Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dollar Store Bag Re-Inforced and Refashioned...Sort -of

 My dollar store find had three things going for it: 

  1. I loved the design
  2. It was $2 
  3. I needed a tote bag for the summer

It also had quite a few things wrong with it:

  1. The fabric has a gross outdoor fabric feel 
  2. The stitching was not overly secure - in fact, it looked machine basted
  3. The zipper wasn't secured
  4. The handles frayed on one of the bags in the store....
I found these cool tote bags on a rack with a whole bunch of loud ugly tote bags at my local Dollarama. I loved the fabric. But after careful inspection I knew that I would need to do a lot of re-sewing...Still for $2 a piece, how could I walk away. (Look even my basset hound Elvis likes this fabric!)I decided to re-enforce the seams with another row of stitching and take off the fabric handles and restitch them entirely...

Can you see the top-stitching across the top of this bag. This was the stitching used for the entire bag. It looks more like a basting stitch than anything else. Also, the zipper was coming apart from the bag (it was sewn with the same basting stitch).

I removed the lining and zipper from the outer shell fo the bag and re-sewed every seam. It took about ten minutes - largely because it is easy to removed basting stitches.The outer-shell fabric had backing like you see on some tablecloths.

I had a few bags...just in case I needed the extra fabric for reinforcements....
Looking at the extra bag, I decided my tote needed an outside pocket...
Ta-da! My re-enforced dollar store summer bag with an extra outside pocket sewn on. What should I have added? Well, some sort of fold over latch with a snap or a buttonhole. The fabric is so cheap - definitely an outdoor fabric made of cheap polyester - that I found it difficult to work with. It frayed and frayed when I was re-sewing the seams. I had to finish every seam with a zig-zag stitch too. I guess they don't do that in Dollarama land where these are made....


  1. What a great re-make. It's a shame that quality has suffered in the face of mass production. Still, you were able to save it and get a good bag. Well done.

  2. Thanks. I am thrilled that it turned out so well. I've had a few duds lately, so I needed something that turned out well. I will definitely use this bag, I love the print if not the fabric.

  3. That is fascinating. I have a tote made form the same print but it is laminated and really nice. And that was bought in New Zealand. It must have been circulated widely and printed on different fabrics. I ove what you did, clever!

    1. That you have the same print, albeit in a better fabric, across the globe in New Zealand is fascinating. I love the design and I would snap it up in a second if I saw it in a cotton sateen or even a cotton-poly blend.

  4. What a great idea! I love that fabric, great job!



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