If you are anything like me, you have a large collection of promotional tote bags. These bags are given out everywhere and add up fast. I must have at least 10 in my closet. Actually, I’m a pack rat, so that’s probably a low estimate!
Although these bags are perfect for shopping and carrying groceries, I must admit that I don’t like carrying bags with huge logos. They’re just not cute!
I decided to give one of these carryalls a tote bag makeover, and I couldn’t be happier with the result!
I’ve attended a lot of events lately, and there’s always a swag bag at the end. I’m not one to say no to free stuff, and some of the bags have have been really nice. There’s always that ever present logo though.
A sturdy canvas tote is the perfect beach bag, so I started thinking about how I could give mine a makeover. A little fabric and ribbon was all I needed to tackle this bag upgrade.
The best part of this makeover? There’s no sewing involved! I used Stitch Witchery, a fusible bonding web. It holds seams together with no stitching required, just a hot iron.
My tote bag turned out so cute, and I like how this project can be customized with different fabrics and ribbon.
- canvas tote bag
- decorative fabric
- Stitch Witchery (no sew fusible bonding web)
- iron on studs
Start by measuring the pocket on your tote bag, if it has one. Cut the decorative fabric to the same dimensions, plus an extra 1/2-inch on all sides.
Fold each side over by 1/2-inch and then iron the seam flat.
Tip: if your bag does not have a pocket, you can add one to cover up the promotional printing. Measure the area where you want the pocket, then cut out your decorative fabric to the same dimensions, plus 1-inch extra on all sides. Fold the edge over 1/2-inch, then iron flat. Fold the edge over another 1/2-inch and iron flat. The raw edges of your fabric should be enclosed in the seam.
Go over the fabric with a hot iron to fuse the seam together. Repeat the process on the remaining seams.
My fabric came from an old shirt, and one of my edges was already finished (the narrow seam on the upper left). Lucky me, I only needed to finish three sides of my fabric piece!
Cut a piece of Stitch Witchery to fit the width of your pocket. Place your fabric over the Stitch Witchery, wrong side facing the tote.
Iron the fabric onto the tote. Once the fabric is fused to the tote, continue adding strips of Stitch Witchery and ironing until the fabric is completely attached to the pocket. You can add more than one strip at a time.
Tip: if your bag does not have a pocket, just apply the Stitch Witchery around the left, right, and bottom edges of the fabric. Iron it on to create the pocket. Better yet, stitch around the pocket with needle and thread or with a sewing machine to ensure it stays attached.
You’ll attach the ribbon to the straps next. Start by lining up the Stitch Witchery with the bottom of one strap. Lay the ribbon over the Stitch Witchery, then iron the ribbon in place. Repeat to cover the rest of the strap.
Tip: I recommend working on a small portion of the strap, instead of trying to attach all the ribbon at once. Lay out the Stitch Witchery, cover it with ribbon, iron it in place, then more onto the next section. It’s easier to keep everything lined up that way.
Simply place them on the edge of the pocket wherever you’d like them, then place the iron over the top of one stud. Hold the iron in place about 30 seconds or until the stud is attached to the fabric. Repeat with the remaining studs.
This tote bag makeover is super flexible, so feel free to add your own touch. You could create a monogram with iron on letters or add some decorative patches. The only limit is your imagination!
They were super easy to use though, and I love how they add a little edge to this red, white, and blue bag.
I also love the mixed prints! If you’ve never combined multiple prints before, try to select a small print and a large print, like I did with the dots and paisley below. Complementary colors also help make the two prints work together.