Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vintage pillowcase? No, a shopping bag!

Take a vintage pillowcase. Cut like so. Make the handle by sewing a seam, joining the two sides of the 'handle' together. Use your iron to turn over and pin a hem on your raw edges. Sew. Press. It could be as easy as that.

I have been using some of the scrap pillowcase fabric to fashion a little inner pocket and using a soft velcro to stop it from gaping and keep your purse/phone secure. Oh, and i box the bottom corners to give it a little shape. I love mine and use it all the time. It folds down tiny.







This is the top few of a pile of these shopping bags waiting for the markets. And etsy.
For Aucklanders, the annual Piha Labour Day market is on, yup, you guessed it, Labour Day...this coming Monday, the 25th of October. 10-2pm. Held at Barnett Hall and carpark at North Piha, its a lovely day out. Good food, coffee and loveliness, plus second hand rummaging to be done. I'm in the back left hand corner of the hall, come say hi. Last few stalls available, contact me if you want one.
Update from 2012: I posted a full tutorial for transforming your vintage pillowcase into a bag HERE. Enjoy!
And thanks for stopping by. So very many of you have said hello from this page...so lovely. xx
Update from 2013: Hi all, great to have so many of you stick around for more GrowMama designs and adventures and YES! I have put a Pinterest button on to make it easier for you to share. Stay tuned for another pillowcase bag giveaway...x

134 comments:

  1. Just saw this on Pinterest and liked your bag idea!

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    1. thanks...i use mine ALL the time. x

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    2. Saw on Pinterest too.....wonderful!

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  2. Fabulous idea! Spotted this on pinterest. Thank you for sharing it!

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  3. can't believe the interest this blog post has had since folks have been pinning it! you are very welcome, love to see pics of yours if you make any. x

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  4. This is a neat idea! I have several pillowcases that could use some new life. Found your link through Pinterest! :)

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    1. I'm a bit of a fan of vintage sheets and pillowcase designs and the tote/shopping bag is a lovely way of using them. Love to see pics if you make some. x

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  5. great idea! thanks for sharing.

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  6. cool, im excited to try it!

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    1. send me pics...i'd love to see what you come up with!

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    1. thanks karen...i get asked about mine all the time - try it out, it's so easy...it's one of the projects i offer folks at our Sew Fun workshop retreats. x

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    1. thanks! now, that is a very intriguing name you have there, i am off to investigate! x

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  9. You could use the scraps to make a little pocket pouch to keep the folded bag in. I do this and keep a couple in my purse.

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  10. Hi anonymous...you know, i tried this and i just didn't use the little pouch...i'm a simple person really...i just fold the bag. The pouch ended up being used to house various treasures my little boy found when out and about!

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  11. I can't wait to go to town and get some pillowcases from the thrift store. That will be a good place to start. Thanks for the idea.Much easier then the way i was doing it. Thanks again.

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    1. I am always on the lookout for a lovely vintage pillowcase, they can be used in so many ways. Enjoy!

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  12. Just saw this on Pinterest - brilliant idea! Well done for a crafty piece of recycling!

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    1. thanks...very keen on a bit of stylish upcycling around here! x

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  13. For a no-sew version would knotting the pieces of the handle work? You could cut the fabric with pinking shears and VIOLA. Maybe I will try it and let you know :)

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    1. he he...i like the way your mind works! My first version of this design involved using bias binding for the seam finishing, then i realised it was unnecessary and looked a cleaner finish folding over the hem and sewing.
      You can certainly try pinking shears and knotting the handle, let me know how you get on.

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    2. That's what my daughter and i just did! Makes it a little harder to get in and out of as she wanted it to "open" but no sewing!:) Just seems like the pillow cases are a bit flimsy?

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  14. Awesome idea!' can you tell me, a non-sewer, how to "box" the bottom? Thanks a million!!

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    1. Hi there, thanks for pointing this fancy sewing jargon out, i try for my work to be accesible to learners but slip up sometimes. Check out this tutorial (aint the internet an awesome thing...here i was thinking i would do a tutorial but it's been done...hoorah!) ... she walks you through boxing: http://craftapple.wordpress.com/2007/09/01/sewing-tip-squarely-boxing-those-corners/

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    2. Thank you I was going to ask the same question.
      Going to hit some yard sales tomorrow so i will be on the look out for some pillowcases.

