve is perfect.

    1. I like that idea of adding extra to the sides. That, actually, might make a great spot to slide a camera into 🙂

  3. Great advice! I love the finished tote and I love making something no one else will have!

    1. Me, too. I enjoy being unique!

  4. […] Tote bag makeover in progress Image by lisaclarke Pocket sewn over the logo. Blogged here. […]

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