Sunday, February 14, 2016

DIY: Cushion case becomes Shoulder bag (2)

People who know me, know I am a bit of a hamster. Not that I sport a particularly furry face, or smell like sawdust ( at least, nobody has told me yet..) but I do like to carry things with me. I have done this since I was a little girl: making little "survival kits" that I carried with me. Nowadays, my survival kits have become a little more suburban, consisting in sketchbooks, pencils, books, a water bottle and so on. And since my cheeks won't stretch that far, I always need a bag to take all those things with me.

A week ago I posted this bag that was made from a cushion cover. But actually, that bag was only the first version of a bag that I made. Today, I show you how to transform a cushion cover in fairly easy steps into a nice shoulder bag!

As I wrote in the first tutorial, the basis for this bag is quite special: cushion covers.  The inspiration for this bag also came from something strange:  Juice cartons!

I promise your bag will not look like a juice carton. But the pattern of this bag does; with the little triangles that give it shape. So if you get lost: just grab a juice carton to guide you along :)

You'll need:
- a cushion case made from sturdy fabric with a zipper (Mine was an old cover from Ikea, size 50x50)
- a piece of carton, approx. 25x40 cm. 
- a piece of fabric, approx. 25x40 cm.  
- Duct tape or something alike. 
- something for closing the sides. I used two buttons and scraps of leather, but press-studs might be easier. 
- straps. (I used a rope with some leather and key-rings, but fabric belts are the easiest thing to work with.) 

- optional: an extra cushion cover to use as a liner, fabric for pockets, a key-cord etc. 

-sewing equipment. 

Level: fairly easy.

Making the bag!

The first steps are the same as our previous tutorial. So if the text looks familiar, you know why:) 
Grab a cushion cover that you like, and let's get to it!!

STEP 1. 

Take a cushion cover. The side with the sipper is going to be the top of your bag.
Turn the cover inside out.

In order to create a rectangular bottom for the bag, take on of the bottom corners, and lay the bottom seam and side seam exactly on top of each other.
This should leave you with something as is shown in the picture.


Using a ruler, draw and pin a line. I drew mine 8 cm from the bottom, but you can see for yourself where you like it. Make sure there is a right angle between the side seam and the line. Then sew the line. Actually, you'll want to sew it a couple of times, to make sure the seam can handle some weight.

drawing and pinning...   and sew!


Repeat for the other side. You should end with with something as show in the picture. flip it again, and it will start to look like a bag! ( Yaayy..)

A diaper ...                                           .... a bag!

Now that the bottom part is boxed, we need to give the top part some shape. I did this by making the same folds as I did for the bottom: just like the top of a juice carton. The only difference with the bottom part is that I don't turn it inside out, and I did not sew it, but closed it with a button. 

Place the top seam on the side seam. Measure a triangle for the corner wit the same measurement as the bottom triangles (8 cm for my bag) , and draw+pin the line. 

Then, fold the triangle to the side, like in the picture, and secure the corner. Repeat this for both sides.

your bag should now have A boxed shape.


By securing these corners with buttons or press-studs, it allows you to make the bag bigger when you need it to be. 

I sewed a button the the side seam, at the place where the triangle meets the seam. For the top seam I made some leather things ( no idea how to call them!) to attach to the button.
I used some scrap leather and a hole puncher for this. ( the photo doesn't show it clearly, but there is a slit above the hole, allowing enough space for the button. 

STEP 6. 

And now the straps! You can use a lot of material for this. I used some old rope that once belonged to my fathers boat. I can't really show you how I did it, because it contained in a lot of macgyvering, but it sort of went like this:  I folded the end through some key-rings and wove the ends of the rope back in itself ( this is a technique often used in sailboats). I secured it by wrapping some tape tightly around the ends, and sewing some leather around the tape.  
Then I folded scraps of leather through the key-rings and sewed them. These are used to attach the straps to the bag.

I you are not very experienced with working with these materials, I can really recommend used a fabric belt to make straps. They are really easy to work with, and can be found for very little money in thrift-shops. More on attaching fabric straps here.
not pictured: the leather that I sewed around the tape.
STEP 7. 

The placement of the straps is quite important if you want to maintain the shape of the bag. 

You'll need to place the straps in the corner next to the fold of your triangle. The best way to show you is by pointing them out on the juice box. 

If you would place the straps higher or more to the side, it would will influence the shape and weight as soon as you place any weight in it. 

STEP 8. 

The bag is practically finished, but I decided to give it a form bottom. I made mine out of the cardboard back from a sketching pad, but you can use a lot of things for this. A cardboard box, a panel from an old binder, an old magazine... you name it. 

Measure the bottom panel. Recreate this bottom out of the cardboard, making it a little smaller (0.5 cm). Try it in the bag to see it fits. 

"Must. Sit. On. Cardboard."
STEP 9. 

Of course, you don't want the inside of your bag to transform into pulp as soon as you walk with it in the rain. Therefore, You are going to cover the cardboard panel with tape on all sides to make it waterproof. 

STEP 10.

Since I didn't want to look at a taped square every time I opened my bag, I covered one side of the cardboard in fabric. Simply cut out a square of fabric that is a little bit bigger than the cardboard. fold over the edges and secure them with tape. One side will look bad now, but the other side will look very neat (nobody is going to see the bad side anyway, so who cares!)

Put the panel in the bag. I secured the panel by hand-sewing all corners into place. (lazy people could opt for double-sided tape or fabric glue

Additional: STEP 11

If you want to, you can add several things to the back. 

First of all, an extra lining might be useful is the inside of your bag is not very neat, or if the fabric is not very strong. To do so: take an extra cushion cover of the same measurements. Remove the zipper Repeat the first three steps of the tutorial. When the bottom traingles are finished, leave this cover inside out and place it in your bag. All you have to do is sew it into place around the zipper, and in the bottom corners of your bag. 

you can also make some small pockets out of square pieces of fabric. I also made a key-holder out of an old key cord. 

And we're finished! 

secure the buttons for a normal sized bag..

the sides. 
when folded, it is very small (ideal for packing in your suitcase!)
unbutton it for a big bag!

I hope you enjoyed this one! Let me know if you have any questions! 


  1. That is very cool! I'm going to have to borrow your idea!

  2. Never seen the reverse idea of pillow to bag. Having two dogs who love to "play" with pillows I try to keep only a few around the house. Next time I go to a thrift store I'll give the pillows more then a passing glance. I believe a girl can't have to many bags. 😊

  3. Never seen the reverse idea of pillow to bag. Having two dogs who love to "play" with pillows I try to keep only a few around the house. Next time I go to a thrift store I'll give the pillows more then a passing glance. I believe a girl can't have to many bags. 😊

  4. Wow! Even better than your original bag! =)

  5. Very useful info. Hope to see more posts soon!