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  15. I love this idea! The county I live in just started charging $0.05 per plastic bag and I can't stand spending $1.00 on the reusable ones, especially since they have been tearing on me lately. I've been trying to find a cheaper alternative and this is it! Thanks so much!

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    1. Great...seems you found my idea/tutorial at exactly the right time too. I love it when that happens. I find my vintage pillowcase shopping bags to be very strong too. You can even use a long sleeve t shirt, sew the bottom hem together and knot the sleeves as the handle. Love to see pics of yours when you make 'em. all the best, anissa

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    2. Wow, the shirt idea is great. Hmmmm.....when I think of the bags I have paid money for, UGH. And the "old" shirts I've gotten rid of. No MORE......bag making here I come!

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  16. May I link to your cool blog on my blog?
    http://vintagechicfinds.blogspot.com

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  17. thanks for asking Jessica, you certainly can! will go and peek at your blog myself later x

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  18. Just saw this, I love it! They look small enough to put in the glove box so when running to grocery store I won't have to remember their big bags that take up so much room in the car!

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    1. Thanks kris ann, they are perfect to have in the glove box. If my car didn't leak i would definitely do that. I kid you not. Homebased income hints anyone?! xx

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  19. Love this! Thank you, I found it on Pinterest :)

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  20. Love this! Sometimes the simplest of things are the best ideas!

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    1. Totally. I am big on simple. I love beautiful things that are everyday items, and if they are upcycled, all the better. Thank you for your comment. Love to see pictures if you make some. x

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  21. I am guilty of Pinning you and not saying thank you - THANK YOU! I have some pillow cases sat looking sad... they are about to get a new lease of life :)

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting and letting me know you liked my project. I try and let folks know when i have been inspired by their work too. Wait for all comments you'll get with your new shopping bags...xx!

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  22. Love this idea ... so clever! Thanks for sharing!

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  23. I think I am going to try an put two together(solid & print) have you tried this(reversible)?

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    1. ooh, i was thinking of doing a denim one with the vintage pillowcase lining for library bag...we always have a gazillion books and they are heavy, but i like the idea of solid and print cases together too. let me know how you get on.x

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    2. It works great, I've done quite a few this way. It makes them nice & strong also.

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  24. So cute. Going to pull out my stash and make some for toting things back and forth to school (I am a teacher).
    Could I suggest that hemming those raw edges would be easier if done BEFORE making the handle seam, while you can spread it out a little flatter. Then cover the handle seam by stitching a piece of wide bias tape over it, stitching along both edges of the tape on the wrong side of the handle only, and leaving ends long enough to make a loop that is loose on the top side to hang the bag on a hook? by the front door? so you don't forget it?

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    1. Maybe one of your parents is a sewer who could whip some of these up for you?! When i edged my first prototype of these pillowcase bags with bias tape i hadnt thought of leaving the loop...love to see it in action if you make some. Might be a good beginner project? I teach workshops and this is one of the first things folks can make. x

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  25. I love this. In my elusive search for great pillow cases, I now have lots of them and most of them I don't like for their original purpose, a pillow case. Now, I have this great bag I can make with all of them. Thank you SO muçh fo this GREAT idea. You are a genius!!

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    1. aw shucks! One year everyone got these for gifts in our extended family and friends tribe. x

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  26. Love this idea!!! Just cleaned out my linen closet and was wondering what to do with all the pillow cases!!! Wonderful Idea!! Thanks again! Also thought I could use these bags as liners for knitted or crocheted purses, so easy!!!

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    1. Thanks! I don't knit but i use vintage pillowcases to line my own totes and fabric 'handbags' quite often, i like the funky patterns. x

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  27. I love the simplicity of this project! Thank you for such a great and easy idea!

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    1. Oh yes...very big on simple and beautiful and useful around here! Comfortble is another keyword! x

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  28. Great Idea!!! As a teacher, I am thinking of using these as book bags for the kids! I am NOT a sewer though, so we'll have to see if I can figure it out. You should def. put a tutorial on youtube or something- a from start to finish, so us "newbies" can see how it's done. THanks for sharing!!

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    1. Oh good idea about the you tube tutorial...i am a bit shy about it (even though i give workshops and talks all the time i still feel funny about you tube) but i would like to do it for sure. I'll put it on the list! I need a technical support person - that is also on the list. x

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  29. I am curious if this would work well as a "beach" tote. Say if I used a large size pillow case?

