October 1, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today’s tutorial does some double duty as it features embroidery and allows you to travel with embroidery or needlework projects. I was having a tricky time trying to cart around my current WIPs, so I thought a little travel tote would be excellent to feature a completed piece of embroidery while I worked on some stitches. 

I used the Reginald hummingbird pattern from our Midsummer Stitchalong, designed by Megan Eckman of Studio M.M.E as the main exterior panel of this tote. If you downloaded the pattern and didn't get to work on it, maybe now you can!

In order to make this tote you will need:

- Two exterior panels of fabric measuring 13-inches long by 18-inches wide
- One interior panel of fabric 25-inches long by 18-inches wide
- Batting a bit larger than 25x18-inches
- Two pieces of fabric for the large pocket measuring 13x11-inches
- Two pieces of fabric for the small pocket measuring 7x5.5-inches
- One piece of felt 7x5.5-inches
- Two pieces of fabric for the handles 18x4-inches 
- Sewing machine & coordinating thread
- Embroidery supplies
- Iron and Ironing board

Step One: Transfer and stitch your pattern.

Step Two: For both the large and small pockets, place the fabric right sides together and stitch around with a ¼-inch seam allowance. Leave a 2-inch space open in order to flip the pocket inside out. 

Step Three: Clip the corners of the pocket pieces and flip. Press the pocket pieces. Top stitch the edge of each pocket piece that had the opening used to flip. This will be the top edge of the pocket.

Step Four: Take the interior 25x18-inch piece of fabric and place it on top of the batting. Arrange the pockets so the openings of the pockets are facing away from each other. Add the piece of felt next to the small pocket. Only one edge of the felt will be stitched to the panel of fabric. Pin in place. 

I pinned my pockets to show you where we will be sewing them to the interior panel. Once everything is pinned, stitch through the fabric and batting to attach all pieces together. 

Step Five: Take the two exterior pieces of fabric place right sides together and attach them using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Make sure to stitch along the bottom edge and keep your embroidery right side up so it isn’t upside down when added to the rest of the tote. Press the seam open.

Step Six: To make the straps of the tote, fold the fabric in half length-wise and press. Unfold and fold each long edge in toward the fold you just created. Press again. Fold in half using the initial fold you created, and stitch along the long edge. Repeat for the second strap.

Step Seven: Place the straps along the shorter edges of the tote. I placed each edge of the strap 5-inches away from each side. Pin in place. 

Step Eight: With right sides together, place the exterior piece over the interior. Pin in place. Stitch along the outside edges of the whole tote with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Leave a 2-inch space open for flipping the tote inside out. Trim the batting & fabric, clip the edges, and flip.

Step Nine: Press the whole tote, making sure to press around your embroidery, not directly on the stitches. Top stitch around the entire exterior edge of the tote with a 1/4 inch seam allowance or less. This will close up the space we used to flip the tote and reinforce our handles.

Step Ten: Place your needlework project in the large pocket and floss and scissors in the small pocket. Pin your needles to the felt, fold the tote in half, and you are set to go!

Hope you enjoy this tutorial and have a chance to give it a try! Have a great Tuesday!

Hi, I'm Kristen! I am a lover of all things stitchy and crafty. I have been sewing for as long as I can remember. My grandmother taught me how to sew Barbie clothes when I was young and I have been sewing ever since.

You can find me at Bobbypin Bandit, on Instagram, and my Etsy shop.


  1. I love the Day of the Dead skull, where can I find the pattern?

  2. This is a fab idea and I am definitely going to give it a go. It will have to wait till december though (grrr!). Thanks for sharing this with us! xoxo

  3. Two thumbs up for the idea, instructions and beauty. Thank you!

  4. Hi Sherri! It's actually a drawing of my sister's that I transferred to fabric. A smaller version of the skull is for sale in her shop as a postcard, available here: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/88190283/skelly-love-5-postcard-set?ref=shop_home_active