Got an extra tote bag and some basic sewing skills? Excellent! You've got what it takes to upcycle that boring old tote into a pet carrier.
This easy hack, based on this project from HGTV, features a comfy fleece lining that's removable, allowing you to conveniently throw it in the wash. We've even got a (mostly) no-sew option if you want to keep the needle-and-thread work to a minimum. Ready? Let's get started!
Things You'll Need
A sturdy, squared/flat-bottom tote bag large enough for your pet
2-way stretch fleece (enough to cover the interior of your tote)
Machine washable hook and loop tape (with fabric adhesive)
Basic sewing supplies
Fabric glue or no-sew hemming tape (for mostly-no-sew option)
Make Head Opening
On the front side seam of the tote (the side that will face forward when you're carrying the tote over your shoulder) measure approximately 4 - 5 inches down the side seam from the top edge. The measurement here depends on how large of a head opening your pet will need.
Use your seam ripper to undo the side seam from the point you measured to the top of your tote. If there is a bias binding at the top edge of this tote (like the one shown here), simply snip it with scissors to open up the seam.
Now, secure the side seam at the point where you began to rip it apart, using a needle and thread. Sew over the existing stitches several times to prevent the rest of the side seam from coming undone. Or, you can also choose to sew over the entire side seam by machine or hand to reinforce it.
Fold down one of the flaps from the opened side seam toward the inside of the bag (as shown below) and pin down. Repeat with the other flap so that the two are symmetrical.
Iron down the flaps to set the creases.
The next step is to hem the edges of the head opening. To do this, cut off the excess fabric at the flaps, leaving approximately 3/4 inch of fabric from the crease you've just ironed (see below).
Create a by folding the unfinished edge underneath twice. Iron, then pin in place.
Repeat for the other side of the head opening. Now, sew along the new hemlines to secure. (For the no-sew option, see tip below.)
Your head opening is done!
TIP: For the no-sew option, apply fabric glue underneath the hem folds to finish the edges of your head opening. Alternatively, you can use iron-on hemming tape to finish the edges.
Make Removable Fleece Liner
Fold your fleece in half with the folded edge at the bottom and the direction of stretch going up and down.
Flatten out your tote bag on top of the fleece so that the tote's sides and squared bottom are flattened outward, not inward (see image below). Align the very bottom of the flattened tote with the fleece fold line.
Cut your fleece into a rectangular shape, using the widest and longest points of your flattened tote as guides for your rectangle's width and length, adding a seam allowance on the left and right sides. Note that the top right corner of the rectangle will be cut, following the diagonal line created by the head opening (see below).
Lift tote from fabric and seam the left and right sides of your fleece liner together using a zig-zag stitch (see below) to .
TIP: For the no-sew option, use fabric glue to seam the sides. You will not be squaring the bottom of your liner, so skip to section three: Attach Hook & Loop Tape.
Once your side seams are sewn, turn the liner inside out. Flatten out one of the bottom corners so that the seam is running down the center (see below) of the flattened corner. If you've flattened the corner and the seam is running down the side of your corner instead of the center, you've done it incorrectly. You want to ensure that it looks like this:
Now, you're going to create a squared bottom on your liner to match the squared bottom of your tote bag. To do this, sew a straight line (again, using zig-zag stitch) across the flattened corner of the liner. But first, you'll need to know what length this line should be — that is, you'll need to find out the depth of your tote bag so your lining can match it. To do this, measure one of the squared seams at the bottom corner of your tote (see below).
The length of the line you sew should match the width of the seam you measured above. When you're done sewing the straight line (of matching width/depth) across the flattened corner, it should look like this.
Invert the liner to reveal your first squared corner!
Repeat this step with the other corner to give your liner a squared bottom.
Attach Hook And Loop Tape
Take either your hook tape or loop tape and attach a strip all around the outer top edges of your liner. Even if the tape has an adhesive backing, we highly recommend you sew the tape onto the liner to ensure that it's completely secure.
TIP: For the no-sew option, purchase hook and loop tape with strong, permanent fabric adhesive. Or, you can forgo a liner altogether and simply place a comfy blanket inside the bag whenever you take your little buddy on the go.
Now, attach hook or loop tape (whichever one you didn't use for the liner, of course!) to the inner top edges of the tote bag, making sure that they align with the tape you applied to the liner. Again, sewing it on is highly recommended.
Finally, insert your liner into your tote — and you're done.
Voila! A one-of-a-kind pet carrier for your one-of-a-kind fur baby.