Fold Over Tote Tutorial {Tote Bag Upgrade}

This tote bag upgrade is my favorite so far! I love the look of fold over totes, like my Retro Rucksack. With this tote bag upgrade tutorial, you can make a simple fold over tote with a shoulder strap.

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

I think the plain canvas bag is totally transformed with this upgrade. Faux leather accents, modern fabric, and simple hardware change the tote bag from boring to something you will want to carry every day! If you like repurposing things, try using an old belt for the strap. Without further ado (and because I took a lot of photos)…the Fold Over Tote Tutorial!

Fold Over Tote Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio


• canvas tote bag
• 1/2 yd. quilting cotton or mid-weight canvas
• 1/3 yd. fabric for handles and strap (or substitute 2 yds. webbing)
• 2 d-rings size 1″
• 2 metal clips size 1″
• mid-weight fusible interfacing (I used Pellon 931.)


• cut 4 rectangles (width of your bag + 1″ x 7″) from quilting cotton for the bag top
• cut 2 rectangles (4″ x 3″) from strap fabric
• cut 2 rectangles (4″ x 24″) from strap fabric
• cut 1 rectangle (4″ x 36″) from strap fabric

Fold Over Tote Tutorial:

1. Make the straps. For all strap pieces, fold the raw edges to the center. Then fold again so that the raw edges are enclosed and the folded edges meet. Stitch along both long sides as close to the edges as you can. Straps should be 1″ wide when you finish. (For faux leather, mark the center with a water soluble marker on the wrong side of the fabric. Fold inward and press using a press cloth so that you don’t melt the fabric. Use sewing clips or binder clips to hold the folded edges while you stitch. Use gift wrapping tape on the bottom of your presser foot to help the sticky fabric slide through.)

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

2. Apply fusible interfacing to 2 of the bag top rectangles. Center the 24″ strap handles on each rectangle, with 4″ of space between the straps. Stitch along the edges of the straps, leaving 3/4″ to 1″ space at the top edge for seam allowance. Stitch a small square 1″ from the top edge to reinforce the handle.

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

3. Slide each d-ring to the center of the 3″ straps and fold. Baste the edges to the sides of the one of the rectangles with the handles, 1″ from the bottom edge.

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

4. Align one bag top with a handle to one without a handle, right sides together. Fold the handle out of the way and stitch along the edge that will be the bag top, rectangles right sides together. Repeat for the other side. Open and press both sides.

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

5. With bag tops opened up, align them right sides together, matching seams and straps. Make sure all straps are tucked in and out of the way. Sew along the bag sides.

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

6. With the bag top still inside out, slide the tote bag (with handles removed) into the bag top so that right sides are facing. The interfaced sides with the handles should be toward the top of the tote bag. Match side seams. If you have left the existing hem on the original tote bag, you’ll want to stitch just below that line. You can align the new bag top about 1/2″ from the lower part of the hem, leaving about 1/2″ sticking out at the top. Stitch around the bag on the inside using the original hem fold as a guide. Open and press.

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

7. Press the remaining raw edge under 1/2″. Fold it to the inside of the bag and align the folded edge with the line of stitching you just sewed. You can “stitch in the ditch” from the outside of the bag, or hand stitch it into place. I prefer to hand stitch (it’s much cleaner looking!) and it really doesn’t take as long as you would imagine. (Less than 15 min. I promise! You can do it while you watch the kids playing outside!)

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

8. Slide a clip onto each end of the long strap, fold over the end about 1″, and use a wide zigzag stitch over the raw edge to secure it in place. Clip it to the rings on the bag, give it on last press, and you’re finished!

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

Fold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home StudioFold Over Tote Bag Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

Fold Over Tote Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

I’m sharing this post at: Sew + Show

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Make Believe Kids Adventure Belt

It’s “Make Believe Week” at GYCT, and we are sharing ideas to fuel your kids’ imaginative play!

My kids are great at using their imaginations, and I love making accessories that they can use in their play. I think a lot of our homeschool history books fuel their imaginative play. And with 4 boys, the play often turns to epic sword battles, exploration of the wild west, and adventurous conquests into unknown lands. For that…they need their “gear.”

Make Believe Kids Adventure Belt | Radiant Home Studio

The boys always have their pockets stuffed with flashlights, compasses, magnifying glasses, and lego “tools”. (And it usually ends up in my washing machine…) I thought it would be a great idea to make them a kids adventure belt to carry all of their gear while they play.

Make Believe Kids Adventure Belt | Radiant Home Studio

For this one I bought two old canvas belts from Goodwill, and a reflective dog collar and caribiners from the dollar store. I cut the dog collar and stitched it to the waist belt in a few places, leaving some loops of various sizes. I made sure that I reused the d-rings in some spots so that they would have places to hang things from the belt.

