by Lillie “Ivory” Madali, Vice President of External Affairs

Photo: Stephanie Casajuana, Thao Le, Lillie Madali, Peach Praneetyothin, and Maria Iglesia (left to right).

Although I loved my Delta Phi Lambda sweatshirt, it was way too big for me. I run into this problem a lot for being so petite. Over the years, I’ve learned how to lemons into lemonade. Here’s how to create a tote bag out of any large sweater.

Materials Needed:
-Sweatshirt cut into 5 pieces:
– PART A – 11”H x 19”L (2)
– PART B – 5”H x 19”L (1)
– PART C – 11”H x 5”W (2)
– PART D – 15“H x 2.5”W (2)
-Clear ruler
-Corner square (optional)
-Thread (color to match your sweatshirt)
-White marking stick
-Fabric scissors
-Sewing machine
-Handles (try

1. Lay out your sweater on a flat surface. Using a ruler and the white marker, measure and mark the center of the Phi with a cross hatch.

2. For a bag that is 18” in length, we are going to add 1” for a ½” seam allowance on both sides. From the center point, measure 9 ½” on both sides and mark both ends.
3. For a bag that is 10” in height, add 1” for a ½” seam allowance on both sides. From the center point, measure 5 ½” on both sides and mark both ends.
4. Using the corner square, link the points and outline a rectangle. We will call this, part A.

5. Using the clear ruler, measure ½” inside the rectangle and mark a line for sewing the seams. You can do this on both sides.
6. Using the bottom part of part A, we are going to create the bottom of the tote bag. We already have the 19” outlined, so just measure 5” down and connect the lines to create the rectangle. Mark the ½” seam allowance for this piece as well. This will be part B.
7. Cut one sleeve of the sweatshirt off. Measure a rectangle of 11” x 5” for the sides of the tote. This will be part C.
8. Using the other sleeve, measure 2-rectangles of 15”H x 2.5”W. This will be part D.
9. Cut all of the pieces out.

10. Pin one piece of part C to part A with the outer-facing parts facing each other. Pin the fabric together so that they are 1” or 2” apart from each other and perpendicular to the seam. Sew these parts together. Pin the other part of part C to the other piece of part A. Make sure that all seams line up to make the tote bag.

11. Sew all parts C and A together so that they are 4 panels together alternating: A-C-A-C. But, make sure that you do not sew all the edges together.

12. Line up part B, the bottom portion of the tote bag, with one of the four panels. Pin and sew each side.
13. After you have sewn all the sides to the 4 panels, sew the remaining portion of the A-C-A-C panel.
14. Iron the seams flat and turn the tote bag inside-out.

15. The top of the tote bag has an unfinished seam, so iron the top of the tote bag down about ½”. Top stitch the top of the tote bag.

16. Iron the corners of the tote bag and pin the corners in order to keep the fabric together. Top stitch the sides of the tote bag.

17. For handles, you can buy plastic handles and sew part D over it. Leave a 1 ½” at the ends of part D so that you’ll have room to sew the handles down to the bag.

You’re done! Use your tote bag for magazines and all your must have items for the day. Enjoy!