Yesterday I shared a Mother’s Day gift guide with you and today I have a DIY tutorial for how to make your own tote bag with a FREE printable to customize the bag just for mom. She’s sure to love this sweet bag with contrasting straps for carrying all those little things we need to “tote” around. I’ve shared DIY totes a few times before but I think they are still one of the best gifts. I love a gift that you can actually use on a regular basis and with the new plastic bag bans, canvas bags are more useful than ever.
I studied french from 7th to 11th grade and loved it. In fact on my SAT II’s, I scored better in French than in English! So, one of my favorite coffee mugs reads “Je t’aime”. I saw it in the cupboard the other day and thought wouldn’t it be fun to do a mother’s day message in french? This printable says "Je T'aime Maman" which means "I love you Mom". There's really no better message than that for Mother's Day or any day.
You can download the design for free and use it as an iron on for bags, aprons, t-shirts, tea towels or even a pillowcase. For this project, you can use a pre-made canvas bag or make your own bag. I really love the look of brightly colored contrasting straps on a neutral colored bag and today I have a tutorial to show you how you can make it yourself.
Mother’s Day Tote Bag Tutorial
Je T’aime Maman PDF (click to download)
Tote Fabric about 1/3 yard
Contrast Fabric (for strap) about 1/4 yard
Matching Thread for both fabrics
Step 1: Cut one piece of tote fabric 15 x 33 inches. Cut 2 pieces from contrast fabric, 3.5 x 24 inches.
Step 2: With right sides together, fold tote fabric in half widthwise, (folded measurements are 15 x 16.5 inches). The fold in the fabric will be the bottom of the back. Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, stitch the sides of the back from raw edge at the top to fold at the bottom, backstitching at each end. Finish edges
Step 3: Fold top of back to wrong side 1.5 inches and press. Then fold in raw edge .5 inch and press. On the right side, topstitch in place.
Step 4: Make straps. Fold each strap piece in half lengthwise and stitch across long edge and one short edge using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Trim corners, turn right side out and press.
Step 5: Turn in raw end of each strap 1/4 inch and finger press. Using a ruler as a guide, position straps on outside of bag and pin in place. I positioned my straps 3.75 inches away from the center and 1.75 inches down from the top of the bag. Do what looks right to you or, if you prefer, stitch the straps to the inside of the bag.
Step 6: Topstitch straps in place by first stitching around the overlapping area in a rectangle shape and then stitch an X across the center.
Step 7: Print the Je t’aime Maman PDF on iron-on transfer paper. Follow manufacturere’s instructions for your kind of printer and make sure to reverse the image. It’s wise to do a test print on regular paper first to make sure your settings are correct. Cut out heart shape from paper. On outside of tote bag, center iron-on paper. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to transfer design and remove paper.
I love how this bag has turned out with the chic little "Je T'aime Maman" design and the sweet polka-dot straps. What do you have planned for Mother's Day? Or you going to buy or DIY?