Make Believe Kids Adventure Belt | Radiant Home Studio

I also left the female side of the buckle attached and made a small loop with the male side of the buckle around their play telescope. Then they can detach the telescope and use it.

Make Believe Kids Adventure Belt | Radiant Home Studio

For the shoulder belt portion, I tried the waist belt on the kids and measured where I wanted the shoulder strap to go. Then I just cut it to the correct length and stitched it to the waist belt. With the thrifted belts and dollar store materials, the whole thing cost less than $5 to make. The kids have had it since summer and they play with it almost daily. Since I only made one, they have begged me for more so they can each have their own. The sewing doesn’t take long at all, but I need to go hunt down some more thrifted belts and other materials.

Make Believe Kids Adventure Belt | Radiant Home Studio

The kids adventure belt has been a great addition to the dress-up box. I love that they use it in so many different play situations. They’ve always got their “gear” with them, and love having a way to carry it all.

(And because I care about the safety of your kids…please be careful when playing with belts! I recommend that you teach the kids not to put it around their necks and supervise younger kids so they can play safely.)

Check out these other blogs for more great make believe play ideas!

Image Map


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New Fabric Designs at Spoonflower

I just ordered some swatches of fabric designs from the past few months. I’m slowly making them available in my Spoonflower shop as I make the final sizing and color adjustments.

Here are a few of the new fabric designs I have in my shop. You can also order the designs as removable wallpaper, or satin or matte gift wrap.

New Spoonflower Fabric Designs | Radiant Home Studio

On the top left is the seahorse print I designed last summer. I thought it would be a good time to make it available for summer beach house decorating. On the top right is a calligraphy design with literary themed words. It’s simple and clean, and I think it would make great gifts for English teachers, librarians, and book lovers.

On the lower left is a design called “feathered nest.” The flow of the design is really nice when you zoom out, so I keep imagining it as wallpaper on an accent wall. Finally, the bottom right is a design I did for the Spoonflower fishing flies contest. I painted the flies with watercolors while the kids were busy painting their own masterpieces next to me. The watercolor effect comes across nicely in the printing as well.

There are several more coming, so keep checking back!

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5 Reasons I Use Bloglovin’

How do you keep up with new blog posts from your favorite blogs? I used to keep all of my favorite sites bookmarked and check them once a day for updates. But at some point, checking 20-30 blogs for updates daily began to take a lot of time. Many of the blogs I followed didn’t post on a regular schedule. Some of our friends only posted on their personal blogs once a month or less. I never knew when to check on them. Then I would forget and not see their updates until weeks later.

5 Reasons You Should Use Bloglovin' | Radiant Home Studio


I had heard about RSS feeds, but it seemed confusing to set it up. Plus, I like pretty blogs and the RSS feed was NOT pretty. I wanted to see the whole post along with the design, and not just the words and pictures. Then a couple of years ago I discovered Bloglovin’. It’s my favorite way to keep track of new blog posts. Not only is it prettier than other feed readers, it’s also a huge time saver!

With my old bookmarking method, the number of blogs I could follow was really limited. Bloglovin’ allows me to follow anything that interests me. I can categorize the sites into lists. When I check my feed and see a list of all recent posts, it’s like a magazine full of articles that are hand-picked for me. I skip over the things that don’t catch my attention and save things that I want to read later. As a blogger and business owner, it helps me to see trends in my field and has strengthened my blog following.

I realized recently that many of my friends are still using the bookmarking method, so I thought I should share why using Bloglovin’ has been so helpful to me…

5 Reasons to Use Bloglovin’

Save Time

Check your feed to see all of the recent posts from your favorite blogs in one place.

5 Reasons I Use Bloglovin' | Radiant Home Studio

Clicking through a list of bookmarked sites, just to check and see if there is an updated post, is a waste of time. Bloglovin’ updates all of the blogs you follow immediately after the posts are published. Then when you open up your feed on the computer (or through the phone app), you get a list of all the new posts in chronological order. You’ll see the featured photo, headline, and a couple of sentences of the post. From there you can decide if you want to read more or keep scrolling. I like being able to see what’s going on with my favorite bloggers at a glance, even if I don’t have time to read the full posts.

You can also save your favorite posts for later. For me that saves time searching for that great article I read and wanted to share, but forgot to bookmark. Bloglovin’ recently added a feature that allows you to categorize the saved posts into collections as well, making it even easier to search through older saved articles or share them with your friends.

If you don’t want to stay logged in all the time or don’t have the smartphone app, you can also opt to receive daily or weekly e-mail updates with your posts.

