Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sew Sweet Ric Rac Canvas Tote Bag: A Tutorial

Who says a sturdy canvas bag has to be boring?  The moment I saw this adorable canvas I knew I wanted to make a bag out of it, but I couldn't figure out how to give it the right look for this Kawaii-style print.  It's so happy & bright, I wanted it to be a bag I'd use a lot, but not too fiddly to make.  And then I realized it just needed a little something to make it perfect: Ric rac!!

Adding some jumbo ric rac gives this tote a little extra personality & whimsy:

It's really strong thanks to a layer of canvas both inside & out.  And it has some practical inner pockets and simple snap close for toting everything I need.  Most of all, I love how the curvy border compliments all the smiley clouds, flowers and hearts.  Added bonus: it was a cinch to make!

Want to give it a try?

You'll Need:
- 1 yd canvas.
- 1 1/4 yds jumbo ric rac (1 inch wide)
Sewing Notions (shears/rotary cutter, ruler, disappearing marker, iron & ironing board)
- 1 plastic snap (I get mine at

Cut four 17 in wide x 13 in high rectangles for the outer & lining, two 4 in high x 30 in wide strips for the straps and one 7 in high x 10 in wide rectangle for the inner pocket.

To create the rounded bottom corners, simply use a glass or mason jar to trace curves with the disappearing marker on the rectangles and the cut:

Align the ric rac along the side and bottom edges of one of the outer pieces, so the ric rac is onlys sticking out about 1/4 inch outside the fabric edge and baste into place 1/4 inch inside the edge.  Go slow around the corners to keep the ric rac nice & flat.

With rights facing pin, then stitch together sides and bottom with a 3/8 inch seam allowance and then clip around curved corners.  Turn right side out and press around seam so the ric rac will lay flat.  This makes that perfect wavy border.

Take pocket piece and fold over top edge 1/4 inch and fold again, press & stitch across.  Then fold in and press remaining sides 1/4 inch.  Center pocket on one side of lining and stitch together along sides & bottom of pocket close to the edge.  I also stitched an off-center line to make the pocket into two (one for holding my wallet, the other for things like lip balm & pens).  Stitch together the lining pieces on sides & bottom.

Fold strap pieces in half lengthwise and stitch along one end and length with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Clip corners and turn right side out.  Press straps flat and topstitch. Center strap short ends 3 inches inward from bag sides, as shown, on both outer halves.  Sew into place 1/4 inch from top edge.  Stitch over a second time to reinforce.

Insert outer bag into lining, with right sides facing, and pin around top raw edges.  Sew together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, leaving a 3 inch gap for turning.  Turning right side out, press and then topstitch all the way around top to close and reinforce the straps.

I also set a plastic snap in the center for any easy closure with my handy snap press.  Now there's a durable bag with just the right touch of sweetness:)

I'm also sharing this project with my FAVE LINK PARTIES.
Click HERE to check them out!


  1. That is the most adorable fabric, and I love the little "we make you smile" blocks, because it truly does! Great call on the ric rac too. It really is the perfect touch!

  2. I love your cute ric rac design with this sweet happy fabric. It makes me smile and want to carry one just like it!

  3. Super cute bag made with super cute fabric! I love it!

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party

  4. How cute is this. Ric-Rac is the best and I love how you used it! Thanks for sharing! I’d love for you to visit us at Get Your Crap Together!

  5. This is super cute! I would love for you to share this @ Krista

  6. You always make it look so easy! Easy enough for me to actually dare to try!!
    Thanks so much for sharing your cute ideas and wonderful projects with us for my party. It's always to fun to come over here!!

  7. LOVE IT! I want one!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer… From Dream To Reality! I’m looking forward to seeing your next creation tomorrow evening!

  8. This is really cute! I love that fabric, so Fun!

  9. Adorable pattern and ric rac just completes it.

  10. It's so pretty and happy. Thank you for sharing this at the Anything Blue Friday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see you again at the bash. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse


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