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Quilted iPad Tote with Embroidery

For this iPad tote we have chosen the design The Pine, St.Tropez based on the Paul Signac painting. You can find it in the Fine Art Section of our Catalog.

The finished tote measures 14" high x 12" wide x 2" deep.

For the bag, you will need

  • light-colored cotton fabric (white, cream, pale yellow)
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the outer bag,
  • 1/2" fabric for the lining and
  • polyester craft felt for the batting. You can also use your favourite medium-weight batting instead of felt.
We recommend to make the embroidery first, then select fabric for the bag based on the colors of the stitch-out. Please note that the embroidery will look different depending on the color of the fabric around it. You might want to try pink, blue, purple or rust hues. We chose a rust-colored batik with blue and orange sparkles and rusty-orange lining.

For embroidery, you will need embroidery thread and medium- to heavy-weight iron-on stabilizer or polyester craft felt. We prefer to use the latter instead of regular stabilizer.

You will also need quilting threads, bias tape of a matching color, boning 1/2" wide and 11 1/2" long . Instead of boning, which you can find in sewing stores, we used plastic mesh for needlework, which is easier to find in craft stores.


For the bag, we embroidered the design for a commercial grade hoop.
Stabilize a piece of light fabric with medium- to heavy-weight iron-on cut-away stabilizer. We prefer to use polyester craft felt intead of stabilizer. Hoop the stabilized fabric and make the embroidery.

Cut away the stabilizer/felt close to the stitches. Cut away the fabric around the stitch-out leaving margins 1/4" for seam allowance.

Making the Panels

In this project we use the largest stitch-out of the design, its finished size is about 8" x 10". If you use a smaller stitch-out, please note that you need to cut the wider strips to sew around the embroidery. The size of the panels before quilting and trimming should be at least 16" wide and 19" high.

Measure the left and right sides of the embroidered piece (don't forget to add seam allowance). Cut 2 strips 3" wide and the length of the measured sides. Sew the strips to the left and right sides of the embroidered piece. Unfold the strips and press.

iPad Tote 1

Measure the lower edge of the working piece and cut out a strip 3" wide and the length of the lower edge.

Sew the strip to the lower edge. Unfold and press the strip.

iPad Tote 2

Measure the upper edge of the working piece and cut out a strip 8" wide and the length of the upper edge.

Sew the strip to the upper edge. Unfold and press the strip.

iPad Tote 3

Measure the rectangle you've got. Out of the fabric for the outer bag, cut another rectangle of the same size for the back panel.

Out of fabric for the lining and batting, cut two rectangles 1" wider and longer than the front of the bag. Place the the lining, face down, on the working table, cover with batting and spread your front (embroidered) and back panels over it. Pin the sandwiches with pins.

iPad Tote 4

Quilt both panels in a free-motion style, removing the pins while quilting. When quilting the front panel, use invisible thread to quilt though the embroidery. You do not need to quilt the embroidery very densely. We quilted around the tree and the silhouettes in the background.

Press both panels with heavy steam and trim to get two rectangles of the same size. First trim the front panel: leave 1 1/2" margins on the bottom, left and right edges. Leave a 7" margin on the upper edge. Measure the panel and trim the back panel to the same size.

iPad Tote 5

On a piece of paper draw a template for the handle. Start with a line 4" long. Mark the center of the line - 2" from each end. Draw a 2 1/2" line perpendicular to the center of the first line. Connect all three endpoints with an arc.

iPad Tote 6

Cut out the paper template. To be sure that the arc is the same on both sides of the perpendicular line, fold the template in half and with scissors trim the arc to make it symmetrical.

Position the template on the front panel 1 1/2" above the embroidery and equal distances from either edge.

Trace the template, then cut out the opening for the handle. Position the panels back to back, aligning all edges. Trace the outline of the opening on the back panel. Then cut it out.

Finish the raw edges with the bias tape. For the handles it's better to use narrow single-folded tape. If you make the bias yourself, you need to cut the strips 1" wide.

Fold the upper edges of the panels about 1/2" back and press. Fold again, now about 3/4" and press again. Pin, if needed. Topstitch in place close to the folded edge.

Out of plastic mesh for needlework, cut 2 strips, measuring 1/2" x 11". Insert them inside the folded upper edges. Position them so they are at least 1/4" from the edges.

If you want a pocket, sew it out of the lining fabric and attach to the back panel now.

Making the Sides and the Bottom of the Bag:

The sides and bottom are made from one long strip. To get the length of the strip, measure the length of the bottom edge of a bag panel, and measure each side length up to the bottom edge of the handle (see diagram below; the length that needs to be measure is marked with a solid red line).

iPad Tote 7

Out of the fabric for the outer bag, lining and batting, cut strips measuring 3" wide and 1" longer than your measurement. Make a sandwich, pin the layers, then densely quilt, removing the pins while quilting. Press with steam.

Trim the strip - its width should be 2 1/2" and its length should be the measured perimeter.

Finish the short sides of the strip with the bias tape.

iPad Tote 8


Pin the strip along the edges of the front panel.

Then top-stitch in place. Repeat for the back panel.

Finish the raw edges with the bias tape. For the sides, we used single-fold wide tape. If you make the bias yourself, cut the strips 1 1/2" wide.

The bag is ready.


Happy Stitching!

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