When I attend estate sales, or buy fabric from crafters I often end up with a TON of scraps. Some times I just bag them up and sell them by the bag full, other times I'll sit and twist them into rope.
This past week I decided to go bigger and really recycle those strips.
I made some really need scrappy totes. Once I got started it was so fast and easy I made a bunch in a day.
To get started I separate my large scraps by colorway then I cut them into 2 1/2 inch strips. I use strips so that if I don't use them up for the bags I can roll them into scrappy rolls to sell separately. Those are fun for blankets and such.
I try to get my strips to be about 36 inches long- sometimes that means sewing a few strips together. That actually is great because it adds character to the finished bag.
Once I got my length down, I select about 7 - 9 strips and lay them out out, This is the fun part cause you get to play with different patterns and colors. Once I've got what I like I sew them together long ways with a 1/4" seam. Easy peezy. This creates my "fabric" that I will then cut my two sides for my tote. Now the quick and easy way is fold that fabric in half to get an 14" deep tote, another way would be to cut them and flip and turn the strips. Whatever fits your fancy. However you choose to do it, you need to have two sides in the end right?... Right.
The next thing to do is cut your square slice out the bottom corners. When you fold your fabric in half, this becomes easier cause you only have to cut once. The bigger the square slice the wider the bag. I tried to stay around 2" x 2". I did one that was 3" and it was nice too, not as deep but a nice wide bag that can hold a ton of FABRIC!...
Sew up your sides, and corners ( I may do a full tutorial) and you are almost done. Grab four more strips to make your handles. I find that 22 -24 " is a good length for a tote. Your liner is some basic muslin - but really anything you have lying around would work. All you need is 1/2 yard of fabric. If you use a coordinating fabric you can make the tote reversible!
I made my totes just fabric to fabric so they can be folded up easily. If you want more structure, add a little interfacing to the inside of your fabric or just to the bottom to reinforce it before you sew it all up.
And that's all!.. Bang out a few to take with you when you hit the farmers market... they make great alternatives to the plastic out there, washable and reusable. Most of all they are fun to make.