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Dress up a boring old tote bag with this easy sewing project from Heather Valentine. All it takes is some scrap fabric and basic sewing skills to make the Fabric Frill Tote. Your plain canvas bag will be reborn with a few fancy fabric frills.

Fabric Frill Tote

Fabric Frill Tote


  • Tote bag
  • Strips of fabric (I used two patterns)


  1. Determine what direction you would like your ruffles to go in and how many ruffles you would like. I made mine vertical and used two different ruffles. My tote bag is small (11 inches tall x 8 inches wide), so you may need to adjust your ruffle sizing. (Note: If I did it again, I would make them smaller.)
  2. Rip your larger ruffle 4 1/2 inches wide x 22 inches long. Rip your smaller ruffle 2 1/2 inches wide x 21 inches long. (Ruffle length is roughly double the length of the bag.)
  3. Fold the top edge of your ruffle strips under about 1/2 inch for a clean edge; pin in place at top and bottom. (Note: It is important to pin at the bottom. At first I did not, and my ruffle curved towards the center. I had to rip out a few stitches, pin in place, and restitch.
  4. Using your machine on a standard straight stitch, stitch down the center of the ruffle. As you are stitching with the needle in the down position, lift up your presser foot and bunch up the fabric into a ruffle. This is very free form; if you are looking for something more uniform, pin your ruffles in place. Just be sure not to stitch through your pins.
  5. When you come to the bottom of your ruffle, turn under about 1/2 inch of each ruffle for a clean edge. Be sure to back stitch at top and bottom.
  6. You are finished! I added a zipper flower pin for a fun embellishment.

Fabric Frill Tote

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Great idea. Will try this with my craft class

This is so cute and such a great idea. It works up quickly and I love making totes so this is something I will be adding for that special something.


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