Finishing Techniques: How to Make a Cross Stitch Tote Bag

How to Make a Cross Stitch ToteDisplay Your Cross Stitch Designs on Tote Bags!

Have you ever finished cross stitching a beautiful piece and wondered, “what now?”  If you’re like me, you love cross stitching, but you run out of places to display your work.  Well, here is one suggestion for you.  Don’t just display it, make a tote bag and attach your beautiful cross stitch picture to the bag.   Then you can take it with you!

Seems like I am constantly in need of tote bags.  I often carry things back and front from my parents home to mine.  Or, to my daughter.  Tote bags are in high demand in our family for sure.  Once you have made your first tote bag and people see it, I have no doubt your work will be in high demand too.

Note:  Instructions and pattern for Tigger shown above is from Pooh Merry Christmas to You by Leisure Arts.


How to Make a Tote Bag

Supplies Needed

Finished Cross Stitch Design
Fabric for Tote Bag
Lining Fabric
Lightweight Fusible Interfacing
¼” Diameter Cording
2″ Wide Bias Tape
Cording Fabric

A Sewing Machine


Step by Step Instructions for Making a Cross Stitch Tote Bag

Here are the instructions for making a 14″ x 14½” tote bag.  Use a 1/2″ seam allowance for this sewing project.

Preparing the Cross Stitch Piece

Step 1: Trim your cross stitched piece to the desired finished size, plus 1/2″ seam allowance on all sides.
Step 2: Fuse lightweight fusible interfacing to the wrong side (back side) of the stitched piece.


Step 3:  Cut fabric pieces for the tote.
Pieces Needed to Cut
Two 15½” x 16″ Pieces of Exterior Fabric
Two 15½” x 16″ Pieces of Lining Fabric
Two 3½” x 21″ Strip pieces of Exterior Fabric for Straps
Cut One Length of Cording the same length as the outer edge of you stitched piece, plus 3″
Cut One Bias Strip the same length as the cord

Sewing the Cording

Step 4:  Center the cording on the wrong side of your bias strip.  Matching the long edges, fold the fabric strip over the cording.  Use your machine zipper foot to baste the bias fabric next to the cording, stretching the fabric as necessary.

Step 5:  Beginning 1″ from one end, baste the covered cording to your cross stitched piece.  Leaving the piece under the machine needle, clip the seam allowances at the corners so the cording will lay flat.  Cut off one end of the cording so that it overlaps the other end by 1″.  Open and hold the fabric on the overlapping end away from the cording, cut the ends of the cording so they butt together.  Fold the loose end of the fabric under 1/2″,  lap it around the other end and continue stitching the cording to the cross stitched piece.  Press the seam allowances to the wrong side of the stitched piece.


Attach the Framed Piece to the Front Fabric

Step 6:  Center and attach the cross stitched piece to the front piece of the tote with pins.  Using the zipper foot, stitch “in the ditch” between the stitched piece and the cording to firmly attach the cross stitched piece to the front side of the tote.

Make the Straps and Finish

Step 7:  Make the straps for the tote next.  Start by pressing the long edges 1/2″ to the wrong side of the fabric.  Then fold the strap in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together and press.  Stitch 1/8″ from the pressed edges.

Step 8:  Match the raw edges together.  Baste the ends of the strap to the top edge of the tote front, 3″ from the side edges.

Step 9:  Repeat steps 7 & 8 to make the strap for the back piece.

Step 10:  Sew top edge of tote front to the top edge of one lining piece.  Open it out flat.

Step 11:  Repeat step 10 for the tote back with second lining piece.

Step 12:  Match the right side of the lining and front side to the right side of the lining and back side together.  Stitch around the entire piece leaving and opening in the lining for turning.  Trim the corner seam allowances diagonally.

Step 13:  Turn the tote right side out and press.  Slip-stitch the lining closed.

Step 14:  Insert the lining into the bag and press the top.

How to Make a Cross Stitched Tote Bag