I love the After-Christmas sales for discounted toys and candy for my shoebox gifts. But even more fun is finding unusual things at such inexpensive prices. They challenge me to find some new purpose for them!
At Christmas Tree shop I found a bin of woven placemats at 75% off. Just 25 cents each! My fellow shopper and craft addict, Cynthia, said that with a fold and a simple seam she had made totebags last year. So I grabbed a huge bunch and attempted to devise a system right there in the aisle! The placemats are 12″x 18″ but any size or material (even plastic) would be good.
I turned the mat sideways and folded over 2/3rds to make a nice deep pocket. (I wanted the cute embroidery to show when completed.) Since all the edges are already finished nicely, I pinned wrong sides together (right side out) and sewed a simple seam on each edge from the bottom to the opening. I used a fancy zig zag (decorative stitches might be fun to use and even different colored thread). Then at the top of the pocket opening on each side, I sewed back and forth several times just to give it extra strength. (That seam edge will get the most stress.) That’s all there is to it!
Some I made into clutch bags by cutting 2 lengths of ribbon 8″ long. I folded over the flap and satin stitched one length in the center of the top flap. Then sewed the second piece right below it on the bottom part of the tote (I twisted it a bit so you could see both seams, but they are in alignment.) Tied in a bow they make a nice closure. (I could also see this as a lingerie bag–next year’s Christmas presents!)
Some I made into shoulder bags. I found some soft cording 90% at Michaels sold as Christmas ribbon, and sewed it on the back edge on each side with a firm satin stitch. I didn’t make closures for these because I felt the flap was long enough to keep closed, but you could add one.
Very quick and easy, and very durable. With ribbon or cording, just about 30 cents to make!
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