tote bag

Handmade Gifts for Boys: embroidered kid art tote bag [a tutorial]

As I said yesterday, my boys love to do art. Their drawings and creations are seriously beginning to take over our house. Because not only do my boys love their art, they also hate to part with it. My oldest tapes it all over our walls, and the refrigerator is completely covered. I find myself sneaking papers into the recycling when the kids are asleep [I'm not the only one who does this, right??]

I wanted to come up with a creative way to keep my boys’ art, so the stitcher in me had to do some embroidery!

DIY embroidered kid art tote bag tutorial


  • 1/4 – 1/2 yard of woven material [depending on how big you want your tote]
  • embroidery hoop
  • embroidery floss and needle
  • scissors
  • water soluble transfer marker
  • sewing machine/thread
  • your child’s drawing

 photo 63e4dd47-de96-40db-be1f-ddab2f6f8869_zps711dc0ca.jpg

1. Stretch your fabric in your embroidery hoop. You will want to choose a fabric that is lighter in color and you can see light through – you will need to see your child’s drawing through the fabric.

 photo 44a565e3-9bee-4f5f-8e9e-a2c5c52b71c2_zps36770d27.jpg2. Hold your child’s drawing up to the light so you can trace the picture onto the fabric with your water soluble marker. If it helps, pin the picture to the fabric.

 photo f82e36f5-62bf-4e60-953a-875a10706f95_zpsc341a5f9.jpg3. After you’ve traced the whole drawing, stitch over it using your embroidery floss.

**If you stop at this step, wouldn’t this make a fabulous present for grandparents?? Just secure the fabric behind the hoop with glue.**

4. Make your tote bag, using this simple tutorial. By making the bag before you continue, you can make sure your pocket is an appropriate size.

 photo DSC_0073_zpse3b2039d.jpg5. Cut your embroidered fabric into a square and cut another piece of the same fabric in the same size. [the size you cut it into is your choice and will depend on how big your tote bag is]

 photo DSC_0079_zps07e6ba5d.jpg6. Put the two squares right sides together and sew along three sides, leaving the top open. A serger is not necessary for this step and can be easily done with a sewing machine as well.

 photo DSC_0097_zps0fa75b4f.jpg7. Fold the pocket right sides out. Fold the top edge down 1/4in. and press carefully.

 photo DSC_0109_zps5078a635.jpg8. Straight stitch across the top folded edge. Then place the pocket onto the tote bag and pin in place. [the bag is shown here without the straps]
 photo DSC_0127_zpse3c887bf.jpg9. Straight stitch around the three sides of the pocket, being careful not to sew through the other side of the tote bag. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitches!

 photo DSC_0142_zpsdad0301f.jpgNow throw some books or art supplies in there, and you’ve got yourself a personalized gift!

 photo DSC_0144_zps05c9ffaf.jpg

Head over to Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy to check out Stacey’s DIY Football Peg Dolls and to enter today’s giveaway!

Handmade Gifts for Boys continues tomorrow, so I’ll see you then!

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Simple Tote Bag: a tutorial

One thing I feel like I can never have too many of is a simple tote bag. Use it for groceries, library trips, whatever. And the great thing about a tote bag is that it’s so super easy – and quick – to make your own! I’ve made a few of these over the last year, including as part of a Christmas gift.

simple tote tutorial


  • Sturdy fabric – outdoor decor or canvas work well [a less sturdy fabric will work fine, it will just make a bag that isn't as structured and won't hold as much weight]
  • Coordinating thread
  • Scissors or rotary cutting tool
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine/serger

DSCF72711. Cut one long rectangle of fabric for the body of the bag and fold in half. The size depends on how big you want your bag to be. When folded in half, this fabric measures 14in x 16in. If you don’t have fabric long enough, you could also use two fabric pieces instead of one long piece.


2. Cut four rectangles for the straps. I made mine 22in x 2.5in – you can make yours longer if you prefer a slightly longer strap.


3. Serge or zig-zag stitch along the two longer sides of the bag body. [if you used two different pieces of fabric instead of one long piece, make sure you also sew along the bottom edge]


4. Finish the top [open] edge of your bag to prevent fraying. You can serge along the edge, zig-zag stitch, or use pinking shears and cut along the top edge.


5. Pinch the bottom corners.


6. Sew across the pinched fabric and cut off the triangle of fabric you created. This will help give the tote a boxy bottom so that it can stand and have a little more structure.


7. Fold the top edge over twice and press. Pin to hold in place.


8. Sew a straight stitch along the top edge.


9. Put two pieces of the long strap fabric right sides together. Sew/serge along the two long sides.


10. Turn right side out. Fold both ends under and press the whole strap.


11.Straight stitch around the perimeter of the strap.


12. Pin the strap onto one side of the bag and sew on each end.


close up of how I sewed on the strap

The X in the center isn’t totally necessary, but I think it just adds some extra stability to the strap.


13. Repeat with the other strap, and you now have a tote bag to use for whatever your heart desires!