I was cleaning out my closet last week and found an old pair of gray sweatpants that never did fit me right. They had some paint stains on them too, so they weren’t really fit to wear anymore. I couldn’t just toss them, though. Instead, I looked at the fabric to see if I could be inspired to create something new from them. When I turned the pants leg inside out and saw the fuzzy backing, I thought of fur, then bunnies, then the idea sprang into my head. I would make a bunny tote bag! What a perfect creation for the upcoming Easter holiday.
This is one of the simplest sewing projects I’ve done but I think I love the results more than any other. Especially since it cost almost nothing to create, and took less than 10 minutes per bag. Here, let me show you just how easy it is.
To start off, you need a pair of sweatpants. Any bunny-friendly color will do (mine were gray) as long as they have a nice fuzzy surface on the inside. You can use any size of pants too, and you’ll just get a larger or smaller bag out of them depending on the size. Turn the pants inside out so that the fuzzy part is on the outside.
Cut the elastic band off the bottom of the pants leg. Then figure out how tall you want your bag to be and cut off a piece of the pants leg to that size. My pants were about 8 inches wide, so I made the bag about 10 inches tall, but you could do just about any size you want.
Now cut two more strips off the pants, each about 2 inches wide. These will be the handles of your bag. Lay the pieces out to see if you like the size and scale, and trim to adjust if needed.
Next you’ll need to clean up the hems on the pieces. Just cut off that seam on each piece and discard it.
My favorite part of the project comes next — the bunny tail. If the song “Here comes Peter Cottontail” taught me anything, it’s that all good bunny tails are made of cotton. So I searched in my medicine cabinet and found the perfect solution in a bag of cotton rounds. If you’ve never seen these before, they are basically flat, round cotton balls that are useful for all sorts of health and beauty applications. And they make perfect bunny tails, too! Open up the large piece of fabric and lay it fuzzy-side-up on the table. Position the cotton round on one half of the bag, near the bottom and in the center of that half.
To secure it in place, use your sewing machine and a wide satin stitch to sew all the way around the circle. (Or if you aren’t comfortable with a satin stitch, you could use a regular stitch to sew it in place.) Adorable, isn’t it?
Now fold the fabric back on itself, with the fuzzy sides touching, and pin up the bottom and side. Use the sewing machine to sew along the pinned lines. I suggest that you also sew up the other side, too — it doesn’t need it structurally, but your bag will look better in the end if the seam goes all the way around.
When all three sides are sewn, turn the bag right side out and ooh and ahh over your cute little cotton tail again.
Now grab the two handle pieces, which are going to end up looking like ears for your bunny. Lay them, fuzzy side down, so that one end lines up with the top of the bag. Pin the end in place and then flip the bag over.
Pull the other end of the handle up and pin it onto the other side, again keeping the fuzzy side down. Do the same for the other handle.
Make sure that your pins don’t go all the way through the bag, and that it still opens up. Then use the sewing machine to sew all around the edge, where you have pinned the handles. Don’t just sew where the handles meet the bag — sew all around the bag. It’s easier than starting and stopping your thread repeatedly, and the row of stitches will help stabilize the top in the next step.
Flip the sewn handles up and take a moment to smile at the cute ears you’ve created. Then fold the fabric in a half inch, all along the top edge of the bag, and pin in place.
The pins should go all the way around the bag, and again you want to make sure that the bag still opens. This is going to create a nice hem on the top of the bag and also make the handles more secure. Sew the pinned hem in place, being sure to go all the way around the bag.
Once the top is hemmed, the bag is done. Really, that’s it!
These bags were so fun to make that I made one for my niece and one for Little Jo. They plan to use them as purses before Easter and then for carrying around their toys on Easter Sunday. These bags would also be a great solution if you’re looking for an inexpensive and easy way to create a lot of bags for an Easter egg hunt! (Be sure to check out our Easter egg hunt invitations too!)
Incidentally, when you’re done with this project, you’ll have a few elastic bands left over from the waist and the cuff of the pants. If you trim these up nicely, you can use them as giant makeshift rubber bands for holding large items together, like extension cords or large rolls of paper or carpet. Any other ideas on how to re-use the elastic loops?