How to Sew & Applique a Tote Bag

Posted on July 12, 2021 by Shavonne Cruz

Have you ever fallen in love with trim or a stunning applique and didn't quite know what to do with it? In this post, I'm going to show you how to spice up a simple tote bag using one of Mood Fabrics' beautiful oversized patches! As soon as I saw these patches, I knew I had to find creative ways to use them. So grab a large tote bag if you have one laying around, (I'm sure I'm not the only one), or follow along as I show you how to draft your very own. Either way, you'll have a cute fashionable tote in no time! Try using Mood's Cotton Canvas or Denim as a great option if you decide to start your tote from scratch!

Alternative Recommended Fabrics:

Tote Pattern Measurements: (Add 1/2" seam allowance)

Bag: 19"x19"

Straps: 24"x1.5"

Step 1: Measure the size of your patch to make sure it will fit nicely on the front of your bag.

Step 2: With the right side together, pin your front and back pieces along the sides and bottom edge.

*Note: If you are making your bag, it will be ideal to sew on the patch before joining the front and back pieces together. However, I will be showing you how to apply the patch if you are using a finished tote as well.

Step 3: Sew along the side seams and the bottom of the bag. Trim off approximately 1/4" of the excess seam allowance.

Step 4: Finish the edges with a serger or an overedge stitch to reduce fraying.

Step 5: Turn your bag right side out and press. Finish the opened edge by stitching a 1/2" rolled hem. Give it a nice press when done.

Step 6: Place the right side of your straps together, pin, and stitch along the sides only. Leave the top and bottom edges open. Trim off 1/4" of the excess seam allowance. Turn straps right side out and press.

Step 7: Fold the top and bottom opening of your straps back 1/2" and press. Begin topstitching your straps about 1/4" away from the edge. Set your straps aside for now.

Sewing the Patch:

A patchwork stitch or zig-zag stitch will work best. You want to make sure you adjust your presser foot accordingly. I used a patchwork stitch setting on my machine along with a satin stitch foot.

You can apply fusible interfacing to the wrong side of your patch before cutting to help keep the edges from fraying. I like my edges to fray ever so slightly so I chose not to fuse the back.

Once you have your patch trimmed down to your liking, position it onto the center front of your bag.

Here's the tricky part: if you are using a ready-made bag. You want to make sure that you pin the patch only to the front of the bag without pining through to the back. Now that your patch is pinned in place, slide the bag onto your machine through the opening of the bag. Position it under the presser foot right at the edge of the patch and stitch. Go slow, turn and pivot along all edges nice and neatly. You'll have to adjust and maneuver the bag as you go, but it is not hard to do at all. I doubled up on my stitching, so I went around the edge twice.

Give it a good press when you are done! Now let's finish up our bag.

Step 8: Pin your straps to the front of the bag approximately 3/4" away from the edge. Use a box stitch to secure the straps in place. Give your bag one good final press and that's it, you're done!

For an added touch, add your favorite scarf, or create one using fabric scraps. The more you personalize it, the better!

How to Sew & Applique a Tote Bag - Mood Sewciety
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