Stay Organized

Bloglovin’ helps you stay organized too. As I said above, you can categorize your sites into lists that make sense to you.

5 Reasons I Use Bloglovin' | Radiant Home Studio

I keep mine categorized by topics like, sewing, printing, design, homeschooling, and Christian encouragement. If I’m looking for something specific, I can just search the blogs in the right category. You can use the lists to organize your sites in a way that makes sense to you, easily add them to groups, and keep them private if you prefer.

Spot Trends

Bloglovin is also a great trend spotting tool. Maybe you don’t consider yourself “trendy”, but I think people in all businesses benefit when they can see trends in their field. For example, I can tell just from the headlines I scroll through that dozens of sewing bloggers are making Hudson Pants and that they love them. I can see which fabric lines are popular. I can see when events and trade shows are coming up, and who is going to them. I can browse through the popular posts in a category to see what people are interested in reading. Those are examples from the sewing community, but the same idea applies in most areas of interest.

You can also spot trends in posting times! When I was using my bookmarking system, I could never figure out if a blogger posted on a schedule. Now I can see that there are patterns to people’s posting and I expect posts on certain days. For example, the majority of the blogs I follow post on Monday and Friday mornings. That’s helps me to plan ahead so that I have time to read and comment on new posts those days.

See the Pretty

Which would you rather see?

bloglovin vs. feedreader

Bloglovin’ lets you see the blog design when you read, because you still click through to the blog! There has been some controversy about how Bloglovin’ displays information through a “frame” (basically copying the blog content into their own format on their site). It’s complicated, but in order to support your favorite bloggers, just go to the settings page and choose “I don’t want the frame.” There are many blogs I follow because of the design, like Going Home to Roost. I want to see the whole design, as the blogger intended, when I read the posts.

(Most of the articles I found regarding the “frame” issue are older, and it’s clear Bloglovin’ has made some changes. The option on the settings panel is one thing. I’ve also noticed a second referral source from “,” which tells me they have found a way to use their frame in a way that still counts as traffic to the blog.)

Strengthen Your Blog Following

If you have a blog, Bloglovin’ can help to strengthen your following. My Bloglovin’ followers continue to come back and consistently save posts. They stay more engaged because they are reminded each time I post something new. Even though some bloggers have rejected it because of the frame controversy, it is usually one of my top referral sources. As far as I can tell, many users prefer to read directly from my site and I have benefitted from the traffic.

Bloglovin' helps you stay organized too. As I said above, you can categorize your sites into lists that make sense to you.

When people follow new blogs, Bloglovin’ recommends related blogs to them. When readers click “similar blogs,” your blog is directly recommended to people that already have in interest in it. As your following grows, your blog is recommended more and may even be featured in the “popular posts” section or the weekly Bloglovin’ e-mail, which can help readers find your blog.

Here are the links to set up an account and follow me on Bloglovin’.

I hope this helps you save some time and help you get your blog reading organized!

(It’s crazy that I have to clarify this, but this is not a sponsored post and I have not been compensated for this post. I’m just sharing a tool that has been helpful to me and that I hope will be helpful to you!)

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Guest Posts & Updates

Today I have a guest post over at the Oliver + S blog! As part of their series “My favorite Oliver + S Pattern,” I’m sharing why I love the Hopscotch Top and Dress. You’ll also see many of the tops and dresses I’ve made all in one place, so you can see the many variations that can come from one pattern.

Priory Square Hopscotch Dress | Oliver + S |Radiant Home Studio

This month, I’ve had a couple of other guest posts and features. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen them. If not, come follow me there! I share lots of “work in progress” photos, links to my guest posts, inspiring nature pictures, and occasional glimpses of my family.

Earlier this month, I shared my Hexie Hipster Bag on Betz White’s blog. I used a thrifted leather belt for the strap and shared some tips for altering the pattern so that you can do it too.

Hexie Hipster Guest Post | Radiant Home Studio

Finally, I wanted to introduce you to a new (to me) online magazine, called Bustle & Sew. It’s a sweet magazine, managed by a mother and daughter team. Their focus is embroidery, but they also include small sewing projects, interesting articles and techniques, as well as recipes! My quilted sketchbook cover was featured in the March issue of their (free!) online magazine. Definitely check it out if you have a few minutes to soak in some creative inspiration…

Bustle and Sew Guest Post Feature | Radiant Home Studio

Are you beginning to see signs of Spring? We’ve enjoyed some warm days interspersed with the cold, rainy days. The blooms and buds everywhere are inspiring. I hope you are able to experience the beauty of creation and enjoy the creativity of God this week!

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