How to Thrift Flip Pillowcases Into a Cute DIY Tote Bag

Romela Occaso
by Romela Occaso
7 Materials
2 Hours

Here’s a neat idea for thrift flipping two patterned pillowcases into a large reversible DIY tote bag.

You can pick the pillowcases up for almost nothing in thrift shops. For this thrift flip, you don’t need any other supplies except your usual sewing gear. So let’s do it!

Tools and materials:

  • 2 patterned pillowcases, 20 inches by 30 inches
  • Paper circle 7.5 inches diameter
  • Fabric marker
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
Cutting out bags

1. Cut out bags

Place the pillowcases on top of each other and line them up.

Measure 20 inches across the pillowcases from the closed short edge, draw a line and cut along it so you have two 20 inch square bag shapes.

Put the smaller pieces aside for later.

Making base

2. Make the base

Turn both bags inside out.

Working on one bag at a time, fold the base of the bag so the end of the bottom seam comes to a point.

Draw a line 4 inches long across the point to make a triangle shape.

Making base

Pin and sew along the line and trim the excess.

Repeat for the other end of the seam. Sew the second bag in the same way.

Joining the bags

3. Join the bags

Turn one of the bags right side out and tuck it inside the second bag, so the right sides are together.

Align the side seams and pin the top edges together.

Fold the bags in half lengthways and mark the center of the top edges.

Shaping top edge

4. Shape the top edge

Fold the paper circle in half. Place the straight edge centrally at the top edge of the bag and trace around it.

Shaping top edge

Fold it in half again and place the right angle at the side and top edge. Draw around the curve. Repeat on the other side.

Shaping top edge

Cut out the curves.

Making handles

5. Make the handles

Cut a strip 6 inches by 28 inches from the excess fabric of each pillowcase.

Fold one strip in half with the wrong sides together and press.

Making handles

Open out the strip and fold each long edge into the center, and press.

Fold the strip in half again and sew the long edges.

Repeat for the other strip.

Attaching handles

6. Attach the handles

Sandwich one end of the handle between the two of the bag shoulders.

Extend the handle half an inch above the shoulder and pin in place.

Attaching handles

Being careful not to twist the handle, pin the other end between the shoulders on the same side of the bag.

Repeat with the second handle.

Attaching handles

Pin and sew the top and side edges of the bag together, leaving an opening in the center of one of the front curves.

Turn the bags right side out through the opening.

Tuck one bag inside the other and push the corners out.

Attaching handles

Top stitch around the top and side edges, turning in the edges of the opening and sewing it closed.

Thrift flipped bag

Thrift flipped bag

This was a fun project for me to do and I hope you enjoyed it too. You can combine different colors and patterns of pillowcases in very creative ways and make lots of inexpensive, lightweight tote bags.

Let me know in the comments if you like my thrift flip ideas.

Next, learn How to Sew an Easy Twist Beanie Hat.

Suggested materials:
  • 2 patterned pillowcases, 20 inches by 30 inches
  • Paper circle 7.5 inches diameter
  • Fabric marker
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Msf27430720 Msf27430720 on Oct 10, 2023

    I'd use this hack for grocery store totes when I visit Specialty Markets. The bring your own canvas bags wear out and get grimy. These totes can be washed. Thanks for sharing!😇