Don’t know what to do with those cloth place mats that use to match everything in your kitchen, and have now just been laying around in a closet somewhere? Recycle them into a bag to use for books, small items from store, or even one of the ideas I saw on a friend’s Facebook post. Put some plastic inside and plant some plants or some greenery and hang as a greeting by the front door. There are many ideas and I’m sure you could come with some great ones as well.
Here’s how I made my bag out of my place mats I no longer use.
First I folded the top flap down, and will sew a big button on later once I find one that I just simply love and think it will look great there. For now it’s okay without the button.
Next I had to decide what I wanted to use to separate the two layers instead of just sewing them together so that I’d have room for a couple of books or some things. I went to the fabric shop and found 1 ½” wide oyster color belting or some might call it strapping because I wanted to use it to put the sides together as well as run all around to incorporate the handle as well.
After measuring how much I needed around the sides and bottom and for the handle, I could start figuring out how to sew it together.
Sewing the first side was easy. I started at the middle of the bottom of the first side and sewed up to the top (through both layers at the top where the flap was folded down). Then I measured how much to leave for the strap (shoulder or hand..I chose shoulder length). I measured where the bottom of the strap would be so that I could start sewing from that point down the other side of the first piece to meet at the bottom. Once I had sewed to the bottom, I cut off the excess strap. I then had to sew the strap together at that point. I overlapped the strap on the bottom and sewed it together.
Now the challenge came as to how to sew the other piece of place mat to this piece. It did become interesting, but I made it.
I had to sew the wrong sides together because I wanted the edge of the place mat to still be the edge of the bag on the outside. It was fine until I came to the bottom and the bag was by then bunching up because most of the material was on the inside of the foot plate of the sewing machine instead of outside on the left, but I did it.
Now it’s ready to sew a big button on the from flap or whatever decoration you might like.
If you don’t need a book bag, get creative…hang it in a girl’s room as a wall decoration with flowers, a couple of dolls for decoration or whatever.
Go crazy and just have fun using it in imaginative ways. If you don’t want to apply a strap, you could just apply a snap or velcro and use it as a makeup bag or for a travel bag to tuck inside a suitcase for protection.