DIY Sweet Vintage Scrappy Patchwork Tote

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01-DSC_0029 (2)Making upcycled bags and totes is one of my absolute favorite things to do! I usually make bags with upcycled shabby tablecloths. Over the past year I have played around with patchwork projects from vintage scrap fabrics. I thought it would be fun to make a fun patchwork tote for summer! I have bunches of vintage fabric scraps from vintage feed sacks, old linens and sheets, and even old smocks and aprons. This project does take quite a bit of time due to making the patchwork, but it is totally worth it for the end result! And it is fun, fun, fun!

Here’s What You Need:

*Vintage scrap fabrics

*Self Healing Mat and Rotary Cutter

*Quilting Ruler

*Sewing Machine

*Coordinating Thread

*1/2 yard of lining fabric


*Grommets and Grommet Setter

*Leather or Pleather for strap

*Swivel Clasp





Here’s The Pattern:(sorry it’s not so pretty)

To save the pattern, open each image by clicking on it or opening it up in a new tab, then right click on the image and click “save as” to save it to your computer.

The pattern should be printed on regular 8.5×11 size paper and printed in a landscape format.






15-DSC_0002 (2)The first thing you need to do is make your patchwork fabric pieces for the front and back outside of your tote. Start by cutting 2″ fabric squares with your rotary cutter, ruler, and self healing mat. You will need approximately 85 squares.

12-DSC_0005 (2)Now you need to sew your squares into horizontal oriented strips. Lay the right sides together and stitch down the side of two squares. Then stitch a third square to the second and so on. You will need two strip of eight squares, six strips of seven squares, and four strips of six squares.

14-DSC_0003 (2)Once you have stitched your strips, iron open the seam allowances.

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27-photo 2Now you need to stitch your strips together. The bottom strip will be a seven square strip. Stager the eight square strip to the bottom strip and stitch lengthwise. Then stagger a seven square strip to the other side of the eight square strip and stitch. Then stitch another seven square strip and then the two six square strips, staggering each of them a little from the previous strip. This will be one side of your main fabric. Repeat for the back side. Once you have your two patchwork pieces sewn, you need to iron open the seam allowances.

23-photo 3Next, you need to cut out your pattern pieces. Cut two pieces of lining fabric, and cut two pieces from your patchwork fabric panels you made.

19-photo 4Lay the patchwork pieces right sides together and stitch around the sides and bottom, leaving the top open. Do the same with the lining fabric.

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8-photo 1 (2)Clip your curves on the lining and the main pieces.

22-photo 4 (2)Now, turn your patchwork main piece right side out and slip it into the lining fabric so that the right sides of the main and lining fabric are touching. Stitch along the top opening leaving a few inches open for turning.

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7-photo 1 (3)Turn the main and lining fabric right side out through the opening. Push the lining back into the main bag pieces. Iron the opening of the bag.

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21-photo 4 (3)Stitch along the top of the bag with a 1/8 inch top stitch all the way around, stitching closed the opening.

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28-photo 2 (6)Next you need to add your grommets. Lay the grommet onto the side seam of your bag about a half inch from the top. Mark the hole in the grommet onto the bag. Cut the hole out for the grommet. Place your grommet front and back onto the hole. Then hammer and set the grommet with the setting tools. Repeat with the other side.

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24-photo 3 (4)Now you need to make your strap. Cut a piece of leather to be the length you want by about 1.5″. Slide your swivel clasp onto the end. Overlap the end by at least a half an inch. Mark where you want your rivets. I used two small rivets. You could use any different size you like. Punch holes in the leather with your awl where you marked. Insert and assemble your rivets and hammer them closed. To finish off your bag clip your strap to your bag where your grommets are.

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05-DSC_0017 (2)I have to say, this bag took me several hours to make from start to finish, but I am so in love with it! I think the thing I love so much about patchwork is that you can incorporate all kinds of your favorite scrap fabrics! I am a total fabric nerd, and just adore the beautiful and fun prints in vintage fabrics! They are the best! This bag just makes me happy! Of course you can use any kinds of fabric scraps you have on hand. Or upcycle some of your old shirts instead of sending them to Goodwill. I hope you all have been inspired to make your own summer tote! You’ll love it too! I’ll be back next week with another summer DIY. Until then…

Happy Crafting!

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39 Responses

  1. deb heisel

    absolutely adorable! just a few questions: where can i find the rivets and swivel clasp? (i don’t sew much) and how wide is the leather strap? thanks so much. just love following your blog. deb

    • Hi Deb! I bought my rivets from Michaels, and my swivel clasps at JoAnn’s. You can find a bigger variety on Etsy. Search in the supplies section. I made my strap at about 1.5″ wide. So so happy you enjoy the blog! Hope you have a blast in your tote making adventures :)

  2. Laura Strack

    Gorgeous tote, Ashlee!! I love it so much. Thank you for the tutorial.