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    1. you'd be surprised how much room is inside even with standard size pillowcases...i use mine for a book bag, swimming bag or beach bag too. They are strong too...i have one that is lined/reversible (using two pillowcases) but none of single layer bags have ripped or failed me yet...even with all our gazillion library books!

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  30. THESE WOULD EVEN BE GREAT FOR TRICK OR TREAT BAGS FOR KIDS. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW YOU BOX THE BOTTOM THOUGH.

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    1. Hi Lori, someone else asked about boxing corners and i apologised for not being clear: there is a link here that explains it nicely. It is very easy really and has a great effect. See what you think. x anissa

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    2. You said there is a link "here" for boxed corners. I don't see it. Where is "here"? I would love to try this but I don't know how to do a boxed corner either. Would you send me a link? Tongiefarm@aol.com?? Do you mind?

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    3. Scroll up through the comments, you should see it.:)

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  31. Oh I LOVE these! perfect for the non-sewer like me:) I just found it on Pinterest and repinned!

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    1. i really love that lots of 'nonsewers' are using my tutorial for the upcycled shopping bag. You go sew mama...and be proud! x

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  32. I would love to see a step-by-step tutorial as well. I am not understanding how to sew the handle when it is already attached. Sorry.... Have not sewn in MANY years.

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    1. you are not alone, never fear...i have had a bunch of emails asking the very same. I will post a step by step tutorial very soon. Taking the photos tomorrow...x

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  33. I just found this on Pinterest today, and I'm bookmarking it so I can find it again. We've made several grocery bags so far, but none from pillowcases. And since I do sew, I know how to box the bottom - but it's nice that you were able to share a tutorial for it. Thanks so much!!

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    1. great! come on back and give it a try...i will be posting a step by step tutorial for those who are new to sewing very soon too. all the best, a

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  34. I found you via Pinterest too, and you are in Auckland like me! Awesome! Made my first reversible bag today during kids nap time. After 3hrs of sewing and unpicking it was finally done - very stoked, and I reckon next time I can do it in 30 minutes. Thanks for the awesome idea! Would love to know where you get your sheets from, but I know if someone asked me that I would be reluctant to share ;)

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    1. hey...welcome! Just think, we might pass on the street tomorrow?! Love to see results of your reversible bag making if you feel like emailing. And vintage sheets and pillowcases? I am the op shopping queen. No particular thrift shop, it is down to luck and timing. But, they get harder and harder to find in Auckland. good luck with the hunt!

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  35. bellissima idea! saluti dall'Italia laura

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    1. thank you laura, somehow in italian it sounds so much better! xx

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  36. Super cute idea!! Love when you can repurpose things like this! :)

    HH at www.harvardhomemaker.com

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    1. oh me too...i love repurposing and upcycling bigtime! x

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  37. Just saw on Pinterest and love it so much !!!

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    1. thanks very! I have finally upgraded my blog template so i can add pinterest tags now. x

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  38. Absolutely love this! I have always thought it a shame that very few people get to see pretty pillow cases. I think it would be an AWESOME craft for my daughters birthday party and they'll have their own bag to carry their goodies home in.

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    1. Ooo, i love the idea of each girl making their own bag to take home...you could have them all cut out and pinned and ready to go. Lovely idea! Send pics! x

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    1. i deleted this comment because i deemed it an inappropriate bit of advertising. x

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  40. have you published the step by step directions - especially the boxed bottom? would love to give it a go... thanks.

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    1. Hi there, here is the tutorial for the pillowcase bag:

      http://growmama.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/tutorial-vintage-pillowcase-to-bag.html

      and here is the tutorial on boxing corners:

      http://growmama.blogspot.co.nz/2013/01/boxing-corners-tutorial.html

      Let me know how you get on!
      x
      anissa

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  41. I'm not sure how to box in the pillow case.
    I really Do like the looks of it a lot. thank you so much

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    1. So glad you like it.
      I did a tutorial on how to box corners, you can find it here:
      http://growmama.blogspot.co.nz/2013/01/boxing-corners-tutorial.html
      It is really easy...give it a go!
      x
      anissa

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  42. This is a great idea! I'm a single parent, homeschool mom, and run my own online businesses. I don't have time for big involved craft projects. But this seems so simple, even I could do a few very quickly. THANKS!

