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Tote Bag with Art Nouveau Flower Block Embroidery
Welcome to our sewing and embroidery tutorial, where we'll guide you through creating a stylish tote bag adorned with an Art Nouveau Flower Block embroidery design. This tutorial is designed for those with basic sewing skills, offering a step-by-step approach to seamlessly combine sewing and machine embroidery techniques. Follow along as we transform a simple tote into a unique and artistic accessory, blending practicality with a touch of timeless elegance. Let's dive into the art of crafting a personalized tote bag that reflects your creativity and individual style.

The designs we used on the front and back panels of the tote are from the Art Nouveau Flower Block Set

The finished size of the bag is about 16"W x 12"H x 4"D.
Finished tote bag with embroidery. Front panel.


You will need :
  • embroidery threads, you can either use our color card, or choose your own colors;
  • about 1 yard of denim fabric for the outer bag;
  • 1/2 yard of cotton fabric for the lining;
  • medium-weight cut-away embroidery stabilizer;
  • FF78F1 Flex-Foam by Pellon or a similar stabilizer.
Photo of Flex-Foam batting by pellon
If you are a fan of upcycling, you can use old jeans for the project. Cut them near the seams, wash, air dry and press the pieces.
Pieces of cut old jeans

You will also need:
  • quilter's ruler,
  • rotary cutter and/or scissors,
  • tailor's chalk pencil,
  • iron,
  • #12 universal needle, and sewing thread,
  • #16 jeans needle and extra strong thread for jeans
  • magnetic snap closure or sew-on snap closure 1/2" large.
Snaps, needles and thread for the project

Embroidery:
Select threads. Stabilize pieces of denim fabric with medium-weight cut-away stabilizer. Hoop the fabric tightly. Upload the files from the Art Nouveau Flower Block Set into your machine. Embroider them, 6 designs for the front and 6 designs for the back panels.
Press the stitch-outs and trim the pieces in the following way.

The upper row on the panel:
  • The left stitch-out should have 3 1/2" margins on the top and on the left, 1" margins on the bottom and on the right edges.
  • The middle stitch-out should have 3 1/2" margin on the top and 1" margins on the bottom, right and left edges.
  • The right stitch-out should have 3 1/2" margins on the top and right edges and 1" margins on the left and bottom edges.
3 stitch-outs trimmed to make the upper row of a panel.
Sew the stitch-outs together in a row, seam allowanse is 1/2". Press the seam open.
3 stitch-outs sewn together.
The bottom row on the panel:
  • The left stitch-out should have 3 1/2" margins on the bottom and on the left edges, 1" margins on the uppper and on the right edges.
  • The middle stitch-out should have 3 1/2" margin on the bottom and 1" margins on the upper, right and left edges.
  • The right stitch-out should have 3 1/2" margins on the bottom and right edges and 1" margins on the upper and left edges.
3 stitch-outs trimmed to make the lower row of a panel.

Sew the stitch-outs together in a row, seam allowance is 1/2". Press the seam open.
3 stitch-out sewn together.
In the same way trim the stitch-outs for the back panel.
Sewing the Outer Bag:
Sew the rows together, seam allowance 1/2". Press the seam opem.
The front panel of the bag.

Repeat for the back panel.
The back panel of the bag.
Spread each panel on a piece of batting. Please note that the piece of batting should be 1" larger on all sides than the panels.
The front panel on a piece of batting.
If you are using fusible batting, follow the manufacturer's instructions to attach the panel to the batting. If your batting is not fusible, use a temporary fabric adhesive. We used KK2000 by Sulky.
Sulky temporary fabric adhesive.
Topstitch 1/4" on both sides of each seam.
Topstitch 1/4" on both sides of each seam.
Trim the batting. Check that both panels are of the same size. Ours are 17 1/2" x 15 1/2". Trim if needed.
Handles
Out of denim fabric, cut 2 strips measuring 2 1/2" x 30" each.
Out of lining fabric, cut 2 strips measuring 2 1/2" x 30" each.
Fold and press the long edges of the strips 1/2" on the wrong side.
2 strips for the handles with folded and presses long edges.

Position and pin the denim and lining strips wrong sides together.
Position and pin the denim and lining strips wrong sides together.

