*notcot in home+decor , 14:38

Tote Bags as Throw Pillows- 05.26.09

throwpillow.jpg The reusable bag trend is a bit out of control. They are pretty much the new t-shirt as far as things to put your graphics on. In concept, i love it ~ less plastic bags, less waste, but then a new problem has cropped up, i think i have an unhealthy amount of reusable bags and tote bags that i love too much to part with, but there is no way i can use that many at one time, even with piles in every house, car, bag, etc… What i HAVE needed lately are throw pillows though (i’m working on figuring out what to do with my empty room, so far stuck an ikea couch/bed and a big desk to play with in there)! And whether you want to call it a new way to reuse cotton tote bags, or recession chic, or multipurpose bag/pillow covers… once the random idea popped up i had to try it!

Tote Bags as Throw Pillows! I grabbed a few of my throw pillow inserts that were floating around and some of my favorite tote bags (it’s especially good for those bags you love that are a bit thin material-wise as good functional totes). They don’t look half bad, give me an excuse to SEE some of the graphics i love but tend to end up in a closet, and they are actually really comfy!

Now the part i haven’t tackled/resolved yet ~ do i alter the totes? Remove the handles? Or cut the handles and tie them to close the cushion covers? Or add zippers? Or just make custom perfectly sized cushions for them in a light fabric i dont mind having show? That way they can always be swapped back to being used as totes again? Truly multipurpose? Or do a slight stich across the tops to sew them in that can be easily removed when needed?

Take a peek at more pics on the next page… and i also got curious whether all those reusable shopping bags works nearly as well… so you can see a pic of that too…

See? Handles still there!



Ok so more out of curiosity since i was showing you anyways, and already experimenting… (l-r) Flip and tumble, gold RuMe,1st gen Baggu, Tom Dixon/Dwell bag from ICFF, newer Baggu (slightly different shapes!), Flip and Tumble (the one that goes into a ball), and silver RuMe
… really, they aren’t nearly as functional/comfy as pillows…

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18 Notes

What can I say that someone hasn’t already said? Verrrrrrrrry cool!

----- Diane 09.08.10 16:00

loved the bag photo!

----- lauren 07.06.09 10:40

Perfect I have been looking for an excuse to buy this risque tote bag!

I have more tote bags than I know what to do with so they may very well become pillows.

----- Jennifer Perkins 04.06.09 08:44

This is cute and brilliant! But my reusable totes get used and they’re actually kind of ugly. :p

But yours are cute! I’d shorten the handles and make them into button / velcro tabs, or I’d find some origami / furoshiki way of making them a decorative closure!

----- Jessica 29.05.09 16:23

I love, love, love this idea! And since I have about a zillion tote bags I’m not going to use (aside from the ones I use for shopping, of course) I’m really going to put this one into practice in the near future. I had planned to give some of them away as gifts, but this is a much better idea for reuse. We have some beat-up old pillows that need new covers, so I’m really going to try this! And I think I’ll leave the handles on. I just like the idea of paying homage to the original purpose of the bag :)

----- Jennae @ Green Your Decor 28.05.09 21:16

love it….love it….love it :)

----- Brandy 27.05.09 16:47

I was going to say velcro, but zenilorac beat me to it. That would be ideal since you could tuck the handles in but then close the bag later when using as a tote too. Anyway, love the idea. Love the blog!

----- Nick 27.05.09 08:12

You should place the handle inside the tote and they shove the pillow in that way you really don’t need to do any alts to the tote

----- gene Portnoy 27.05.09 05:57

I’d say keep the handles & stitch the openings up (or add zips - if you want to later use them as bags this will just make them even more secure for walking around!).

That way you can reuse them as bags if necessary but, if they stay as throw pillows they also have handy hangers so should you ever need to put them away somewhere (if friends are coming to stay and you know they’ll end up on the floor), they’ll hang up in a closet/cupboard easily!

----- Kirst 27.05.09 05:39

I say cut the handles right in the middle to make two ties on the top, but then you can untie them and re-tie as handles again! Having a knot right at your shoulder may not be super comfortable, but it might be workable?

Anyway, great idea!

----- Michelle 27.05.09 00:19

Its a great idea, the sad part is that reusable bags are now so dispensable…everyone has one or 10 and they only use maybe 2 everytime they go out, if they remember to bring it in the first place. I have easily 20 reusable bags, mostly because I forgetand then buy a new one when im at the store…from ikea, to target, to whole foods, to trader joes…its such a problem….I could use make a couple pillows out of the trader joe and whole foods bags…I usually use my reusable costco or target bags when I go out…..

----- hrhkat 26.05.09 21:59

keep the handles! should make storage and transport (kids going on a sleepover?) much easier.

now what are you going to do with all your throw pillows or pillowcases?? you can’t downcycle into nothingness….

----- sarah 26.05.09 20:52

Yes, yes and double yes. Wait that was three. Oh well. Me likey.

----- Anthony Tammaro 26.05.09 16:29

I say leave the handles for future pillow fights!

----- Samuel Schimek 26.05.09 16:25

LOVE the look (and love your blog!) One idea: cut off the handle completely on one face of the bag/pillow. Sew velcro squares to the spots where the handles attached. On the other face, cut apart the handle and shorten it to two straps about 3” long. Sew the matching velcro pieces to the ends of those stubby little flaps. Turn under and hide the raw edges under the velcro if it looks likely to fray. They’ll look like straps holding the bag…. errr I mean pillow!…. closed.

I kinda think that would nod to the pillow’s origins (awww!) as a tote bag.

Of course, I have cats and a sewing machine, so I would just set in full zippers if I wanted to keep the pillows clean.

----- Ari 26.05.09 15:19

ooh, i aprove! square/canvas ones seem to work best. tuck the handles in, lightly sew them up or add velcro/magnetic clasp/button and tab/fastener type thing in the centre of top hem would still be usable bag. (keep the nylon/baggu etc folding ones for shopping -they hold more)

----- zenilorac 26.05.09 15:06

Throw Pillows always make me think of along came polly

“…throw pillows suck. They serve no purpose. They’re purely decorative”


these look pretty good though, what did u stuff them with?

----- trolomatic 26.05.09 14:53

SNIP and ZIP I say! What a great idea, really works with Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

----- Andrea 26.05.09 14:36

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