Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Custom Kids' Tote Bags

My kids are five and two, so keeping them occupied and reasonably quiet at church is a chore. After this past Sunday, I concluded that they each need their own bag to carry their stuff in so that I don't have to lug so much junk around for three hours every week.

While I was wandering around JoAnn the other day, I came across these great tote bags (for $1)! I picked up a blue and pink one, along with a pre-made embroidered letter to put on each. I knew I could make them cute and wanted to personalize them. If you are interested in customizing your own tote bag, here is what I did:

I raided my fabric stash and picked out a few coordinates. My son, Eddie, is a self-declared skeleton expert, so I searched for fabrics that would tie together the blue tote with the yellow skull fabric, so his ended up with polka dots and stripes. My daughter, Violet, seems to prefer pink. I found this grey and pink cherry blossom print and fell in love with it. Her tote ended up ultra-feminine since I couldn't find a good coordinate in my stash, so I used lace instead.

After selecting my fabrics, I cut them just larger than the width or height of the tote. For my son's tote, I started at the bottom and used horizontal strips. I hand-sewed because I wanted chunky, uneven stitches so that it looked hand-sewn. I sewed the edges of the striped fabric down first, whip-stitching it to the edging on the bag. Next, I sewed one end of the polka dot fabric to the bag edging, then whip-stitched it to the striped piece across the bag and then finished the other end.

My embroidered letters were stick on or iron on, so I ironed the "E" onto the skull fabric before attaching it to the tote. This type of tote melts, so it's important to attach the letter before adding it to the bag! I also stitched around the letter to give it a more finished look. I attached the skull fabric the same as I did the others and Eddie's tote was finished. Violet's tote was done the same way, except the strips were vertically placed.

This was a pretty quick and easy project and turned out better than I expected. Every time I see these totes, they make me smile.


  1. They are lovey bags. It could be used as in a car for long journeys .thank you

    1. Thanks Tracy! That's a great idea to use them for car trips, too. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Replies
    1. I know... every time I see them, I smile. I kind of want to go buy more of that cherry blossom fabric, too. I love it to a ridiculous degree. :)

  3. Fun bags! Thanks so much for sharing at last week's All my Bloggy Friends - Linda and I look forward to seeing what you share this week! :)

  4. Love the little skeleton fabric - Eddie must have loved it! Have you done any other custom totes like this?

    -James from 83 West Studio


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