Placemat Tote Bag

Don’t forget to link up your crafts, tips, and fun to the Hi-5 Friday link party right now!


I made these fun placemat tote bags for my kids. Pretty cute, right?

This is my daughter’s bag….

and this is my son’s bag….


Last year I found this Placemat Tote Bag Tutorial and wanted to use it to make my kiddos each a bag to hold a few things in at church. The only problem I had with this tutorial is that I could not find any cute placemats at the store, but what I did have was a lot of denim and scrap fabric. So, I made my own variation of a placemat and went to work. The fun part about making my own “placemats” is that I could pick the size I wanted to make the bag and I could easily personalize each bag. I gave them to my kiddos for Christmas last year and they love them, so much so that they use them constantly 9 months later!


My Variations:

Follow the main instructions of the Placemat Tote Bag Tutorial (linked above) if you have a placemat or after you “create your own” with my variations below and be sure to add your embellishments prior to sewing the placemat together (depending on what you want to add.

Creating a Placemat:

1. I estimated the size of a placemat and cut 2 pieces of fabric the length and width of a placemat.

2. Faced them right sides together and pinned.

3. This is where it gets trick. I added the straps here (you have to lay them on the inside and make sure you pin the middle of the strap near the center of the bag so it doesn’t get stuck when sewing the edges. Make sure the straps are pinned a good 1.5-2 inches in or more and try to keep them even with each other (so each strap is the same when all together). I tested the look of the straps when it was inside out and when I decided where I liked them, pinned them inside.

4. Then I sewed the edges together except for the last few inches, so I could turn it right side out.

5. Once it was right side out I folded in and pinned the remaining unsewn edge. Then I ironed all the edges flat and did a quick stitch as close as I could get to the edge all the way around  the “placemat” securing everything.


Adding Embellishments:

My Son’s Tote

1. With my son’s bag, I made sure to cut a part of denim that still had the back pocket on it. Make sure you leave enough on the side and top of the pocket so you can stitch the sides together without running into the pocket, itself. Make sure when you follow the tutorial that you know where you want the pocket (inside or outside?) and sew accordingly.

2. I cut the decal (the shield and CTR) using the same process I did to attach the pirate decal on to this Pirate T-Shirt Tutorial and added it before I sewed the two sides of denim together (I was afraid my machine wouldn’t be able to handle sewing all 3 layers of denim together, otherwise I would have sewed it on after the “placemat” was made. Make sure you attach the iron on adhesive to the reverse side of the fabric you want to be using. The CTR is made from the inside a pair of jeans, ironed onto the shield and then secured with a good zigzag stitch. Once the shield and CTR were together I add it to the right side of the denim that I was aiming to be the front of the bag and secured the outside of the shield onto the bag. Then I proceeded with the “creating of the placemat” (above).

The left is the outside/front of the bag, the right is the bag turned inside out

3. I used an old fabric belt of mine for the straps of his bag. I did not have any boy looking ribbon. 😀


My Daughter’s Bag

1. I added a strip of ribbon to the front of the bag, secured it with pins and stitched it as close the edges with a quick stitch. I added the ribbon after creating the “placemat” and before sewing the sides together. To be honest, I think I actually sewed the sides together and then unstitched the top few inches to add the ribbon…it was an afterthought! lol

The left is the outside/front of the bag (with a strap to attach a flower), the right is the bag turned inside out.


2. Then I added a skinny strip of ribbon and secured it on the top and bottom with a strong stitch so I could add a flower clip or something cute. I made it detachable because I wanted to be able to wash the bag and not ruin the flower or maybe even change it up every now and then. The clip kept falling off because it would move up and down the clip slip. So, I added another stitch in the middle to keep it tight when it was clipped in. (It’s the pink stitch on the left photo above.)


I am linking to these parties!

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  1. says

    Great idea! They turned out really nice!

    Please feel free to link up your ‘placemat’ tote bags to my Make Yourself Monday Blog Hop! I’d love to have you!! :o)



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