Picture of Dual-mode bag: tote/drawstring
This is a bag that can be worn as drawstring backpack or tote bag. The idea is to have a backpack for comfort when I have just few light things in it and a good grocery bag not hurting my shoulders but instead be carried in my hand by large handles when it gets heavy. And it can be taken with me easily while empty - just in case I'll need it - so I intended it relatively compact sized. Though the last part didn't succeed best. I guess it can be done better by choosing thinner material.

Step 1: Materials and measures

1. Fabric. It should be strong enough to carry things you intend to put in the bag, but as light and thin as possible so you could stuff it in pocket. Size - depends on your preferred size of the bag, in my case I used a piece about 100cm x 60cm from some leftover piece, but take a look at the drawing and figure out your best placement. If you're going to buy fabric that's 150cm wide then you need just the width of the bag plus about 6cm.

2. Cord of some kind for shoulderstraps. 3 meters or more depending on your size and bag size (little bag - longer shoulderstraps). I had two 150cm shoelaces, so exactly 3 m and I consider myself little. It must go four times from the top of the backpack over your shoulder and to the bottom corner of backpack.

3. Optional: Large buttons,  4 of them. You'll see in step nr 9 what for exactly.

4. Thread.

5. Sewing machine, scissors, measuring tape, pins, needle, large safety pin.

Think of how big you want your bag to be.
Add 2 cm (or whatever you need for sewing an edge and multiply it with 2) to LEFT, RIGHT and BOTTOM of the main parts.
Now look at your fabric and and cord and think (or test) how wide should be the tube that would allow fabric to gather enough into creases on the cord. What would look and work normal for closing and wearing the bag. Found? Then add TWO TIMES THE WIDTH OF TUBE PLUS SEWING EDGE to the TOP of main part.

Note: if your sewing machine does not have ability of zig-zag or overlock you should try to use the fabric's non-furcating edge for the top edges of both main parts.

Choose your width and length for the handles. Double the width and add sewing edge to both sides. For length I can only tell that I made it 30 cm and it feels just a little bit short. Consider that attachment to the bag takes up at least 1 cm on each end or more if you want it to be more decorative. If you can zig-zag or overlock you don't need to add extra sewing edge to the length, but if your'e a perfectionist you might want to.

Actually you don't have to measure and calculate in numbers but you can just imagine and consider all the extra edges just before cutting. But check tvice before you cut.

Now try to measure the way of imagined shoulderstrap taking in consideration also the height of your bag-to-be. Or if you have lots of cord laying around you can work it out later when the bag comes to existence for exact testing.
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watchmeflyy2 months ago

This is really cute and clever!

lemonie3 years ago
I'd remove the black & white image from the introduction, as the photos look much better.

Libahunt (author)  lemonie3 years ago
I thought the photos are with too much disturbing background. But yes my drawing skills are really rusty, so I'll take the advice. Thanks.
ChrysN3 years ago
Nice, looks really handy!