Just as I am very fond of making my own lampshades, noteboards or decorations, I also am a firm believer in recycling! Well, you could probably also call me a cheapskate, I guess *haha*. But seriously - why throw out things once you don't need them anymore or if they are (partly) broken? Most often than not you can still make things from them. It only takes a little bit of imagination, but you can often find another use for the material. So today I want to show you something that I came up with a little while ago.
Walking around Dublin in the winter you can't help but notice the number of broken umbrellas lying discarded in the gutters or sticking out from the litter bins. "There must be something you can do with those!", I thought to myself. And when I saw my friend's handy tote bag I had an idea.
Cheapskate Productions proudly presents: the recycled tote bag.
All you need is a broken brolli, scissors and pins and your sewing machine.
First, cut the material off the umbrella ribs and lay it on a flat surface. Usually the smaller collapsible brollis are made from 6 "wedges" of material sewn together. Check if your brolli cover still has the little velcro fastener attached. (This will come into play later.) Then fold the material in half with the velcro fastener being in the centre wedge of your material.
Now cut the outline of your tote bag with your scissors. A simple rectangle will do, size depending on the size of your material. The folded edge should be the bottom of your bag. (There will be a little hole there in the centre from where the material was attached to the "pole" of the brolli. Don't worry, you can sew over that later.) If you model it on my bag, also cut two matching holes for the handles of the bag.
Open up the material again and now first hem the upper edges of your bag. If you followed my example, now you also have to hem the handle holes.
Next fold the material right on right again and use pins to mark the sides of your bag. Using your sewing machine, sew the sides together. (If needed, you can also sew the bottom together now.) Presto! Turn it inside out and your bag is basically finished!
But now the afore-mentioned velcro fastener comes in: It should be sort of at the bottom of your bag. Why need it? Your bag can be folded into a handy little package and then held together with the velcro fastener. It will fit into your handbag, coat pocket etc. See here:
I have made several of these handy bags already. There is no shortage of material - thank God for the Irish weather...
The whole project takes about 3 hours to make and costs nothing, zero, zilch!