Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Umbrella Tote Bag

Everyone has one.  A broken umbrella they don't know what to do with.  In New York, it's hard to walk down the street on a cold, windy, rainy day and not see one or two laying on the sidewalk or in a garbage bin.  And, if you get caught in the rain, you inevitably have bought one of those $3 jobs from the vendors who seem to come out of nowhere at the first drop of rain.  We all know that those things never last.

I have, or should I say had, an adorable little pink and white striped umbrella that I picked up at H&M one rainy Saturday, caught in SOHO and not expecting rain to fall.  It lasted a while, but let's be honest, an umbrella can only flip inside out in the wind so many times before becoming obsolete.  So what?  It doesn't work as an umbrella anymore, but what about that fabric?  I could no longer use the umbrella to shield me from the rain, but there must be something, being a resourceful gal, that I could do with the fabric.

So, I made a tote bag.  It's simple, it's light, it's handy.  It took about an hour to make- start to finish.

Start by removing the fabric from the skeleton of the umbrella.
It should look something like this:

Fold the umbrella in half, along the center seam

Then fold it in half again.  Using a straight-edge and a blade, cut your umbrella into a rectangle

Stitch the open edges

I used the scraps from the side to make long handles for my bag. 

Sew them together into a long even tube, right sides facing and open at the ends.
Turn them inside out and press with a cool iron.

I left the tab on so the bag could be neatly rolled and carried in the bottom of my regular handbag.

Here's the finished product, all rolled up and ready to go

Very handy for grabbing groceries or a trip to the store.  Just remember to toss it into the bottom of your handbag before leaving the house!


  1. That's fantastic! I also like the option to roll it up.

  2. What a great and cute idea!
    I held onto the leftovers of my daughter's Dora umbrella forever but couldn't think of what to do with it so I finally tossed it - drat!!

  3. I love this terrific idea and I am actually going to bring my sewing machine out to do it. Plus, in NYC you can dump the mostly metal frame in the recycling. Unless you have a great idea for that, too.

  4. What a great idea!! I have a few of these at home with cute patterns. Can't wait to give this a try.