Friday, August 24, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Project: DIY Ruffled Tote Bag

Ever since I joined Pinterest last year, I've enjoyed finding great ideas, being inspired, and collecting lots of pins for my boards.  Recently, my goal has been to actually do something with all of that inspiration that's gathered.

My plan was to put together tote bags for the girls for when our baby was born.  Inside would be little handmade matching outfits to wear to the hospital for their first visit, some little gifts to occupy their time while I was in the hospital, and some candy.  So, I cut out the fabric for these little bags, and my son was born the next day, 2 weeks early.  Needless to say, the outfits were not made and the bags were incomplete.  For our road trip a few weeks ago, I finally finished these bags and filled them with special things for the girls to do in the car.

My inspiration was from something I saw on Pinterest, but I wanted to change it a little bit; I wasn't too thrilled about using so much glue for mine, so I decided to sew it onto my bag.

Here's the original picture that inspired me from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom:

This was a really quick project and very easy, even for beginners.  I had the girls choose their fabric from my stash, and then I added the colored ribbon, just using what I had on hand.  The girls loved their bags for the road and now we use them as library bags!  These would make a great gift for a little girl!  What little girl doesn't like having a bag to fill up?  Here's my tutorial, not too different from my inspiration, but I thought I'd share mine with you too.

-plain canvas tote bag {I purchased mine at Wal-Mart, in a pack of 3 for about $5}
-fabric strips
-coordinating thread
-ribbon, or other trims as desired

1. Measure the bag and mark where to put the ruffles.  I only wanted three ruffles on mine, so I made them a bit thicker than my inspiration photo.

2. Cut out the fabric strips to the desired width {mine were 4-inch wide strips} and length {cut a strip twice as long as the width of the bag, plus 1/2 inch}.  My bag was 13.5 inches wide, so I cut my strip 28 inches long.

3. Using a long stitch on your sewing machine, stitch 1/4-inch from the top of the fabric.  Pull on the bottom thread to gather the stitches and create a ruffle.

4. Place fabric strip on lowest marking of the bag, pin in place, gathering more or less as needed to fit the length of the bag, and sew in place with a straight stitch. {make sure you change the stitch between the ruffling and this step!}

5. Repeat with remaining strips, working your way up the bag.

6. Place ribbon over the top ruffled seam, covering the raw edges.  Pin in place and sew.  Then, sew another stitch along the top of the ribbon directly onto the bag.   You can add flowers or other accessories to the bag as well.

Have you done anything with your pins lately?  


  1. This is cute, Lauren! I have a bag up stairs, maybe I will have to do this on it.

    And I don't blamd you at all for wanting to sew and not glue! Smart woman :)

  2. How cute are these bags! You are soo creative!!

  3. These ruffle totes are SO cute! I love your idea for them for when Mason was born! I'm sorry that didn't pan out hah but filling them with things for the car is a great idea too! You are so creative! I also like that you let the girls pick out their fabric :) You're starting those two on their bag/purse collection early! :)


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