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Hi there! It’s Stef from Girl. Inspired. I am just loving all of the holiday inspiration that is saturating the blog world right now!! This series, in particular, is great for finding some new gift-giving ideas – I love giving others handmade gifts, but I sure run out of ideas quick when I’m under pressure!!
Today, I’m going to show you how to embellish any tote with a pretty ruffle and chalkboard sign. You can use a store-bought tote bag or make your own (I have a simple tote bag tutorial here.)
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To do this project, you will need:
1/3 yard fabric for the ruffle
1 yard 1”-wide ribbon
Small pieces of tulle, lace, and/or ribbon for accenting
To begin, measure the distance of the tote bag you wish to cover in a ruffle strip. Cut three strips of accent fabric at least twice the length of the distance you need. Cut one strip each 5”, 4”, 3” wide. The three strips should be the same length.
Stack the three strips centered on top of one another. Pin them together along the center.
Using a loose, long gathering stitch, stitch the strips together down the center. Leave long thread tails at the beginning and end so that you’ll be able to pull them to gather up the strips.
Working carefully, pull the bobbin threads from each end and gather the fabric strip until it is the length that you need to cover the tote bag. Because there are three layers, it is a little more difficult than gathering just one layer of fabric – work slowly so that the thread doesn’t break ( you could alternately sew two rows of gathering stitches).
When the ruffle is the desired length, adjust the gathers so that they’re uniform and even. Then, press with and steam with your iron to set the ruffle in place and make it easier to work with.
Center a piece of 1” wide ribbon over the top of the center of the ruffle. Pin in place. Stitch close to the edge down each side of the ribbon to secure it to the ruffle.
Now we’re going to attach the ruffle to the tote bag. Place one end of the ruffle on the inside of the tote bag. Match the right side of the ruffle to the wrong side of the tote bag and align the top edges. Stitch together.
Flip the ruffle up and over the top edge of the tote bag.
Hot glue the ruffle all the way down the front of the tote bag, working in manageable sections. (If you are sewing your tote from scratch, you can alternately stitch the ruffle to the front panel before assembling the tote bag and skip the hot glue!) Turn the bottom edge of the ruffle under before gluing the end of the ruffle down.
Embellish the ruffle with a little focal point if you like. I painted a chipboard placket with chalkboard paint to and glued it about 1/3 of the way down the tote ruffle. I also added some felt flowers, a little gathered fluff of tulle, and a piece of ½” wide ribbon. There’s no right or wrong way to arrange your accent pieces – just rearrange them until you like the way it looks and then hot glue everything in place!
Wouldn’t this tote bag make such a cute gift for a girlfriend or your sister? Anyone can use an extra tote bag – especially one that you added your own handmade touches to!
Thanks for hanging out here today – I would love for you to stop over at Girl. Inspired. and say hi! Here are a few, fun projects that I’ve shared recently:
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Stop by The Girl Inspired for more sewing inspiration and to enter the SEW Amazing Giveaway today (you get a new entry everyday)! I am giving away more than $1000.00 worth of sewing goodies! You won’t want to miss this!