Introduction: Upcycled Banner Tote Bag

Picture of Upcycled Banner Tote Bag

A simple and quick sewing project using discarded banners to make attractive tote bags – can be used for all reasons and seasons! It is also a perfect piece to replace plastic bags for your everyday shopping :)

This bag is made by using discarded banners from big events which was used for adverts and information. In Biji biji, we collect these unwanted banners from the event companies and bring them to our office to make things such as tote bags, pouches or pencil cases.

The aim of this project is to raise awareness about environment pollution and to give an idea on new and creative ways to reduce and reuse materials. To find out more of our sustainable fashion products, feel free to check out our page.

Kit includes:

  • Measuring tape
  • Marking chalk / ink marker
  • Scissors
  • Cutter
  • Nylon thread
  • Ruler
  • Discarded banner
  • Bag strap
  • Sewing machine

Step 1: Making Pattern for the Base

Picture of  Making Pattern for the Base

• Make a rectangle with width of 40cm and length of 87cm.

• From top right corner, go down and mark 1cm , 4cm, 39cm and 49.5cm below the corner

• Square out from each marking and mark on the left side.

• From each top corner go in 1cm and mark. Square down to reach the other side.

Step 2: Making Pattern for the Side Panels

Picture of  Making Pattern for the Side Panels

• Make a rectangle with width of 12cm and length of 40cm.

• Go down from the top corner 1cm and mark. Go down 4cm and mark but only for the top part. From the bottom corner go up only 1cm. Square out the markings to the other sides.

Step 3: Cutting the Base Panel

Picture of Cutting the Base Panel

• Cut 1 piece of the base panel.

• Lay the banner flat on the the table. Trace the base pattern and cut.

Step 4: Cutting the Side Panels

Picture of   Cutting the Side Panels

• Cut 2 pieces of the side panels.

• Fold the banner into half and trace the side panels and cut.

• Make sure you have all the marked points (notches) traced down correctly so you won’t have much confusion while sewing.

Step 5: Marking the Notches

Picture of  Marking the Notches

• After you cut everything, make small notches on the marks points that you have traced (do not cut in more than 0.5cm). You can trace back the lines from the block so that it can help you to sew easier.

Step 6: Cutting the Straps

Picture of   Cutting the Straps

• For the Straps, cut down 2 pieces of PP tape or any kind of strap ribbon for the bag with length of 71cm

Step 7: Checking the Pieces

Picture of Checking the Pieces

• You are done with cutting!

Now you must have:

  • 1 big piece which is the base
  • 2 small side panels
  • 2 straps

Step 8: Folding the Edges

Picture of Folding the Edges

• First we need to do the finishing for the edge of the bag. Take one side and fold the first notch down of 1cm.

• And then fold down the 4cm notch and make it flat.

• Do it on both sides of the base and the side panels.

Step 9: Sewing the Edges

Picture of  Sewing the Edges

• Sew 0.5cm away from the edge. Do it for the other end of the base too. And then, sew the same for the side panels as well.

• You must have all the edges fully finished by this step

Step 10: Sewing the Side Panels

Picture of  Sewing the Side Panels
  • Put the side panel on one side of the base and match the edges and sew along the 1cm until you reach the 3rd notch on the side.

Step 11: Sewing the Bottom of the Bag

Picture of Sewing the Bottom of the Bag
  • Stop sewing and put the needle in and just turn the panel so that the bottom part of side panel will match with the side bag and sew 1cm from the 3rd notch to 4th notch.
  • Turn the panel again and sew the other side until the end of the edges. It must look like the last picture. Do it for both sides of the bag.

Step 12: Shaping the Bag

Picture of Shaping the Bag
  • Turn the bag inside out and the bag should be able to stand on a surface.
  • Press the side seams of the bag together.
  • Stitch on top of the pressed seam as close as possible or maximum of 0.5cm away. (Refer to the picture above)
  • Now put the base of the bag facing you. Press the seam and then top stitch the bottom edge of the bag the same way as the previous step.

Step 13: Attaching the Straps

Picture of Attaching the Straps
  • put the strap 5cm from the side and 4cm from the opening in to stitch but fold the edge of the strap for about 0.5 to 1 cm before attaching it to the bag.
  • secure the strap with pins and stitch it to the bag. make an X stitching on the strap so that it can stay stronger in place
  • You are done! now you can enjoy carrying a trendy tote bag and also helping the environment.

There you go! Simple and quick to make, and it sure looks good too.

Do check out our other collections of designer bags made from discarded materials, like seat belts and felt (from carpets).


Check these out too for more ideas on creative upcycled bags & pouches:

DIY Felt Pouches

Sleeve to Pouch

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Bio: A social enterprise whose design core is open sourced and inclusive.
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