(Looking for more free patterns? Be sure to check out my free patterns and tutorials page here.)
I received this blank canvas tote bag and a few other supplies to try from Fashionartprojects.com. I have several ideas for making some easy embellished tote bags. Luckily, I can buy more of these totes at Walmart. They sell for about $6 for a package of three.
For this project, I wanted to make a project that anyone could do. So I tested out my theory that I could create a ruffled tote bag with absolutely no sewing. And guess what?
It worked! This bag is awesome! (For all the seamstresses out there, you can totally sew this project and I will have some additional instructions at the bottom of the post.) (See *A)
I originally bought this fabric to make a quilt for my daughter, but I wasn't "in love" with it. (I have already bought more fabric for her quilt.) I thought the pinks, greens and yellows in this collection were perfect for a spring tote. I also looked online at Walmart.com and noticed they are now selling some pretty darn cute fat quarter bundles. (Click here to see my search results, they really have some cute ones.) Even though a fat quarter is only 22 inches wide, you can use them for this project. I will show you how at the bottom of the tutorial. (See *B)
Want to get started now or didn't win the give away? Here is how to make your own No Sew Ruffled Tote Bag. (Remember, to see any photo larger, left click and open it in a new tab.)
-About 1/2 yard of fabric (You can do just one fabric or mix several different colors and patterns, you will need more fabric for a larger tote.)
-Ribbon (at least 1/2 inch would be best)
-Fabric marker or chalk
-Hot glue gun and lots of hot glue
First of all, my tote bag measures 13.5 inches wide by about 13 inches tall. So if your bag is similar in size, then no math for you, just use my measurements!
6 strips 28" wide x 2.75" tall
To get the width of your strips, measure the width of the bag, add 1/2 inch and multiply by 2.
To figure out how tall your fabric strips need to be, measure the height your bag, and decide how far up the bag you want the ruffled fabric to go. Take that measurement and divide by how many ruffles you want.
Add 1 inch to that number and that is how tall your fabric strips should be. Here are my measurements as an example:
My ruffle strips were 28 inches wide by 2.75 inches tall
1. Cut out your ruffle strips to your measurements. (I cut 6 strips, 28" x 2.75".) I used my Pinking Shears for the bottom edge to help with the fraying. (This is a must-have tool for sewers IMO.) Regular scissors will be fine, you may have to trim some fraying fibers off every so often, but that is no big deal.
2. Fold over the short edges of each ruffle strip, 1/4 inch. Press firmly with an iron to get a good crease.
|(Ignore my folded up bottom and please excuse the poor quality photo, it was very late...)|
4. Open the folded edge of your fabric strip and add a small line of hot glue, then fold the fabric back over and press.
Do this on all of your fabric strips.
5. Grab your fabric strips and fold into fourths. Make a mark with your fabric marker on each fold. This will divide your fabric in to four equal sections and will help you distribute the ruffles evenly. Do the same thing with the tote bag.
|See how the blue marks divide the bag into 4 equal measurements?|
Keep going until all your ruffles are glued on. Go back and add more glue to any loose areas.
Don't be afraid to practice your ruffling first. I practiced on paper and scraps from an old t-shirt:
7. Next we will add the ribbon trim. Cut a piece of ribbon to the length of your bag plus 1/2 an inch. Use a lighter to heat seal your cut ribbon edges. Fold over one of the ends of the ribbon 1/4 inch, add a drop of glue and squeeze with your fingers; like this:
8. Starting with the edge of ribbon you folded over, add hot glue to the back of the ribbon and attach it along the top edge of your top ruffle, concealing the glued ruffle part of the fabric.
9. Add a spot of glue to any extra ribbon and fold over to make a smooth hemmed edge, then add a little more glue and secure to the bag.
|Yuck! I hate it when my camera focuses on the wrong subject. Bad camera!|
I added another color of smaller ribbon and a fabric flower for a little pop! (You can find the fabric flower tutorial here.)
*A. Sewing instructions: After you cut your fabric, fold over the short edges of each ruffle strip, 1/4 inch. Press firmly with an iron to get a good crease. Sew along the pressed edge, 1/8 inch from the edge. Do this on all of the short edges.
Follow the ruffling tutorial found here to ruffle your fabric strips. Pin your ruffles to the bag and sew right over the ruffling stitch. Do this for all of your ruffles.
When you get to the last ruffle, follow the instructions at step 7. You can sew your ribbon on or just glue it.
*B: Using fat quarters: Cut enough fabric so when you line up the fat quarters, they will equal the fabric strip width you figured earlier PLUS 1/2 inch. Fold, iron and glue all the short edges to make a nice side hem on all the fabric strips.
Divide the fabric in to 4 equal parts and mark like we did in step 5. (Pin the two fabric end pieces together if that helps.)
Start attaching your ruffles. When you get to the end of one fabric piece, just start with the other and finish the ruffle. You can barely tell where one piece ends and the other begins.
If you are inspired to create something based on this tutorial, I would love to see it! I have created a new Flickr Group for you to share your creations. Here is the link: Creations inspired by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom. (Please share, you might get featured!)
And just to prove it is not all cupcakes and roses all the time over here. That face, oh my...
I will be linking up to some of the linky parties listed on this page.