How to Make a DIY Cross Body Bag for Under $10

How to make a budget-friendly DIY cross body bag with 2 five dollar placemats?! Click through for the step by step tutorial.

Placemats! I bought some thick, colorful placemats a while back from Anthro, on sale for $4.95 each. And until last week they sat folded up in my craft closet basically just collecting dust.

But then Amelia got a hold of them and whipped ’em into this cool little cross body bag and I’m wondering why we didn’t tackle this project sooner. It was so easy and super budget-friendly, since all of the materials combined cost less than $10.

How to make a DIY cross body bag for under $10

How to make a DIY cross body bag for under $10

Click through for the step by step tutorial.

How to make a DIY cross body bag for under $10


  • 2 matching placemats (preferably woven for thickness, texture, and easy hand stitching – mine are from the Anthro sale section)
  • embroidery floss in coordinating color
  • large needle
  • leather purse strap (I had an extra lying around from a cross body purse turned clutch)
  • scissors


1. Lay placemats one on top of the other, with the insides facing out and thread a large needle with embroidery floss.

2. Starting along the bottom seam, begin stitching the two placemats together using either a blanket or backstitch. I did a blanket stitch, FYI. See Apartment Therapy for instructions on various stitching techniques (including a blanket stitch).

Note: Be careful that the placemats stay aligned. Your seam should be around 1 inch in from the edge of the placemat.

How to make a DIY cross body bag for under $10

3. Continue along the sides of the placemats, but stop your stitch about 8 inches from the top of the bag. This is where you will attach the loops for your strap.

4. Once you have the three sides sewn together, gently turn your bag rightside out.

How to make a DIY cross body bag for under $10

5. For the strap, cut 2 3-inch strips of fabric (I used some trimmings from the interior of the bag, but you can also use small leather pieces, or other fabric you have lying around). The width of the fabric strip doesn’t need to be super thick, just durable, since it’ll essentially be responsible for holding the strap on.

6. Form a loop with the first strip of fabric and tuck it between the open seams of the placemats. Make sure it sits right above where your seam ended (about 8 inches from the top of your bag). This way you can fold the top portion of your bag over and the strap will sit correctly.

How to make a DIY cross body bag for under $10

7. Pull the loop so that it barely shows on the exterior of the bag. Carefully stitch over the fabric loop (I doubled up on my backstitching to ensure its strength), and continue your blanket or backstitch up to the top of the bag. This can be tricky, as you will have to stitch from the inside of the bag so the stitching matches what you already did.*

How to make a DIY cross body bag for under $10

How to make a DIY cross body bag for under $10

8. Once the loops are securely attached, and the bag is stitched up, string your purse strap through the loops and button or buckle.

How to make a DIY cross body bag for under $10

9. Push out the corners in the bottom of the bag to help it lay flat, fold over, and you’re ready to go!

*If your purse strap does not have a button, like mine, you may have to attach the purse to the fabric loops prior to stitching them into the purse. Just make sure you plan that out before you attach the loops.

**Note: Different types of fabric may require a different technique. You could easily use a sewing machine for thinner placemats, add a liner, a clasp, you name it!



Craft production and photography by Amelia Tatnall

28 comments | Click here to reply

That’s adorable! And so simple to make. 🙂

Pearl R Meaker | June 1st, 2016 at 9:30 am

Glad you like it Pearl.

Brittni | June 1st, 2016 at 10:55 am

This is such a wonderful idea, now I just have to get a pair of such beautiful placemats!
Michelle recently posted..Two-Toned Cardigan

Michelle | June 1st, 2016 at 11:29 am

Fun idea for a handbag! You remind me about how I used a placemat for the cover to sew up a blank journal inside. I’ll have to blog about it soon.
Anne Rita Taylor recently posted..Folded Card Holder

Anne Rita Taylor | June 1st, 2016 at 12:17 pm

What a cute idea! Sewing a leather bag has been on my to do list for a while but this mat looks much simpler to deal with… not to mention cheaper. Great project!

