I made this tote bag from a vintage pillowcase and some scraps of fabric. Here's how I did it:
You will need a standard size pillow case, two 4" x 28"strips of cloth, 6 buttons (optional) and two 6" lengths of rope or heavy felt.
#1: Fold and press the pillowcase as illustrated in the photos. Pin to hold folds in place. Sew a button (or simply hand tack) at the top point of each folded up corner on the front and the back of the bag.
#2: Sew each strip of fabric into a tube. Turn and press. Center a 6" scrap of rope, cord or heavy felt on each handle. Fold the handle over the rope/cord/felt so that the rope/cord/felt is completely covered. Hand stitch the edges of the fabric handle together as illustrated to completely contain the rope/cord/felt. Hand tack at either end of the rope/cord/felt to keep it from slipping out the tube formed by the hand stitching you just made.
#3: Hand tack the handles (positioned as shown) into the side folds of the bag. Stitch through one layer only. Hand stitch down the side of the folded edges until you reach the bottom of original hem of the pillowcase. Hand tack the two sides of the pillow case together on the opposite side of the handles (as shown). Add decorative buttons (optional)