Ruffled Tote Bag

Happy Friday! I don’t know about you, but this week went by really slowly for me and I’m looking forward to the weekend.

Earlier this week, I saw something about a “Pinterest Challenge” on one of the craft blogs that I follow. Basically, some ladies got together and decided to host a Pinterest Challenge as an encouragement/motivation for other people to actually make/bake/or otherwise follow through on an idea they pinned on Pinterest. Then, everyone posts their projects in one spot and you can see what other people have made. Basically, show and tell.

I had several project ideas inspired by my Pinterest boards and I had a need for a last minute gift this week so here’s what I chose to make first:

Pinterest Inspiration

My completed version

If you’re interested in making one for yourself, here’s how you can do it:

You will need:

A canvas tote bag

7- 3.5″ strips of fabric that are at least 1.5 times as long as the bag is wide. (You need extra fabric for the ruffle!)

A sewing machine, thread, and a hot glue gun.

1. Cut all of your strips. mine were a little too short so I sewed 2 together to make sure that once I ruffled them, they’d reach all the way across the bag.

2. Press one long edge of the strip up 1/4″. Then press the folded edge up another 1/4″ and hem.

3. Do the same thing for both of the short edges.

4. Press the remaining long edge over 1/4″ and sew a very long running stitch down the strip- do NOT backstitch. Pull the bottom thread on seam and gently gather the strip into a ruffle- making sure to evenly distribute the pleats of the ruffle along the length of the strip.

5. Starting with the bottom ruffle, pin the ruffle in a straight line to the bag and sew it down. (I used my walking foot for this part) This part is the hardest step of the whole process… Make sure that you don’t sew through both layers of canvas bag otherwise, you won’t be able to open it! Also, as  you sew down each successive ruffle, make sure that it is positioned where it can hide the seam of the lower ruffle.

6. When you get to the top ruffle, place it upside down (hemmed end of ruffle at the top of the bag), with the wrong side up, with the ruffled edge along the line where you want to sew it. You will sew it down once like this, then iron it down into place and top stitch across the top of the ruffle hold it nicely in place.

7. Make a fabric flower (or 3)… there are tutorials all over the internet on how to make rolled rosettes and all kinds of different fabric flowers- and attach it to the top of your bag.

Here you can see the rolled rosettes that I pinned to the front- as well as the topstitched, top ruffle.  Now, I just have to fill it with a few things and off it goes!

I think this bag would make a great, inexpensive gift for a girlfriend or another crafter. It goes together pretty quickly- especially if you start with a pre-made bag and yet you can customize it however you want with fabric choices, how many ruffles, flowers, etc.  I hope this inspired you to either try your own ruffled bag OR, to go make something that you’ve pinned on Pinterest! Go check out what other bloggers are doing for the challenge here. And come back tomorrow to see what else I was inspired to make. 🙂



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Categories: Tutorials


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4 Comments on “Ruffled Tote Bag”

  1. February 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    this is awesome!! I have been wanting to make something like this but don’t sew that well and did not know where to start! thanks so much for sharing this!!!

    • February 13, 2012 at 2:45 am #

      You’re welcome! I hope it’s helpful… if you have any questions, let me know and I’d be happy to try to help!

  2. February 13, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    I love it, especially the fabric offset of flowers and squares. Pinning this 🙂

    • February 13, 2012 at 2:45 am #

      Thanks! It was fun… and I’ve already given it away so I might need to make another to keep! 🙂

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