Pillowcase handibag - my iron crafter entry

Fireflies and Jellybeans are currently hosting an 'Iron Crafter' Competition.  I've decided to enter into the fun and have a go at crafting with their secret ingredient this month, which is... Sheets or pillowcases!
So here goes!

I decided to use just a pillowcase for my entry, and to make a handibag
(a useful bag that folds into itself and you can carry in your handbag).
Here's my tutorial:

First of all take your pillowcase and lay it flat.  Then cut 45cm up from the bottom of the case - this will form the main part of your bag.

Next, cut down the edges of that little flap that goes over the top of the pillow, and fold it open like this:

Now with the remaining double layer of fabric, cut two, 10cm strips and open them out by cutting down one seam. Now you have your main bag and your bag handles: The piece that is left over, you will use for the pocket at the end.

To make the handles, iron each strip in half lengthways, then open out and fold each edge into your middle line. Iron again.

Then fold it all in half again and you should have a neat 2.5cm strap, four layers thick which will give plenty of strength.

Now sew down both sides of the strap, and repeat with the other strap.

Now you're ready to attach the straps to your bag.  First fold the top edge of the bag over once, place the edge of the strap on top of this,

Then fold both the strap and the bag over again together, and pin. Repeat this for all for ends of the two straps, making sure to put each strap at the same places on both sides of the bag!

Now sew the handles in place securely - all around and with a cross for extra strength!

Then topstitch all the way around the top of the bag to hold in place.

Now to make the handipocket!  With the remaining material from the pillowcase, cut a rectangle 20cm x 25cm.  Double turn and finish off the edges, then fold almost in half, right sides together, like this:

Turn this piece over and place on the inside of your completed bag, centrally between the handles and in line with the top edge of the bag.

Pin and stitch securely around the 2 sides and bottom.  Make sure you leave the top open as this is where you will stuff the bag into!

Now your bag is complete!!  So open up the pocket at the top

and turn the pocket inside-out, stuffing the whole bag inside it as you do so!

Once it's all inside, tuck the pocket flap over the top to hold it all in:

Hey presto, you've made a handibag!

Perfect to slip in your handbag when you go out:

And nice and big to hold all those lovely things you want to buy!!!!

The sheets that match this pillowcase were never really ones we used (very kindly given to us by an aunt!).  Last year I cut up the sheets to make a set of bags (without the handipocket), and also a small backpack to put them all in.  I've been using them for the past year as my grocery shopping bags. 


They always get lots of comments from the ladies at the supermarkets, they're wonderfully strong, and best of all can be thrown straight in the wash - so no need for my meat to go in plastic bags inside my bags! And they're much smaller and less bulky than the reusable bags you buy from the supermarket!

 I have to admit, I like this fabric much better as bags than as sheets and pillowcases on my bed!!

Good luck to all entrants into this round of Iron Crafter! I'm looking forward to checking out everyone's creations!



  1. Great idea! I have some sheets and pillowcases that are just asking to be made into usebags like this! ;)

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  3. These are fantastic! I love the ones you made for me from an old blue sheet set. I use them every week. My youngest son loves to wear the little backpack full of bags around the shop as we go.

  4. What a wonderful idea! Great use of the material!

  5. This is an awesome idea; I am planning to make one of these tonight! I would like to use up a whole sheet and make several so all my grocery bags can match like yours, that's too cool. Thanks for the heads up about iron crafter, too.

  6. Awesome bags, I love the shot of your boot filled with shopping, they look so pretty. I always think supermarket bags look so dull. I have been using resuable bags for about 4 ears now, but they are huge shop bought ones, I think I may have to hunt out an old sheet or two lol

  7. This is WONDERFUL! I wanted to let you know that you made it in the top 10 Iron Crafters!



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