Witchy Bag - Upcycled from Shorts and a Top

With the school carnival in just 2 days time, this is one of my last upcycles for the class stall.

It's a shoulder bag with a zip and a witch appliqué on the front. All made out of a pair of (long) shorts and a top.

Here's how you  can upcycle a pair of shorts yourself to make one of these bags.

What you will need:

You will need a zip - I unpicked and used the one on the pair of shorts which was 20 cm (8") long. You could use one that was longer, but not any shorter.

Also cut 2 scraps of both the outer and inner fabric approx 10 x 5 cm (4 x 2"). this is for the ends of the zip.
2 pieces each of inner and outer fabric, 32 x 6 cm (12.5 x 2.5"). This is for the sides of the zip

Main bag part
Cut from your shorts or main fabric:
2 pieces 32 x 28 cm (12.5 x 11")
 Cut the same 2 sized rectangles from your inner fabric.

The strap
Carefully cut the waistband from your shorts for the strap.

Witch appliqué
Fabric scraps and fusible webbing
Sitting Witch Template - click here to download.

First take one of your outer bag main bag rectangles and your appliqué pieces. Use the fusible webbing to iron on the back of your fabric scraps and trace the parts of the witch template onto each fabric you have chosen. Cut the pieces out and iron into place in the centre of your main bag part.

Use a tight zig-zag stitch or the appliqué setting on your machine to stitch around all parts of the witch.

Now place this main bag part and the other main outer bag rectangle. Place them right sides together matching the edges and pin then stitch around the side and bottom seams.

Box the corners of your bag out to make a flat base for the bag. To do this, put your hand up inside your bag to one of the corners.

Pinch the corner flat so that the side and bottom seam are in line together. Pin across the 'triangle' shape you have made.

Repeat this with the other bottom corner of your bag.

Stitch across the corners where you have pinned. Your line of stitching should be 2.5cm (1") in from the tip of the triangle.

Trim off the end of this triangle close to the stitching. Repeat for the other corner.

Now to add the strap. 

First take your waistband and either unpick each belt loop to remove or stitch the other ends down and trim as I have done here.
I like the belt loops as an extra 'feature' on the strap, and a place to perhaps clip on keys or a small pouch!

Turn your bag right sides out, and pin the ends of your waistband strap to the sides of your bag - matching it up with the side seams.

Make sure your strap goes down about 6 cm (2.5") from the top edge of the bag.

Stitch each strap into place with a square and a cross stitched across the centre of the square at the end of each strap.

Inner Bag
Now take your inner bag pieces and place them right sides together. Pin then stitch them around the side and bottom seams as you did for your outer bag, but this time leave a gap of around 10 cm (4") in your side seam. You will need this to turn your bag right sides out when you finish your bag.

Box the corners of your inner bag out just as you did for your outer bag.

The Zip
Take your zip and the scraps for the ends.
Place one scrap from your inner fabric and one from your outer fabric on either end of the zip. Place these fabrics right sides together on either end of the zip. The outer fabric should be facing the front of the zip. Pin at the ends.

If you gently pull your fabrics back from the zip, this is what is should look like.

Stitch across where you have pinned, then trim the ends of the zip and fabric outside your stitching.

Pull back your fabric to expose the zip and trim in line with the long zip edges.
You now need this zip plus the four side zip pieces.

Place your zip face down on top of one of your outer pieces, then lay an inner piece face down on top of this. Match up the top edges.
Pin then stitch along the top edge, using your zipper foot.

 Now pull back both fabrics from the zip and top stitch along the edge of the zipper teeth,. This will prevent the fabrics from catching in the zip teeth when you open and close the zip.

Now lay this piece face down on top of your other outer piece, and then place the inner piece face down on top of the whole thing. Line up the top edges.

Pin, then stitch across the top edge with your zipper foot.

Then once again pull back the fabrics and top stitch close to the zip teeth.

Trim around all 4 edges to neaten.

Putting the bag together
Take your zipped rectangle and your outer bag which is still inside out.

With the right sides of both outer fabrics facing each other, pin these two pieces together around the edges of the zip rectangle and the top opening of the bag. You may need to pinch the corners of the zip rectangle to fit. Stitch all the way around.

No take your inner bag piece - right side facing out and push this inside your outer bag. The right sides of both inner and outer bag pieces should be facing.

Again, pin, then stitch all the way around the top edge

Turn your bag right sides out through the gap you left in the side seam of your inner bag.

Then pin and stitch this gap closed.

Finally top-stitch around the opening of your bag to hold the inner and outer fabrics together in line.

And there you have - a witchy bag made out of a pair of shorts!

A perfect upcycled bag for Halloween don't you think?

For the free downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

I hope you liked this tutorial. If you did, there are plenty more to browse through - from other bags and upcycles to things to make for kids or the home. I have over 100 free sewing tutorials available for all levels of sewing ability on 


  1. Wow Jill, you made such a cute bag! I love the cute witch on it to.
    Thanks for sharing this at Cooking Crafting with J&J.

  2. This is SO adorable! :)

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  3. OMGEEEE, Jill, the cuteness of that applique witch!!!!! And the tutorial, as always, is stellar. I know this little bag will go to a very happy customer.

  4. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop

  5. This is a great bag Jill, my daughter would love this :)

    Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays


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