Upcycled Vintage Tablecloth Tote Bag

Friday, July 31, 2020

Happy Friday! I'm excited to share this tote bag with you today, it has been on my do to list for a long time.

A little over four years ago, we were grilling outside our apartment in Madison and my very favorite vintage tablecloth caught fire. We had it over a picnic table and set a citronella candle up on it. We didn't have the edges secured and the wind blew one of the corners right into the candle. It was scary and I was really sad about my tablecloth getting ruined. Thankfully, I was able to find the exact one on Etsy that night, so it worked out okay. I cut out the badly burned parts of the fabric and tucked away what was left to be turned into something one day.

Fast forward to this week, when I finally cut into the fabric! I decided on a simple tote bag. I really wanted the fabric to shine and that seemed like the most useful project for it. I've been using plain cloth tote bags like this one for groceries because I can wash the bag when I get home. This is the plain option included in my workshop tote pattern, which you can find in my shop here: Workshop Tote Bag Pattern

I knew I wanted to keep it easy and simple, so I decided to use webbing for the handles. The natural webbing color would have been fine, but then I got the idea to dye the handles to match. I love doing this to add a little something extra to a project. I happened to have the perfect color on hand, Dharma Fiber Reactive Dye in Marigold. It was a quick dye since it was such a small amount. If you're interested in dyeing your own bag handles, I have a tutorial (which uses RIT dyes) here: Dyeing Webbing for Custom Bag Handles.

I also stock the 1" cotton webbing I used in my shop, here: Cotton Webbing.

I love the way the handles bring out the gold accents in the fabric. I got really lucky on the color match!

I lined it with some really lovely woven fabric that a friend gave me, I'm not sure exactly what it is. The weight and texture is pretty similar to the tablecloth fabric though!

This was a really satisfying project for me. I had held onto these pieces for so long and now they finally get to see the light of day as a beautiful, useful tote bag! I still have some smaller pieces of the fabric left so I could make a few zipper pouches or maybe some cloth napkins with those. We'll see.

Happy Sewing!


  1. I love that you picked that gold color for the straps. It was the perfect choice!

  2. oh jeni, that is so pretty. you have done a lovely job once again. thanks for sharing.

  3. Really nice tote bag and the handles are a perfect accent and match! So glad you could save and recycle your table cloth.

  4. I just love this Jeni! Is beautiful! I am amazed you found the same tablecloth on Etsy! Just wow!

  5. Super cute tote bag! What a great recycle project.

  6. Oh my gosh, Jeni your bag is SEW CUTE! I love how you were able to match the handles with the bag...it really is very classy!

  7. Absolutely beautiful. Would be a gorgeous fabric in its own right but made even better knowing it is upcycled.


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