How to make eco shopping bag from an old pillowcase

I made these eco shopping bags for Christmas presents, out of vintage pillow slips.  We wanted to minimise the use of wrapping paper so making reusable bags was our solution.  I think we should get bonus eco points for upcycling vintage pillowcases.  I used the Clover bias binding maker for the first time, and it is fantastic.  I highly recommend it!

How to make

Step 1

Fold the pillowcase in half lengthways.  Draw a handle in the middle, which is at least 25cm long and 7cm wide.  Ensure that the pillowslip opening is on top.

Step 2

Cut out the curves on either side of the handle. You should end up with four handles symmetrical to each other.

Step 3

Finish off the edges of the handles with either bias binding or an overlocker.  I made both versions.

For the bias binding version, I made bias binding from the off-cuts of the pillow slip (thank you Clover bias binding maker) and then pressed a 2cm bias binding tape in half and attached it to the bag with basting stitches.  It was then stitched on to the raw edges of the bag with a sewing machine.

For the overlocker version, simply run a rolled hem stitch all the way around the raw edges.

Step 4

To complete the handle, you need to attach the top of the handles together.  Firstly turn the entire bag inside out.  With the right sides facing, stitch the handles together, 3cm in from the top of the handle.  Fold the end down on the handle and stitch in place.  Stitch over both lines twice to ensure strength.  Repeat on the other handle.

This is so easy and such a wonderful way to use up lovely old pillowcases.  It was a real hit with the family, they ended up stuffing their other gifts into the bag to take home.  It was nice to see the bags in use immediately!

Upcycle vintage pillowcases into unique eco shopping bags! Very easy sewing project you can complete in 20 minutes. Tutorial at



23 Responses to “How to make eco shopping bag from an old pillowcase”

  1. Michelle

    Great tutorial! I love the colours on the flower one.

    • Rin

      Thanks Michelle. There’s some beautiful vintage pillowslips out there, just waiting to be revamped into shopping bags!

  2. Sewing Princess

    what a nice idea! I have so many….thanks for sharing I am pinning it on Pinterest

  3. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.

    Thank you for sharing! This idea is super cute, functional and thrifty too! If you care to join a party, we have a Be Inspired link party every Tuesday!

  4. Lauren

    Love the prints! Nice REuse of a pillowcase. Well done!

  5. Timi

    Thanks for this great idea!!!

  6. Cassandra

    What a fantastic idea! I’m going to make one tomorrow to use as a nappy bag!
    Last week I blogged about the romper I made for my daughter out of a vintage pillow case … I’d love if you could stop by.
    Thanks for sharing :)

  7. Cassandra

    I love this idea! I’m going to make one of these tomorrow to use as a diaper bag :)
    Thanks for sharing!!
    Last week I blogged about a romper that I made for my daughter out of a vintage pillowcase. I’d love for you to stop by and check it out :)

    • Rin

      I just went to visit your page. You did such an amazing job, it’s amazing what you can make out of a pillowcase!

  8. Julie

    wow super idea and so great/easy? to make…I think I’ll understand the directions when getting ready to sew:) sometimes I run into duh moments…thanks

    • Rin

      Haha that’s so true, it’s pretty difficult to fully understand how to make things until you actually start doing it. I promise this project is super easy – if I can do it, anyone can!

  9. Krupa shah

    Hi rin your blog is great, love the shopping bag idea.

  10. Elaine Shortall

    Was just discussing what to do with old pillowcases that we all seem to have so many of. This is a perfect solution. Thank you for the great idea. Can’t wait to get started.

  11. Graine de blé noir

    Super ! Excellente idée. Merci.

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  13. DIY party : ウェディング | image room

    […] How to make eco shopping bag from an old pillowcase […]

  14. Ruthie

    Thank you for the excellent tutorial and awesome photos. I am teaching a small group of high school kids how to sew and there are some boys in the class. This is something useful that they can make that won’t damage their “manliness”. LOL

    • Rin

      So glad you find the tutorial helpful! Haha, my husband also helped me to make the bias binding tape. Pretty sure his masculinity was intact!

  15. Woven Polypropylene Bags Manufacturers

    This one is pretty good; I have just seen another tutorial of making shopping bag from a pillow case, but the final bag in that tutorial has less volume with long steps, and it was looking weird. Your bag has enough volume to shop grocery.

  16. Eco Shopper Bag

    […] Eco Shopping Bag from an Old Pillowcase, Sew In Love […]

  17. Madeline

    With the phasing out of plastic bags this bag will be great, many thanks


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