Trendy Tote Bags

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What You Need:

  • Tote bag in a solid color or subtle pattern
  • Fabric scraps in a variety of colors or patterns (see Step 3)
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Needle
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embellishments such as buttons, ribbons, etc.
  • Cardboard for making patterns (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Have your child sketch out a plan for her design. Remind her that she will want to keep it as simple as possible, so whittle images down to their most basic shapes to achieve the best results. Experiment with simple designs, such as flowers, sailboats, or birds. For example, a bird can be constructed using one curvy shape, a pointy beak, and a triangle wing shape.
  2. Your child can draw her patterns on a sheet of cardboard, then carefully cut them out. If she feels confident enough to draw the design directly on the fabric, feel free to skip this step!
  3. Have your daughter choose her favorite fabrics. If you have leftover fabric floating around, invite her to choose from those options. If not, fabric stores often have bundles of coordinating quilting squares at inexpensive prices. For maximum charm, each element of the design should have its own unique fabric. Trace each piece of the pattern on her chosen fabric.
  4. Pin your child's design to the tote bag, moving the pieces around until she is totally satisfied. When she is happy with the design, help her thread the needle with a full strand of embroidery floss, and ask her to sew around the edges of the design. Have your child decide if she wants the thread to blend in subtly with the fabric, or if she would rather choose a thread that really shows up and provides a stark contrast to the fabric.
  5. Once the pieces are securely attached, remove the pins and ask your child to add some embellishments! Buttons for eyes, fake leaves or petals on flowers, or ribbons for bows are some ideas.

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