Sometimes I get a wild hair and once that happens, there is nothing getting my mind off that idea until it is done. Such as this DIY Tote Bag made from a rag rug.
Here’s the deal, I love texture and I love funky colors. Even more so than that, I like to make things that make people pause. Expected is boring. Unexpected is my life’s jam.
Without a doubt, I love, love, LOVE, how this turned out but it wasn’t the easiest project I’ve ever done. In fact, I had planned to share a full tutorial with measurements and all that jazz but… it didn’t go as smooth as I had planned. The 204th time the needle got stuck, I threw all plans to share a full tutorial with you out the window (my sewing machine almost went with it) and then I just focused on getting it done.
Honestly, this project took weeks. The first day I had to walk away for a while. The next time I started working on it, I had to walk away for even longer. Then I couldn’t find the leather handles I wanted and had to wait to order them. Finally, my machine broke when I was trying to add the lining to the bag. It may not be broke-broken. It’s an all-electronic machine and in the past when I pushed it too hard, it just needed a little break and then it sewed again. I’m hoping that this time it just needs a break too.
I wound up sewing the lining in by hand, which reminded me of how poorly I sew by hand. The good news is that the funky edge at the top of the bag hides the stitches.
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So what if you want to try to make a bag like this?
Here’s the first piece of information you need to know – This isn’t technically made from a rag rug, it’s made from a Chindi rug. It’s a little bit different than a traditional rag rug as the fabrics it’s made from are going to vary a lot and the thickness of the fabrics are all over the map.
I grabbed this Chindi rug (and two more for my kid’s room) from a store called At Home. I’ve also found them in the past at Walmart. They are usually around $5 at Walmart. Here’s a gorgeous blue version on Amazon. If you make one with the blue rug, please send me a picture. I think I need to make another one of these bags with that same rug.
I also found the leather handles on Amazon. I wasn’t sure I was going to like them because of how thin they are but I love them so far.
Here’s a few tips and tricks that I might have learned along the way:
- Use a new needle that is made for heavy-duty work. I used a new denim needle because that’s what I already had in my stash. The fabric on this rug is actually rolled. Some rolls are thick and had to sew through, hence why you need the sharpest needle you can find.
- Sew slowly. I’m a zip-zip-done type person. The faster I can sew, the better. But because of the thick fabric rolls on this rug, I had to go slow and inch my way through the thickest parts.
- I love the fact that I added a bright polka dot liner to this bag. It really helps me find things inside the bag and also gives the bag a little bit more strength across the top of the bag.
- Be careful cutting Chindi rugs. The threads that hold them together come apart very easily. Before cutting a rug apart, sew across the rug to help hold it together. I did one stitch across the area I planned to use as the top and down both sides before cutting. Then I sewed it all together using another stitch.
This bag is fun. My husband calls it my bathmat but I just tell him at least I don’t have to worry about someone trying to steal my bathmat. It’s all about perspectives.