Topstitch along the edges 1/8" and 1/4" from both edges.
The strips turned to the right side.
Pin one handle to the upper edge of the front panel, equal distance from the side edges and the short ends of the handle protruding 1" beyond the upper edge of the panel.
Pin one handle to the upper edge of the front panel

Pin one handle to the upper edge of the front panel

Topstitch the handle to the panel 1/4" from the edge.
Attach the handle to the back panel in the same way.
Topstitch the handle to the panel 1/4" from the edge.

Out of denim fabric, cut 2 strips measuring 2 1/2" x 17 1/2".
Fold and press 1/2" back one of the long edges of each strip.
Fold and press 1/2" back one of the long edges of each strip.

Pin the strips, face to face, with the raw edges along the upper edge of each of the panels.
Pin the strips along the upper edge of each of the panels.

Stitch the strips in place twice, seam allowance 1/2" and 1/4".
Stitch the strips in place, seam allowance 1/2".

On the lower edge of both panels, cut out 2" x 2" squares at the corners.
On the lower edge of both panels, cut out 2" x 2" squares at the corners.

On the lower edge of both panels, cut out 2" x 2" squares at the corners.

On the lower edge of both panels, cut out 2" x 2" squares at the corners.

Position the panels face to face, align all edges. Pin the bottom. Stitch together along the bottom with seam allowance 1/2".
Align the edges of the panels. Stitch together along the bottom.

Open and press the seam. Topstitch 1/4" on both sides of the seam.
Bottom seam pressed open.

Topstitch 1/4" on both sides of the seam.

Fold the bag with right sides together, unfold the upper strips and align all edges. Stitch one of the sides, seam allowance 1/2".
Fold the bag with right sides together, unfold the upper edges and align all edges.

Unfold and press the seam. Topstitch 1/4" on each side of the seam.
Repeat for the second side.
Topstitch 1/4" on both sides of the seam.

Fold the bottom of the bag so that the bottom and the side seams align. Pin.
Align the bottom and side seams at the bottom.

Stitch. Seam allowance 1/2". Stitch several parallel lines.
Stitch with several parallel lines.
Fold the upper edge back, handles out, pin. Topstitch along the upper edge and over the handles, seam allowance 1/4".

The Lining:
Out of the fabric for the lining, cut
  • 2 pieces measuring 17 1/2" x 15 1/2" and
  • 1-2 pieces measuring 6 1/2" x 11" for the pockets.
Fold the 6" x 11 1/2" piece widthwise in half, face inwards. Stitch along 2 sides, seam allowance 1/4". Turn right side out. Press.

Tuck the unfinished raw edge 1/2" inside. Press. Topstitch it closed.
If you are making 2 inner pockets, repeat for the remaining piece.
On the lower edge of both panels, cut out 2" x 2" squares at the corners.
On the lower edge of both panels, cut out 2" x 2" squares at the corners.
Pin the pockets to the lining panels about 3" from the upper edges and equal distance from the sides.
Stitch the pockets in place.
Pin the pockets to the lining panels about 3" from the upper edges and equal distance from the sides.

Position the panels face to face, align all edges. Pin the bottom. Stitch together along the bottom with seam allowance 1/2". Press the seam open.
Fold again, face inside and align the edges.
Fold again, face inside and align the edges.

One by one stitch the sides, seam allowance 1/2", press the seams open.
One by one stitch the sides, seam allowance 1/2", press the seams open.

Fold the bottom of the bag so that the bottom and the side seams align. Pin.
Stitch, seam allowance 1/4".
Fold the bottom of the bag so that the bottom and the side seams align. Pin.

Finishing:
Turn the lining right side out. Insert the outer bag into the lining, wrong sides together. Align the side seams.
Insert the outer bag into the lining, wrong sides together.

Fold the upper strip back over the lining and pin.
Fold the upper strip back over the lining and pin.

If you use a magnetic snap, attach it now. If you use a sew-on snap, you can sew it on later. Stitch the lining to the bag by hand.
Topstitch 1/4" from the upper edge of the bag.
Topstitch 1/4" from the upper edge of the bag.

Sew on the snap.
Sew-on snap attached to the bag.

The lining of the bag.

Have fun!
Finished bag, back panel.
Finished bag, back panel close-up.

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