How to Upcycle a Counted Cross Stitch into a Shopping Bag

How to Upcycle a Counted Cross Stitch into a Shopping Bag

I constantly find old needlework pieces on my thrifting adventures- be it counted cross stitch, needlepoint, crewel work, or otherwise. And I have a hard time passing them up! But then I think, “What in the world will I do with all these?”.

And so was the case with this larger cross-stitch- it had a great retro / country vibe…which, while not my personal style, is kind of trendy again with the farmhouse / Fixer Upper obsession. As I hemmed & hawed, I couldn’t help but think that it would make a fabulous graphic on a reusable grocery bag.

Framed cross stitch or counted cross stitch at thrift store for upcycling project by Sadie Seasongoods /

And so, that became my plan- I just needed the perfect tote bag to pair it with. Enter this burlap bag with an embroidered name on it- not my name, of course, but someone else’s. But that was kind of perfect…I could cover up the random name with the counted cross stitch or framed cross stitch that I had found. And that, my friends, is how this project came to be… This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.

Burlap bag or canvas shopping bags at thrift store for repurposing project by Sadie Seasongoods /

Creating a Reusable Shopping Bag with Counted Cross Stitch

So, here’s the odd couple in question…let’s combine these two thrifted finds and see if my upcycling idea works or not!

Vintage cross stitch and burlap bag to create reusable shopping bag or tote bag by Sadie Seasongoods /

To create my shopping bag, I first had to remove the counted cross stitch from the frame to see what I was working with, size-wise.

Upcycling a counted cross stitch with a burlap bag or canvas bag by Sadie Seasongoods /

It’s probably hard to discern in the photos, but there was a very obvious “fade” between the framed cross stitch design and the Aida cloth perimeter where the blue mat had been while framed since ’83. I used that fade line to carefully cut out the cross-stitch graphic. My plan was to use coordinating grosgrain ribbon as my new border (and to cover up the raw edges of the Aida cloth.

How to upcycle cross stitch by sewing it on canvas shopping bags or a shopping bag by Sadie Seasongoods /

At that point, I realized that fabric tape would come in handy- not only to act as a fray-stopper for the Aida cloth, but also to help keep the border ribbon in place while pinning and stitching. I wasn’t patient enough to stop everything and head to the fabric store, so I grabbed some double-sided tape instead, which worked just as well!

What to do with vintage cross stitch or counted cross stitch to become a shopping bag by Sadie Seasongoods /

After taping down my ribbon, I stitched it to the counted cross stitch with my sewing machine. When that was said and done, I simply pinned it to the front of the burlap bag…carefully covering up the “Chatsworth” embroidery!

Counted cross stitch upcycled with burlap bag to create reusable grocery bag by Sadie Seasongoods /

Recognize that hidden pincushion in a teapot? I use it every time I sew!

Updating a Counted Cross Stitch with a Burlap Bag

Since my shopping bag was already constructed, I decided that it would just be easier to hand-stitch the counted cross stitch to the front of the burlap bag. And that was it- my farmhouse style reusable grocery bag was done!

Burlap bag and framed cross stitch upcycling idea for reusable grocery bag or shopping bag by Sadie Seasongoods /

Isn’t it the best? It’s so much more my style now, as an eco-conscious reusable grocery bag than as a framed cross stitch hanging on the wall. And I can’t wait for our farmer’s market season to begin because it’ll be perfect for that!

How to upcycle a cross stitch or framed cross stitch into a shopping bag with a burlap bag or canvas bag by Sadie Seasongoods /

And I’m totally going to keep an eye out for similar/related cross-stitch pieces now…maybe one with produce on it for another reusable grocery bag project!

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for a market bag, then you’ll love these veggie bags I made with kids t-shirts!

How to reduce plastic and avoid plastic with reusable produce bags made from kids t shirts by Sadie Seasongoods

Craft on!


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  1. omg you did it again!! Very clever and useable!

  2. cynthia wilson says

    Just want to say: Five Stars (*****) on your Fresh Eggs tote bag!!! Recently discovered your site and LOVE it! Thanks for sharing such fun with others.

  3. Patty Soriano says

    Love this idea! Hubby got a great burlap swag bag at some sort of work-related event. But it had a business logo on it. ugh. I’ve been thinking of mod podging something over it, but I really like this so much better! I have a vintage needlepoint piece that I’ve been saving for something and this is a brilliant use for it! Thanks for sharing!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Oh yes, this is perfect for the swag bags from conferences! But shhh, don’t tell the companies that are handing them out. It’ll be our little secret. 😉

  4. Love this idea and it repurposes two things!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Yes! I should go back and see if they have more bags like that…it was like a monogramming shop sold them their “mistake” bags, so they had a bunch that were perfect for covering over!

  5. That is just so clever and re-purposes someones hard work. It really turned out cute. Now I’ll see cross stitch items in a new light!

  6. Love the marriage of the cross stitch and the tote. So fashionable, too.

  7. I always check out old needlework and admire all the work that went into creating the piece. Excellent idea to repurpose and now, you have an empty frame. Don’t know how I missed your pincushion in the teapot,l love that idea. I then had to check out Cottonball and was reading the comments about cats and string. One day, my problem boy, Steve ate a rather long cotton ribbon which fortunately came out without problems, but it could have been deadly. Scared the heck out of me, since I realized it could be deadly.
    Clever lady, how is Cottonball?

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      He is still the most “helpful” blog apprentice ever! He was very interested in the ribbon I used for this bag, too. 😉 And I’m very glad to hear that Steve passed his ribbon snack without issue- what a relief!!

  8. Hilary Milner says

    Chatsworth just happens to be the name of a town in Los Angeles county. I would have loved to have found that bag! Haha!

  9. I find vintage needle work a lot too while thrifting. You repurposed this piece beautifully.

  10. Linda Nelson says

    How sweet…… and thrifty!

  11. Sarah, Wow, this is the best market tote bag upcycle ever!!! You will get a lot of attention sporting this bag at the market!!!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you!!! I can use it now, of course, but yeah…I’m REALLY looking forward to using it this summer!

  12. What a great idea!! This turned out super cute.

  13. acraftymix says

    That’s such a neat idea Sarah. I always stop to admire cross stitch pieces just because I know how much work often goes into them and it does make me a little sad that all that work is donated but I’ve never bought any of the pieces. Using it to transform a burlap sack is really cool and now someone’s handy work can be appreciated all over again.

  14. The burlap bag and the cross stitch were meant for each other – perfect marriage of thrift store finds, Sarah!

  15. Charleen Adams says

    Miss Sadie you have done it again!!!!!What a crenative idea. Now I am going. to be on the hunt for needlework to repurpose. Keep up the good ideas and work.

  16. Thank you for sharing. I think it’s very pretty! I think I would have used a more neutral color to frame the aida cloth, like a tan or burnt orange, to go with the color of the burlap. I know there is blue in the aida cloth, but I think a brown/orange color could have been a good complimentary choice as well.

  17. So pretty! Your blog really hits my sweet spot. I love thrifting, and crafting, and putting to good use what I thrift and craft. And to see it laid out in such beautiful pictures and dialogue makes me happy. So your bag is six months old now, have you found that the needlecraft is getting dirty or scuffed? How would you clean it I wonder…

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Actually, a friend’s husband bought the bag because she loved it so much, LOL- so I need to find out from her how it’s doing! 😀

  18. Super cute! I love old embroidery too. And I tend to buy them as well. This is a great way to upcycle them!


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