Pillow shams are often orphaned from their matching comforters and quilts. I have some I have never used and others that are still hanging around the linen closet, but the matching bed set is long gone. Pillow shams are usually beautiful miniature versions of the bed covers they came with, giving them a potential for a crafty transformation. Use one pillow sham to sew this clever bag with a built in lining. The pillow sham design will determine if it will be a tote or purse.
Things You Need to Make the Bag:
Standard size pillow sham
1/4 yard cotton fabric, color to match the back of sham
2 1/3 yards-1/4 inch thick cording, color to match or cotton clothesline
1 yard-1/2 inch thick cording, color to match for handles
Hand sewing needle and thread
Hand stitch the back opening on the pillow sham closed. If it has a zipper, simply zip it closed. Measure and cut two strips 2 1/2 inches wide by 19 inches long. These will be the drawstring casings for the inside of the bag.
Fold the ends of each strip to the back a 1/2 inch and press. Top stitch close to the folded edge using a matching thread. Fold the long sides of the casing strips to the back a 1/2 inch and press.
Lay the pillow sham with the back side up. Place a casing strip, back side down, 2 1/2 inches from one short end of the pillow sham. Center it an equal distance from each long side of the pillow sham and pin. Repeat with the remaining casing strip on the other short end of the pillow sham. Topstitch the the long sides of the casing, as close to the edges as possible. Do not sew across the short ends.
Fold the pillow sham in half, matching the short ends, with the back side together. The folded edge is the bottom of the bag and the short ends of the pillow sham will be the opening. Tie each end of the 1/2 inch thick cording in an overhand knot. Insert the ends of the handles, 2 inches from the top edge, with the handle on the inside of the bag and the knot ends on the outside. Pin the sides together approximately 2 inches from the edge or in the ditch of the flange border and stitch. Be sure to back stitch at the top and bottom to avoid unraveling seams.
Cut the length of the 1/4 inch thick cording in half for your drawstrings. Tie a loose knot on one end of one drawstring and attach a safety pin through it. On one side of the bag, insert the drawstring through one casing. Thread it all the way to the other end and insert it in the other casing and bring it back to the beginning. Remove the safety pin and undo the loose knot. Bring both ends of the drawstring together and tie an overhand knot. Tie a loose knot in the other drawstring and attach the safety pin. Turn the bag around and insert the drawstring through one casing. Thread it all the way to the other end and insert it in the other casing and bring it back to the beginning. Remove the pin and the knot. Tie the two ends in an overhand knot like the other drawstring. You will now have a knot on each side of the drawstring opening. Pull the knots to draw the purse closed.