DIY Summer Tote Made of Cotton Bandanas

The local discount store has these colorful $1 cotton bandanas and they are super hard for me to resist. I used 4 of them, fusible interfacing, a few sequins, bugle beads, seed beads and some 50 cent thrift shop purse handles to make two fun summer tote bags for my too cutie great nieces in Missouri. (Hey Kadence and Bella Rose!) There are several steps to make a summer tote like these, but it's very simple to do. Here's how I did it:

Choose two cotton bandanas to make a summer tote. In this case, the purple bandana will be the outer portion of my tote bag. Iron the interfacing on the wrong side of the bandana just in the center portion of the cotton bandana (the area within the double borders). Sew along both border lines.  

Trim interfacing close to outer sewn edge taking care not to cut the bandana.

Bring together two opposing corners to the center and press along edges with iron set on medium heat.

Next fold the previously ironed bandana in half and press sides and center well, ensuring crease is visible. (see photo below)

Hand sew beads around each small paisley enclosed within the double lines and using the ironed crease lines as a guide.

Once beads are sewn in place, pin the bandanas with right sides together and sew 1/2" from the edges, leaving approximately 5 inch opening on one side. Trim corners and turn right side out, pushing corners gently out with finger or eraser side of a pencil. Machine stitch opening closed.

Press all edges flat. Bring two opposing sides together in the center. Press. Fold in half again and make a visible crease with the iron at center fold line, taking care not to press any beading.

Unfold so the previously pressed center fold line is visible. Sew a few stitches at each end on the crease line. Backstitch to secure. Sew again just down the center crease in the middle ensuring both corners are sewn down. Backstitch to secure.

Fold bandanas again down the center fold line with right sides together. Pin and stitch 1/2" along each side. Turn summer tote right side out and press edges again. 

Flip over a portion of the inside bandana to the outside, just enough to cover the handle. Sew in a straight line along the handle and backstitch on both ends. Repeat for the other side.

That's it in a nut shell..... I sometimes have a tendency to overdo things and because I couldn't settle on just the right doo dad to sew over the exposed stitching under the tote handle, I decided to leave it be. (I was thinking of yoyos, or buttons, but still couldn't make up my mind.)

This is an inexpensive project and except for the hand beading (done while watching tv), you can whip these up real fast. I have to apologize that the interior is finished, as in "no raw edges exposed", but I could have taken the time to put a pocket inside. Oh well......I'm sure you'll add your own touches. Have fun with this project! Can't wait to see what you do with it. :)
Linking to: Becky's Under $100 Linky Party at Beyond the Picket Fence, Strut Your Stuff Thursday at Somewhat Simple and Funky Junk's Saturday Night Special. Join the parties!

And a big Thank You to Kari at Ucreate and JenGlamGirl at Craftomaniac for featuring my totes today! Thank you also to Lanie of Lanie J. and Co. for linking my bandana totes to her Friday Favorites.


  1. Thanks Auntie Pam!!!! Love Kadence and Bella Rose

  2. You are amazing! I am trying so hard to learn how to sew. I don't know what I can't seem to get it right.

    Thanks for stopping in at Unplanned Cooking!

  3. You're welcome Ginia!

    And Jennifer....seriously, this is basically straight sewing and at $1 a bandana, this is a great project to practice on. And pillows too. :)

  4. What a great idea. I love the bright colors of the bandanas.

  5. Pam, this bandana tote is ADORABLE!!! I'll be sending my readers your way tomorrow!

  6. Such a nice, inexpensive project with great results. Really nice and summery! Love it, Pam!

  7. Tracy and Peg, thanks so much for your comments. These were fun to make.
    And Kari @ Ucreate.....gee, I'm so honored! THANK YOU!

  8. Pam, you always have the funnest projects. They would also make fun goodie bags for a girls birthday party.

  9. So cute!
    I bet your nieces will love them!

  10. Great article. I love your blog.

    I wanted to share this great bead book with everyone

  11. I love your choice of colors! Very festive!

  12. Hi Pam! Following from Blogfrog.

    What a cute tutorial. I peeked at your Zazzle store too. I'm just getting mine started.

    I love your puns. I'm always looking for clever puns. I'd like to illustrate some art to go with some for Zazzle products. If you ever want to collaborate, let me know!

  13. You've awed me again, Pam! I'd never have thought of these but they are too cute!

  14. hello pam!
    Thank you for visiting my blog
    This very very nice bandanas!!
    bye bye

  15. These are just TO ADORABLE love them~ p.s. you have been featured too, at my craft blog Hope that is ok, Jenn

  16. Thanks for all the super nice comments....all over a few old bandanas.... lol Thank you! And Jenn, special thanks to you too. I grabbed your button. :) Pam

  17. I love your totes, what a wonderful and very creative idea!!

  18. those totes are so cute and colorful! way to go!

  19. thanks for stopping by! These totes are great - I'll have to try them. That's cool that you were in the USAF.
    I'll be following!

  20. Cute! I featured this in my Friday Favorites...

  21. Lanie, thank you! I just grabbed your button! :)

  22. These are absolutely adorable. I even have a stack of bandanas in my stash! YAY!

  23. Hi Pam,
    I so love your blog, you do things that I would never think of doing to create and that I've never seen anywhere else.

    These bandana bags are screaming SUMMER! Too cool!! :D

  24. these are so DO-ABLE :D i've bought a ton of bandanas this year (i made some bandana tops on my blog) and i'm making purses now. these would be great for my daughter's collection of unique bandanas,too. i'm linking to you soon!
    thank you for sharing!

  25. Just saw this on Pinterest! LOVE it! You did a great job on the tutorial. I'm new to your blog and love all your ideas!

    If you have time, we would LOVE for you to stop in and link up this post and anything crafty in our Crafty Showcase. It runs from Sat-Thur and then we have a Feature Friday with the top pics!

    We also have a linky for ETSY/Crafty business items!

    Susie @Bowdabra


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