Tutorial: Embellished Tote Bag

Dear Reader,

I wanted to put together a gift for one of my son's teachers last week.  Maybe this is too typical a gift, but I thought a nice tote bag is always useful.  Here is the end result, and I have provided the simple steps to this project below.   (Note: I do not sew, which means this is a version that is probably not as polished as something put together by a seamstress.)

1. Gather supplies.  Canvas tote, fabric (I used white cotton fabric), felt, button, needle and thread, hot glue gun.

2. Cut fabric to about double the width of the bag.  Add a top and bottom stitch on the fabric, and continue to gather the fabric together (creating the ruffle.) 

3. I then hot glued the white ruffled fabric to the canvas tote by first adding a line of glue along the top and bottom stitch and attached the top and bottom.  Then I worked with the sides, folding over a 1/4" fabric and then hot gluing the fold.  I attached each side with another line of hot glue. (Stitch witchery would have been a good alternative to using hot glue for this step in the process.)

4. I added an extra bit of interest.  I chose to make a lavender felt flower (my sweet son remembered that his teacher's favorite color is purple.)  There is a fabulous tutorial on felt flowers here.  I wanted to give all the steps to the project, so here is my work on a felt flower.  I took a piece of felt and cut it into a wavy oval.

5. I began cutting around the circle inward until I had a small oval.  Then I took the end where I began cutting and rolled the felt until I was left with the small oval, which I hot glued to the base.  Turn the flower over, and voile!   I added a button (again, with hot glue) for a finishing touch.

6. I added the flower to the white fabric with hot glue, and the project was done.

This tote was well-received as a teacher's gift, and I think there are so many applications for a tote that it would make a good gift for many people!




  1. how cute and considerate of you. :)

  2. I love how cute this is! I need to make some felt flowers like that, and soon - they're adorable!

  3. Love those flowers! And purple is my favorite color:)

  4. You are so talented. Love it!