Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag

Remember my tote bag upgrade series from a couple of years ago? Today I have a new tote bag tutorial to share with you! This one is an indigo dyed tote with an embroidered butterfly patch.

Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag | Butterfly Pattern from I Heart Stitch Art | Radiant Home Studio(This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my business in this way!)

A few weeks ago, we spent the day indigo dying several yards of fabric as a family project. I also dyed a couple of plain tote bags at that time. They came out okay for a first try, but I would have greatly benefitted from the Shibori & Natural Dyeing Course that is included in the bundle. It’s basically a whole book about dyeing with indigo and natural dyes and includes 10 DIY dyeing projects. It’s normally $26, but the whole bundle with dozens of other patterns is only a couple dollars more!

I highly recommend finding some type of book, or class, or friend to help you with your first indigo dyeing experience. It isn’t hard, but experienced friends will have some helpful tips. I’ll list some other resources (including links to the plain tote bags and indigo dye kit I used) at the end of this post.

My indigo dyed tote bags ended up being a little bit plain. I decided to add an embroidered patch using the butterfly embroidery pattern from I Heart Stitch Art. I honestly how long it would take to stitch this, but it went much more quickly than I anticipated!

I always find that embroidery is easy to work on if I just get it started. I picked it up while I was nursing the baby, while I kept an eye on dinner, and other moments during the day when I tend to pick up my phone and mindlessly scroll. Stitching during those moments was much more relaxing and productive, and I finished it in only two days.

Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag | Butterfly Pattern from I Heart Stitch Art | Radiant Home Studio

I used the pearl cotton thread that was recommended in the pattern and I LOVE how it turned out. I’ve always stitched with regular embroidery floss, but I have to say the pearl cotton was much easier to work with and I think the finished piece looks much more polished. The pattern has lots of other great tips for transferring and stitching the details, so I’m happy to recommend it without reservation.

So…this is sort of an open-ended tote bag tutorial. Plain tote bags are cheap and perfect for experimenting with different craft ideas. You can try dyeing your bag with indigo or with some of the fruits and vegetables mentioned in the Shibori & Natural Dyeing Course. You can add traditional shibori patterns, experiment with your own shapes, or dye the bag a solid color. You can add a butterfly or any other embroidery pattern you like. (This grizzly bear would look so cool for a boy’s tote bag!) Or you can use one you already have.

Make an Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag:

Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag | Butterfly Pattern from I Heart Stitch Art | Radiant Home Studio


Tote Bag
Natural Dye and Supplies
8″ square natural canvas or linen fabric
Medium embroidery hoop
1 skein of pearl cotton thread
Embroidery pattern of your choice

1. Plan a few days to finish your project! You can make several at a time more efficiently.

2. Plan one session for dyeing your tote bag. Follow the instructions on your indigo dye box, the online dyeing course, or dyeing book. Let your bag dry overnight. Wash if recommended.

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

3. Transfer the embroidery pattern on to your fabric square. I prefer to hold my pattern and fabric up to the window and trace it with a pencil. Put the fabric in the embroidery hoop and stitch as directed in your pattern.

Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag | Butterfly Pattern from I Heart Stitch Art | Radiant Home Studio

4. Trim the edges of your embroidered fabric to the desired size, centering your embroidery design. Use some small strips of fusible tape on the back edges of the embroidered fabric to hold it in place on the tote bag. Hand stitch or machine stitch around the embroidered fabric to finish. Pull the loose threads around the edges to create a frayed border.

Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag | Butterfly Pattern from I Heart Stitch Art | Radiant Home Studio

Recommended Resources for this project:

Tote Bags
Indigo Dye Kit
Pearl Cotton Thread
Embroidery Needles
Embroidery Hoops

More tote bag upgrade tutorials



Recommendations from the Handmade with Love Super Bundle

This bundle is no longer available, but you can check Ultimate Bundles to see the bundle sales schedule! You can also purchase the products I’ve mentioned below. I’ve linked to the individual shops.

The Handmade with Love Super Bundle from Ultimate Bundles is live and available through 12/4/17! The bundle includes 200+ patterns, projects, and step-by-step tutorials created by modern designers who know you love to keep your hands busy creating special gifts for the people you love.

Whether you quilt, sew, weave, crochet, embroider or you just love handcrafting in general, you can master new techniques, polish skills you already have, and take advantage of a digital library bursting with projects and inspiration to keep you happily occupied this winter.

There are so many projects, you might find the bundle overwhelming! Don’t be intimidated by the number of projects and patterns included though. The team at Ultimate Bundles hopes to provide a large library of projects so that there is something for everyone. Even if you buy the bundle for 3-4 items, you are getting a great deal and the rest is just icing on the cake!

Honestly, not everything in the bundle excited me, but there were more than enough patterns and courses to make it worth it. (Though, I should tell you, bundle contributors get a free bundle and all links are affiliate links. I have put a great deal of time and planning into telling you about this bundle because I think it’s worth your time and money too!)

Let me show you a few of my favorite things from the Handmade with Love Bundle!

Handmade with Love Bundle Recommendations | Radiant Home Studio

Shibori & Natural Dyeing E-Course – from We Make Collective

These tutorials guide you through the entire dyeing process, from mixing indigo and natural dyes to making projects with your dyed fabrics. There are 10 DIY dyeing projects with gorgeous photos for inspiration. I really wish I had been able to access the resource before my indigo dyeing project this summer!

This website and their courses are new to me, but I have been impressed with the high-quality photos are directions and easy to navigate website. I’ll definitely be trying some more natural fabric dyeing soon, using some of the things I’ve learned from this course. This course alone is $26, so if this course interests you, it’s only a couple of extra dollars for the entire library of patterns!