Julia | June 1st, 2016 at 2:30 pm

Awesome. Such a great idea.
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Carmen | June 1st, 2016 at 3:47 pm

Great inspiration, very good idea! I want to try it myself!

Stacey | June 2nd, 2016 at 4:27 am

So creative! Never have enough purses!

Barbara | June 2nd, 2016 at 7:57 am

What a great idea! Really cute bag.

Ladybug | June 2nd, 2016 at 9:06 am

[…] – This super cute cross body bag is easy on the eye and also the hip […]

Friday faves | 03.06.16 | Make and Tell | June 2nd, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Brilliant! And oh so cute…can I just say, too, how much I love the clean, crisp and bright look of your photos and blog.

Queti | June 3rd, 2016 at 10:56 pm

Welch wunderbare Idee. Einfach & klar ohne viel Aufwand. Wenn ich den passenden kleinen Teppich finde (evtl. Ikea) muss ich mir den mitnehmen. Für mich ist das so eine richtige Sommertasche.
Danke für die Inspiration.
Liebste Grüße,
What a wonderful idea. Simple & clear without much effort. If I find the right rug (possibly Ikea) I need to bring to me. For me, this is a real summer bag.
Thank you for the inspiration.
Dearest greetings,

Almut | June 4th, 2016 at 3:46 am

love this x a million

Emmy Jake NYC
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Emmy | June 7th, 2016 at 3:16 pm

[…] This cute summer bag is made from two woven placemats, can you believe it? I love how it looks, so great for summer. Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY post is here. […]

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Ideas para el fin de semana - Demodé | June 10th, 2016 at 8:34 am

Awesome!!! I have a few at home but they are not matched. I think even that would be fun!!! Very easy tutorial.

Nafisa ahmed | June 13th, 2016 at 9:44 pm

It’s beautiful ! I would love to try this with some old (fake) persian
tablecloths from the second-hand-shop !

Eva | June 20th, 2016 at 1:06 pm

[…] 2. Cross Body Bag by Paper & Stitch […]

10 DIY Purses Perfect for Summer - The Crafted Life | July 6th, 2016 at 3:42 am

That’s so cool! Thank you for tip. 😉

have a nice day xx

Lucie | July 15th, 2016 at 2:24 am

Great idea… I will try for sure… It’s very easy tutorial, thanks for sharing….
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Jelena Ristic | August 13th, 2016 at 3:13 pm

wow great idea, i’ll make one 😀

Juicy | September 26th, 2016 at 10:40 am

I will try this very soon. Going to the dollar store to look for those place mats tomorrow. I made a similar bag out of an old sweater. Also sewn by hand

PANSY BROWNE | May 30th, 2017 at 3:23 pm

[…] more purse than just a clutch?  You can still use a placemat!  Check out this DIY Cross Body Bag by Amelia Lawrence for Paper & Stitch.  I love the idea of taking the placemat purse […]

5 Easy (and Adorable) DIY Placemat Purses - Jennifer Perkins | Jennifer Perkins | July 28th, 2017 at 1:43 pm

When I was married my mother in law and I used a quilted placemat to make a curling iron holder for traveling. That was 22 yrs ago and I still use it when I travel. Placemats who knew? 😉

Angie | August 8th, 2017 at 11:26 am

I bought a similar-looking purse in Mexico oh so many yrs., ago, but lost it in moving….. It had loops partway down like this one, but had another set at the top, so you could attach the strap to either set to get a bigger/smaller bag. Just a thought.


mary nmakara | December 28th, 2017 at 6:15 pm

So cute. Put this bag to my to-make-list. Thanks for sharing this as a free tutorial.

Dearlives | May 2nd, 2018 at 10:46 pm

[…] 30. Can she really have too many bags? Check out this budget-friendly DIY crossbody bag. […]

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