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    1. Hi Debbie, i hear you on the busyness...my life sounds similar to yours now. But i am always up for a simple upcycling project and this one is super easy!
      Scroll up to the above comments for links to step by step tutorial/s.
      xx
      anissa

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  43. You have the pillowcase to match my vintage sheets! That's so funny because you are in New Zealand and I got my sheets at a thrift store in Alabama. I've used them to make a circle skirt and an apron.

    http://sarahdudik.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/circle-wrap-skirt/
    http://sarahdudik.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/aprons-vintage-and-modern-retro/

    I also used a vintage pillowcase to make an apron. Love what you did with yours :) I bet those bags are roomy!

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    1. Hi Sarah...i just popped over to your blog. We did have the same pillowcase/sheets! I have never seen anything like it here in NZ.
      Love what you crafted with yours! I often use vintage sheets for making clothes and other items...they are such great designs and new fabric can be so expensive. xx

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  44. Just repinned from Pinterest & posted on Facebook. So clever!!
    www.facebook.com/laurie.andreoni

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  45. Hello from Minnesota. I like this tutorial. It is under the "who knew" column of craft ideas. One toss in the wash makes it healthy and cleans up any spills in the bag. Thank you! I have old pillow cases with the decorative edging. I think that I will sew up the bottom stitchery and cut the exiting hem for the handle. I just can't toss the pretty part. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Oooh, I like your idea about doing it upside-down for those lovely pillowcases with edging. Great idea!

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  48. Pillow case dresses!
    http://www.littledressesforafrica.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/LDFA-dress-instructions-Teresa-2012.pdf

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    1. Thanks for the link Maureen. I'm off to have a look. x

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  49. What a fab idea!! Saw this on FB, and had to share it!

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  50. Thank you for sharing this idea! I just made one myself.

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    1. You are so welcome, I get a kick thinking about how many of these bags there are in the world now...many tens of thousands of people have seen this tutorial now. Love to see a pic of yours, link if you post it somewhere! x

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  51. Hi from Paris(France)Anissa, and thanks for sharing this great idea!...

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    1. Oh hoorah, one of my favourite neighbourhoods in the world. thank you for that! x

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  52. these look Awesome! I think ill make a few for my niece she like to have her own bags, Ill give her white ones and fabric markers so she can draw on them as she likes.

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    1. ooooh, I like your idea...kids would love to decorate their own bags. To give it that more professional touch and so it won't matter if they need to start again, they could draw on a separate piece of fabric and sew it on. love it! Going to file that one away for a (literal) rainy day, thanks!

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  53. THESE are PERFECT for carrying BEACH or Pool items!! I love this!!!

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    1. Thanks Izola...our pillowcase bags get used to haul beach and pool stuff alot. They work a treat and dry really fast too. Enjoy your crafting! x

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  54. Hello from Los Angeles! Wonderful idea!

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  55. Hi, i was wondering do you have to sew around where you make the cut for the handles to neaten it.?

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    1. You can just fold it under, or do a little hem if you like. Many people have told me they don't worry as it won't fray and it's hidden from sight. Good luck with yours!

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  57. OMGosh - I love this! I'm always seeing cute patterns on pillowcases I run across in yard sales - might have to pick one up & try it. Thanks for sharing.

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

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  58. What a great idea, i'll be making these.. Saw these in Pinterest

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    1. Wow, it is still doing the rounds in Pinterest...so incredible the power of social media! Have fun crafting them up!

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  60. i love the idea!!!! i´ll do it, right away!

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    1. Now is the time Maria! Love to see a pic if you send a link! x

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  61. nice and easy to make..thnx for sharing your ideas!!

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    1. Hi Anita...so glad you like it...enjoy your making! x

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  62. Hey Anissa - Just saw this on pinterest - still doing the rounds! Evie wants to make some cloth bags so we might give this a go today. xxxxxxx S

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    1. Hi Sam! Let me know how you and Evie get on. It must be time for a wee op shop trawl together again hey?! I am amazed it is still being shared on Pinterest...so many people! I got told off today by a blog reader...who berated me for not making more of a go of GrowMama. It might be that it's time has come! xx

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  63. this is so cute, but since I'm just a beginner, I need better directions!

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