To turn an embroidered pillowcase into a material bag

One of the goals of this blog is to show the creative process behind projects and to show how many amazing different ways there are to create beautiful objects. Therefore this post will give some insight into the trials and error of my bag making endeavours from recycled materials. Specifically, I’ll tell you how I made a little material bag made out of an embroidered pillow.

So it went from this:

Embroidered pillow

To this!

The pillow is salvaged from a second-hand store. I love to ‘save’ embroidery projects from places like that to use in bags and other art projects. It is such a nice way to turn something from the past into something new again. Someone spent hours on making this pillowcase, so it shouldn’t just be thrown away. Also, like the ideas of making desirable objects out of discarded materials. When I saw this pillowcase I had the idea of taking the middle diamond shape and turning the corners over like an envelope, thus creating a bag. Initially, I also wanted to use the strips as a strap for the bag, but I really liked it as material case as well. The leftover embroidery will find a new use somewhere.

So how did I create the bag?

I have not much experience yet with working with embroidery works, so I experimented a bit. First I put some fusible interfacing on the back to prevent the stitches from unravelling. That is basically a sticky fabric you iron onto something. This seemed a good idea because the pillowcase was going to be cut up, probably breaking a lot of threads holding everything in place. Fusible interfacing seems to do the trick of securing the embroidery threads, but any tips or suggestions are welcome! Below you see a picture of the state of my desk when I’m crafting for a day. There are multiple projects there, among things this one.

Crafting chaos
My desk on a crafting day

Because I wanted to give this bag a classy look I used some old black coat lining as lining for the bag. After that, I used some embroidery floss to sew the lining and exterior together. I recently discovered the big stitch sewing method and liked to include it in this bag. In big-stitch you use stitches which stand out from the material you sew on, which can add a nice decorative element. Also, it is very refreshing to sew bolder stitches after a lot of tiny precision work. You can see the lining and the stitches in the picture below.  I put some of my leftover embroidery floss in the bag to see if it would fit.

Open embroidered material bag
Open embroidered material bag

To finish the bag I added a popper. The finished bag is about 15 x 15 centimetre (about 6 x 6 inches). Overall I could have finished this bag a whole lot neater, especially because when I started I had visions of a classy opera hand bag. The edges are not finished at all and the bag turned out a bit wonky. But no worries! I’ll get better at sewing soon enough when I keep experimenting. For now, I’ll live with it’s ‘rugged’ look and enjoy the fact that I now have a fitting bag to carry my own embroidery projects in. How fitting that an old work carries a new one.

Looking back, this was a nice experiment in repurposing craft projects. What do you think of it? Have you ever tried something like this yourself? I would love to see the crazy stuff other people come up with.

Closed embroidered material bag
Closed embroidered material bag

Would you like to see more repurpose work?

See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blogpost every Sunday or Monday.

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