From rags to bags: Curtain Bank off-cuts become gift bags at the Pacific Housing Forum 

Sep 18, 2023

Upcycled tote bags again appeared at a Habitat for Humanity housing forum in the Pacific Islands. After these New Zealand-made holdalls were much-loved at the first-ever Tonga Housing Forum in May of this year, the reusable shoulder bags were also used at the recent Pacific Housing Forum in Suva, Fiji, in early September.  

These colourful and unique patterned bags are lovingly sewn by Habitat for Humanity Northern Curtain Bank volunteers in Auckland and made from donated curtain off-cuts created during the alterations process. The bags were the perfect functional yet reusable solution to hold the forum’s information sheets,  programme, stationery, and attendee’s belongings.  

At the Curtain Bank, donated curtains in good condition are stored and then altered for families who need double-lined curtains to mitigate cold or dampness in their homes.  

To minimise textile waste from this process that may end up in landfills, the workshop uses the off cuts to create tote bags of all patterns and colours that are then sold in the ReStores, further helping to fund Habitat’s housing initiatives in the region.  

Read more about the Curtain Bank: 

Read more about the Pacific Housing Forum: 


Handmade and reusable tote bags being used at Habitat for Humanity housing forum in Fiji.

Attendees collecting their new Habitat Curtain Bank tote during registration.


information about the Habitat for Humanity Curtain Bank in Auckland.

Each bag contained a leaflet with more information about Habitat Northern’s Curtain Bank.


handmade upcycled tote bags used at the Habitat for Humanity Pacific Housing Forum in Fiji.


Patterned tote bags made by Habitat for Humanity New Zealand used for a group conference event.

The bags made a colourful addition to the entire day.