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Easy Tote Bag with Ballerina Silhouettes

This easy-to-sew tote bag features the designs from the Ballerina Silhouette Set for a large (5" x 7") hoop.

The roomy tote is about 14" high x 16" wide x 4" deep.

You will need :

  • embroidery threads (either rayon or polyester);
  • light-weight iron-on tear-away or cut-away stabilizer,
  • 1/2 yard of navy blue canvas fabric,
  • a piece of white canvas fabric,
  • 1 1/2 yard of white 1" wide polypropelene webbing,
  • dual duty sewing thread and #14 sewing needle,
  • quilter's ruler and rotary cutter, or pencil and scissors,
  • scraps of tulle, organza, or organdy ribbon for the ballerinas' tutus,
  • small embellishments such as silk or satin ribbons, seed beads, small flowers (optional)


Out the navy blue canvas, cut

  • 1 piece measuring 16 1/2" x 18" (front panel) and
  • 1 piece measuring 18 1/2" x 18" (back panel).
Out of white canvas, cut a strip measuring 2 1/2" x 18".

Cut the webbing in half, each handle will be about 26"-27". If you need longer handles, you will have to get a longer piece of webbing.

Before you start, finish all raw edges with zig-zag or a serger.

Making the Front Panel:

Note: seam allowance is 1/2", press each seam after you made it.

Sew the white strip to the left edge of the navy blue 16 1/2" x 18" panel.

Open the seam allowance and press it open.

Using a decorative stitch from the machine, topstitch along the seam with a contrast thread (we used white thread).

Right Side

Wrong Side


There are 3 files in the set. Decide on the position of each silhouette on the front panel of the tote. Paper templates might be helpful.

Stabilize the panel with the light-weight iron-on tear- or cutaway stabilizer. Hoop the fabric.

Upload the files into the machine and embroider them one by one.

If you want your ballerinas to wear 3D tutus, make them now: cut a small strip of tulle, or organza ribbon, baste the upper edge and pull the thread to make the tutu fit a ballerina's waist. Pin, then topstitch in place.

Sewing the Tote:

Note: seam allowance is 1/2", press each seam after you made it.

Position the panels face to face, align all edges.
Stitch along the bottom.
Open the seam and press it open.

Topstitch 1/4" on both sides of the seam. We used threads of a contrast color (white).

Fold the upper edges of each panel 1"-1 1/2" back and press. Unfold.

Align the sides. Stitch them together. Open and press the seams.

Make box corners at the bottom. For this separate the front and back sides at the corners. Center the seams on each side of the corner on top of each other.

Measure 1 1/2" along the seam from the corner and draw a line perpendicular to the seam across the corner.

Topstitch-stitch along the line. Do not trim the seam.

Fold the corners onto the sides. With several hand stitches, attach the corners to the seam allowance, then topstitch them to the sides.

Fold the upper edge back along the creased line. Top-stitch with a contast thread.

Mark the position of the handles and topstitch them in place.

If you'd like, add some embellishments to your ballerinas.


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