A Tote Bag Project

It seems I always have too many tote bags, but not one when I need it.  Why is it that I have a half-dozen of them in the trunk, but half the time I get to the checkout line at the grocery store only to realize I forgot to bring them in?  Or, more often, I bring in two and need four!  The thin, pressed fabric ones you get for free or 99 cents just don’t hold up to canned goods for long.  Most of the ones I paid for have split after a few uses, so when I am lucky enough to get a canvas one, I really want to use it.


I was at a meeting when I received this great tote bag.  It is a nice heavy canvas, with an outside pocket as well as an inside zippered pocket, and most importantly a zip closure.  Most freebie bags like this don’t have that zipper closure.  It is great for carrying things to meetings like scissors, extension cords and little stuff, as well as groceries.  I wanted to be able to use it, but I didn’t feel like advertising the place that gave them out.


I sewed four buttons to the corners of the outside pocket by hand, as I didn’t want to decrease the size of the pocket, but I did want to cover up the logo.  I then measured the distance and found that I needed a six inch square to cover it with button holes in the corners.  The off white and green on the bag coordinated with a lot of fabrics, so I decided to make several covers.

tote1 tote2

Each cover is two sided, and I made three total, so I have six different sides to show.  I made seasonal ones for fall and Christmas, along with two sewing motifs out of scraps I had stashed away.  I can change the cover facing out with the seasons.

tote5  Buttontote

I don’t have to worry about losing one of the covers, as all three are buttoned onto the bag at once, with the outside one reflecting the season, or just light and dark sewing prints for everyday use.

You can do this too, and if your tote bag doesn’t have an outside pocket, you could sew the buttons on by machine which would be a lot easier.  Just don’t forget to take them in when you get to the store.

What do you think of this project?

11 thoughts on “A Tote Bag Project

  1. Carole, what a great project and love that all of the covers are buttoned to the bag. Brilliant and so pretty! Thank you so much for sharing at Best of the Weekend and will be pinning! Hope you are having a wonderful and happy week.

  2. Joy

    I have covered the logo on a bag, but I sewed it on permanently. I like this idea. Off to try it out.. Thanks!

  3. Omg! We always forget the darn totes in the car and when we go use them…yes….most are too thin! I love your creative solution to using a canvas bag!! Sooo glad you rejuvinated this post ….thanks friend!

  4. Joy Goncalves

    I like this idea a lot. I may try to use this idea on the front of a messenger bag. Many bags for the price of one. You got me thinking happy thoughts. Thank you. Joy G.

  5. Celia Von Oesen

    One tote bag for every situation’s use. Love it. I have to check my stash for different applications. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Lesley Gilbert

    What a great idea. And if you have a bag with a logo but no outside pocket, then make a pocket to cover the logo 🙂

  7. Nalini Murthy

    Brilliant idea. I modified on it and added an extra layer between the prints which transformed it into an extra pocket which can be buttoned on to totes without the outer pocket too. I added an extra button in the bottom midpoint for added strength..

  8. Rachel Hunt

    I love this idea for the tote bag. I want to make a tote bag like this from scratch can you recommend a pattern that I could use to make the bag itself?

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