During the summer, you don't want to lug around a giant leather tote -- it'll stick to you in the heat, and leather doesn't fare well in sun or water, the summer's ominpresent companions.
What you need instead is a light cotton tote bag for just the bare necessities: sunblock, sunglasses, and maybe a ripe, juicy peach. It'll be light on your shoulders, and the cotton will be machine-wash friendly (important for splattered tomato juice and grass stains).
Start with two basic bandannas -- choose a print that suits you! We like classic paisley bandannas. Two bandannas will make a bag roughly the size of a small backpack -- if you'd like a smaller bag, use one bandanna or substitute smaller handkerchieves.
Create a channel for the cord by folding over one edge of the bandanna about 1 1/2 inches in; sew down. Do the same to the second bandanna. Line up the two bandannas, with the patterns facing toward each other and the channels next to each other; pin together. Perform a basic straight seam on three sides of the bandana: down one side, along the bottom edge, and up the other side.
Afterward, turn the bandannas right-side out -- you should now have a structurally sound tote bag! To make the drawstring, thread the cord through the two channels. Tie the ends of the cord together and rotate the cord so that the knot stays hidden in the channel. Now add your favorite book and sunglasses, and you're totes ready for a trip to the park!
Sewing machine and supplies
Bandannas, by Back to Basics, $2 each, michaels.com