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embroidered bag: casa craft style

June is a very full month for me, so some of my sponsors have jumped in to help! Today Kelley from Casa Crafty is sharing a fun tutorial for making an embroidered tote.

nani iro dress6 (1 of 1)

Hi I am Kelley!

I blog over at Casa Crafty, where I talk about all my crazy projects, my cute and trying children and my mini farm. I sell bags and materials on Etsy, and I seem to be on the internet a lot!

I am not a great embroiderer, but I do enjoy needle point crafts all the same. I started with cross stitch when I was pretty young, 10 or so, using what little money I had to load up on DMC floss and fabric and pattern books. In those days I was still attracted to the toll painting and cutsie images that are so common to needle points:

While this is cute, I prefer the cute in Mollie's toolbox:


But I have been really drawn to the work on 365 Lucky Days:

In keeping with that, I have been working on my own wall of embroidered works and it has inspired me to put more embroidery on projects. Doing someone's name up in thread is simple, and fast, and it adds a little something to a gift.

Take this:

I decided to make this little 4 year old a messenger bag for his birthday. I thought it would be great fun to include some of the superman fabric I had and I angled the flap and added pockets on the interior just the right size to hold hot wheels. But I thought, couldn't we take this one step further, much in the vein of LL Bean?

I picked a font I liked and added it to the bag before I finished construction:

But, that hardly seems enough, so I created this little number for my son's 1st grade teacher as a thank you! I was inspired by this.

How do You make this tote?  Well, here are my BASIC instructions.

What you need:

2- 18" pieces natural canvas for exterior
2- 18" pieces of interior fabric
thread in blue and red
embroidery floss in black
2 straps of your choosing

1. Take 2 pieces of plain natural canvas, at 18" x 18"

2. Starting 2" from the top, stitch a BLUE horizontal line every 1/2" all the way down your "paper"

3. Sew a 2 vertical lines 2" from the left side, the lines should be about 1/8" apart.

4. Repeat for next piece of canvas.

5. In big primary scrawl with a disappearing ink, trace or write out your message.  I did the teachers name on the front and love, Hawley (in his handwriting) on the lower back.  Embroider as you wish, I did your basic back stitch.

OK, assemble your bag:

1. With Right sides together sew the 2-18" exterior pieces along 3 sides leaving the top open.

2. Repeat with the interior pieces, but leave a 3" opening on the bottom middle

3. On the bottom corners of both the interior and exterior squares, cut a 1" square

You are going to fold the side seam to the bottom seam and stitch it closed creating a "boxed" corner:

Repeat for interior pieces.

With the interior bag on the outside and inside out, sandwich the straps at even points between the interior and exterior bags. Pin in place. Stitch the top closed catching the straps as you go.

Don't you love my awesome illustrations?  (snicker snicker snort)

Remember that 3" hole you left? Turn your bag RIGHT SIDE OUT through that hole. Iron out creases if you wish and I usually top stitch the top seam to make it complete.

(Man do I hope that all makes sense.)

Thanks, Kelley! For more fun craftiness, be sure to visit Casa Crafty!


  1. Good!I like it very much! If you need more information at http://www.sobeautifulbag.com

  2. great project! wish i had thought to make these for teacher gifts ;) xo

  3. Very cute. Thanks for the idea for Teachers bag. Will do this for xmas pressies for them. Cheers, Karen


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