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Patriotic Tote Bag

This red, white and blue tote bag was made out of 5 cotton shirts that I purchased from my local thrift shop for 25 cents each.

Step 1: Supplies

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You will need:
Sewing machine
Plastic canvas
5 cotton shirts
  I like to use mens dress shirts for my projects because they don't have darts.
straight pins
measuring tape
seam ripper for removing buttons

Step 2: Cut up shirts

Cut up shirts
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Cut up the shirts at the seams. Save the buttons for another use. Iron each section.

Step 3: Cut out pieces for bag

Cut out pieces for bag
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Cut out a piece for the bottom of bag 15" x 12". Cut 8 pieces 15" wide x 4" tall.

Step 4: Sewing Bag

Sewing Bag
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Lay the pieces for the bag out. Stitch them together with 1/2" seam allowance. Press seams toward the bottom of bag. Top stitch over each seam. This section should be 15" wide x 37" long. Fold in half and pin sides. Stitch sides of bag with 1/2" seam allowance.  

Step 5: Sew Lining

Sew Lining
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Cut several pieces 15" wide for the lining. Stitch them together until it is 37" long. Press seams to one side and top stitch. Fold lining in half, pin. Stitch sides of lining 1/2" from edge.

Step 6: Square bottom of bag

Square bottom of bag
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Flatten out corners of the bag. open and pin seam open. measure 2" from point and mark with pin. Stitch across, perpendicular from the bottom seam. Repeat with other corner of bag. Do the same with corners of the lining.

Step 7: Plastic Canvas

Plastic Canvas
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Cut a piece of plastic canvas 4" x 9-1/2". Cut 2 pieces of fabric 6" x 12".It doesn't matter what fabric is used on this, it will be placed between the bag and lining. Pin the 2 fabric pieces together, sew along both long ends and one short end. 1/2" seam allowance. Place plastic canvas inside and stitch the opening shut.

Step 8: Reinforce bottom of bag

Reinforce bottom of bag
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Pin section with plastic canvas to the bottom of lining, matching up the stitching lines. Sew these together, making sure the needle doesn't go through the plastic canvas. Stitch the other corner the same way. Clip points off of corners of the lining and the bag 1/2" from stitching. Turn bag right side out.  

Step 9: Handles

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For the handles, cut 2 pieces 6" x 20". Fold each in half lengthwise, press. Open and fold each edge in toward the middle. Press. Fold in half again. Pin. Each handle should now be 1-1/2" wide by 20" long. Stitch along each handle on both sides 1/4" from edges and then down through the center of handle.

Step 10: Pin Lining inside Bag

Place the lining inside of bag, pushing the plastic canvas section to the bottom. Match up side seams. Open up side seams, finger press and fold down 1". Pin.  Place a pin at the center top edge on each side. Measure 3" from the pins on either side and place the handles 1" inside between the bag and the lining. Pin. There should be 6" between each handle.

Step 11: Stitch Top Edge of Bag

Stitch Top Edge of Bag
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Sew around the entire edge of bag, 1/4" from the top. Sew around again 1/4" below first row of stitching. This double row of stitching will reinforce the handles.