  3. Love, love your scrappy, vintage tote! Thanks for the tutorial too. Keep up the good work…..

  4. tammyCA

    I’ve never used a grommet or rivet before but your cute purse just might make me go buy them. This also gives me the idea to re-use old but still good purse straps from worn out purses.

    • Yes! Hope you have a blast! They are so easy when you have the setting tools, and you can buy them in sets. And old purse straps would be fabulous to upcycle into a new strap!

  5. Tiffany

    This is ADORABLE! I need a yellow one to go with my new camper!

  6. Love love this vintage bag! I’ve never done any patchwork project before and I’m so doing this, too adorable!! Love your fabrics too!

  7. […] Ashlee from My So Called Vintage Life pieced together scraps of vintage fabrics to make this lovely tote bag.  The pieces she used are just 2″ squares, so you can use your smaller fabric scraps for this project.  You can use scraps of vintage yardage, but you can also cut up damaged vintage linens or clothing.  Get the tute at My So Called Vintage Life. […]

  8. I too am jealous of this bag. I’ve often wanted to make one but couldn;t think of a modern and stylish way to do it! Well done! Im going to have a go at this! Thanks!

    • Oh good! I’m so glad you are going to make one of your own :) You will love it! It is a lot of work, but totally worth the effort. Send me a pic, I’d love to see it!

  9. Tammy in VA

    Hi, just came across your bag pattern and it is precious. I have lots of blocks already cut and will make one this week. I am going to buy the rivets and tool for that. Excellent idea and the lady that had the idea to upcycle older purse straps is genius. Would have never thought to do that. Giving me lots of ideas. Thank you so much for this pattern!

  10. This is a very good tutorial. Kudos to you. Nice and clear!

  11. This is a wonerful tote. It would be nice if you could have the pattern separate so we don’t have to print 29 pages. Is there a better way? Maybe I just don’t know the short cut lol!

    • Hi Beverly! Sorry you had to print everything, that was a LOT of paper! I realized I did not have printing instructions with the pattern. Sometimes when I have a long post, things get forgotten even after I proofread. What you need to do is open each image of the pattern by clicking on it, or by right clicking on it and opening it up in a new tab. Once you have it open, you need to right click on it and click the “save as” then save it to your computer where you want it. Once it is saved you can open it up and print it. The pattern is set up to print in landscape mode. To print in landscape there is usually a button you can click somewhere in the printing window, or you can change it in the printing preferences. Hope this helps :) Let me know if you have any more questions

  12. Dixie Torrech

    Do the pattern pieces need to be enlarged? If I piece together what printed out, it’s too small. Thanks

    • Hi Dixie! I realized that my pattern didn’t have printing instructions so I am adding some. Basically you need to right click and save the jpeg photos to your computer. When you print them, they need to be printed in landscape or horizontal mode, not in portrait. They are sized to print to the 8.5×11 size paper. Hope this helps :)

  13. Lovely bag. I’m thinking it would hold up better with a fusible interfacing. A woven fusible on the outside patchwork fabric and the lining too. Then it would better support grommets and an inside pocket 😉 Thanks for sharing this bag tut.

  14. Love it, Love it, Love it. My gears are going crazy! I can’t wait to make one. When my foot recovery is over, this will make perfect Christmas gifts. Thank you for the tutorial.

  15. I love this bag! Very cute and wonderful detailed instructions. Thank you.

  16. […] this is a fun bag – make it as deep or as shallow as you like. Scrap Linen Patchwork Bag by mysocalledcraftylife Use up your scrap fabrics to create this fun and stylish tote. The instructions are easy to follow […]

  17. […] this is a fun bag – make it as deep or as shallow as you like. Scrap Linen Patchwork Bag by mysocalledcraftylife Use up your scrap fabrics to create this fun and stylish tote. The instructions are easy to follow […]

  18. […] this is a fun bag – make it as deep or as shallow as you like. Scrap Linen Patchwork Bag by mysocalledcraftylife Use up your scrap fabrics to create this fun and stylish tote. The instructions are easy to follow […]

  19. Awesome! love this bag. I am going to sew one for my own..Thank you Ashlee. You’re superb!

  20. penelopeppitstop

    LOVE this tote! Thanks for sharing!
    But ….. I SPY an adorable zip wallet looking item in the pics. Is that another pattern of yours?