Tote-ally Awesome

toteDesigner: Sherri K. Falls

Turn a ready-made blank totebag into a canvas for a border of colorful fabric scallops and embroidered details.


  • White 13×1312” canvas totebag
  • Water-soluble marking pen
  • Acrylic ruler
  • Assorted fabric scraps: light blue, taupe, orange
  • Lightweight fusible web (such as Steam-a-Seam)
  • Embroidery floss: taupe, orange, light blue
  • Embroidery needle
  • 5 or 6—34“-diameter buttons in colors to match fabrics
  • Sewing thread: white
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Half-moon pattern

1. Lay totebag on work surface with bottom edge folded flat. Using water-soluble marking pen and an acrylic ruler, mark a straight line 334” above bottom folded edge across front of bag. Mark a second straight line 14” below first marked line and a third straight line 58” below first marked line (Diagram 1).


2. Using a pencil, trace the half-moon pattern onto white paper and cut out. Trace pattern six times onto paper side of fusible web, leaving 1″ space between shapes. Leaving about 14” outside the lines, cut around fusible-web shapes.

3. Using an iron and following fusible web manufacturer’s instructions, press two fusible-web pieces onto back of each fabric scrap. Cut out each shape on the lines for a total of six half-moons.

4. Remove paper backing from each half-moon shape. Place shapes along top marked line on bag with straight edges of each shape on the line and the curved side extending above line. Press shapes with an iron (Diagram 2).

5. Using two strands of taupe embroidery floss, blanket-stitch around edges of each half-moon shape.

6. Using the water-soluble marking pen and the ruler, mark a scallop line 14” around the curved portions of each half-moon shape across front of bag.

7. Use six strands of embroidery floss and a running stitch for all embroidery. Stitch scallop line above half-moon shapes with orange embroidery floss. Stitch first line below half-moon shapes with light blue embroidery floss. Stitch second straight line with taupe embroidery floss.

8. Using a water-soluble marking pen and the ruler, center and mark two parallel lines on each strap, spacing them 12” apart. Stitch lines with light blue floss.

9. Using white sewing thread, stitch a button to center of each half-moon shape. If you like, leave a button off a shape to allow fabric print to show.

10. Lightly mist fabric with water to remove visible water-soluble marking pen lines. Let fabric dry. Press dry fabric with an iron set to a no-steam setting.


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