Recycled ACU Ruffled Tote

Remember a few weeks ago when I used part of the hubs’ uniform to make ruffles on a tote bag?  Well, I’d already cut up an ACU top to make those ruffles, so I decided to make a whole tote bag, as well.  Then I found a remnant of a floral fabric that I’d snagged for 63 cents at a clearance sale…and it was perfect colors for the ACU pattern.

Here’s the resulting totebag:


Here are the supplies you’ll need to make your own:

  • 14×28” fabric for the bag
  • 1/3 yard of ruffle fabric
  • 5 feet webbing trim for the handles

1. From the ACU top’s back I cut a piece of fabric 14” x 28” and from the floral fabric, three strips, each 2” wide. Ignore all those wrinkles.  I ironed them out after I took the photo.


2. To make the ruffles:  Fold each strip in half, right sides together, and sew along three sides, leaving one end open.  Clip the corners to make them crisp after you turn the ruffle.Tote-Ruffle-Sewn-ChaosServe

3. Push a pencil against the sewn in and use it to turn the ruffle right side out.


4.  When the ruffle is turned right side out, iron to make the edges crisp and flat. Tuck the open end inside and sew across so no raw edges show.


5. Sew a line of loose stitching down the center, lengthwise, then pull one thread to ruffle the piece.  You can see more details on that in my post, here. Do that with all three ruffle pieces.


6. To make the totebag, fold the fabric to make a 14×14 square.  Then pull the fold inside about an inch and a half, making a fold.  Sew along both sides to form a bag, with the folds making a gusseted bottom.


7. Hem around the top of the bag if needed.  Pin the trim in a continuous loop, starting on the bottom of the bag, up the bag, about 4” in from the side, then leave the handle loose, then down the bag, again about 4” in from the side. Repeat on the other side of the bag, using the remaining trim.


8. Sew that on.  Try to sew it as straight as possible, although small imperfections won’t be noticeable when it’s finished.


9. And you’re almost done!  Place the ruffles, one down each trim stripe and one in the middle, and sew them on.


There you go…a totebag incorporating a little of your soldier’s uniform. If you don’t have an ACU on hand, you can follow these same measurements to make a tote out of any material you’d like. I have a t-shirt one that I keep my current knitting project in…how cute would that be, made out of some vintage tees you just can’t throw out?


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