10 Simple Sewing Projects for the Home – from Hey There Home

This is a really pretty ebook from another new-to-me blogger. The book has a collection of home sewing projects that are very quick & easy—pillows, curtains, napkins, storage baskets, and more.

There are beautiful, modern pictures showing styled spaces with handmade details. I think this is an excellent resource for new homeowners or busy moms to inspire you to create a home filled with stylish handmade items.

Insect Embroidery Pattern Set – from I Heart Stitch Art

Embroidery stitching is such a nice way to slow down and enjoy the creative process! I have taught most of my kids to embroider starting around age 6. It really helps to teach them patience and attention to detail, while also giving them some creative freedom. My boys were really loving the bee and dragonfly patterns in this set. They’ve been begging me to trace a pattern for them!

I used the butterfly pattern to embellish a tote bag this week. I was impressed by the extra details in this pattern that I don’t always see in other embroidery patterns. If you are new to embroidery you’ll pick up some great tips from this pattern.

Handmade with Love Bundle Recommendations | Radiant Home Studio

The Embroidery Project – from Wild Olive

I have used and recommended Wild Olive patterns a few times. This ebook contains lots of small projects that are easy for kids and beginners. There are lots of sweet ideas for gifts that would be quick to make before the holidays. I used a small bird pattern to add a cute detail to a plain baby onesie and it only took about 30 minutes total.

Welcome to Weaving – from Hello Hydrangea

My preteen daughter was particularly excited about this class! I need to buy a few supplies before we can get started, but I might make it a Christmas gift for her and “borrow” the loom. (Don’t tell!!) Like embroidery, weaving seems like a good way to slow down and enjoy the creative process.

We haven’t finished this class yet, but the format is really easy to follow. It’s an ebook with links to each video when you need them. The videos are very professional with detailed instructions. This is a beginner class, so it’s perfect if you want to experiment (or let your kids experiment) with a new craft.

Retro Rucksack & Penfield Pocket Tote

Of course, I must mention my own patterns! I’ve included 2 of my best bag sewing patterns. The Retro Rucksack is a unique bag and is very popular in my shop and the Penfield Pocket Tote is fairly new. Both bags are very versatile, so if you love to sew I’m sure you can find a way to use them! Normally, both patterns would cost $19, so if you’ve been thinking of buying them, grab them now with all of these bonuses!

I’ve bought 2 other ebook bundles from Ultimate Bundles in the past and I can’t tell you how much better their bundles are than anything else I’ve seen. Their website is easy to navigate, ebooks are easy to download, and customer service is quick to respond if you should have any technical difficulties.

The sale ends Dec. 4th and won’t be available after that! I’m always a last minute buyer because I over-analyze all of my purchases…hah! Don’t do that! You’ll miss all the extra bonuses! Do yourself a favor and grab it now while you’re thinking about it. 🙂

Sewing, Tutorials

How to Make a Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch

It’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts. It always feels too early to start before Thanksgiving, but when you plan to make several handmade gifts, it’s best not to wait until the last minute. I know some of you stay up half the night trying to finish Christmas pajamas at the last minute, right?!

This is a quick and easy project—waxed canvas gift pouches. They are just the right size to wrap gift cards or jewelry. I recommend making 2 or 3 at a time. If you already have everything out, you’ll save a lot of time making them in batches. You can make them in even bigger batches for holiday craft fairs.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

I used waxed canvas on the flap as an accent fabric, but you could also use faux leather, denim, or another layer of quilting cotton in a contrasting color. The fabric requirements are flexible on this project, so use what you have in your scrap bin.

How to Make a Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio
(Some links may be affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my business in this way!)


2-3 fat quarters of quilting cotton (this will be enough for 6-10 pouches)
1/4 yd. canvas (or faux leather, denim, etc.)
Medium-weight interfacing or fusible fleece (I used Pellon 987F. You could also use 808/809, 931, SF101…this a good way to use up scraps.)
Size 16 metal snaps – 1 set per pouch (I used Snap Source snaps. You could also use KAM Snaps or small pieces of hook-and-loop tape.)
Otter Wax
Coordinating thread

Printable pattern (make sure you set it to print at 100%)

Sewing Instructions:

1. Print and cut out the pattern pieces. For each pouch, cut 2 pouch pieces, 1 flap piece, and 1 interfacing piece.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

2. Fold the straight edge of the flap 1/4″ toward the back, with wrong sides together. Press. Align the flap piece on the exterior pouch piece so that the rounded edges match, both with right sides up. With the 1/4″ section folded under, topstitch along the straight edge of the flap piece through both layers.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

3. Align the fusible interfacing with the stitched line on the wrong side of the exterior pouch piece. Fuse the interfacing using the manufacturers’ instructions.

4. Align the exterior and interior pouch pieces, right sides together. Stitch around the entire pouch using a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 2″ opening on one side. Trim the seam allowances and corners to 1/8″.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

5. Turn the pouch right side out, push out the corners, and press. Make sure to tuck the raw edges in at the opening.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

6. Take the straight edge of the pouch and fold it up toward the flap, about 1/4″ below the straight edge of the flap piece. Press. (If you plan to use hook-and-loop tape, add it now.)

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

7. Place the folded pouch, with the flap facing up on the sewing machine. Begin sewing, with a 1/8″ seam allowance, at one folded edge and continue around until you get the folded edge again. Backstitch at each end.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

8. If you would like to apply wax to your canvas flap, do that now. The short version of the instructions—rub on some Otter Wax and then rub it in with your fingers. You can use it on denim too, but avoid using it on light colors because it will turn the fabric yellow. If you need more specific instructions, see my directions for making your own waxed canvas.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

9. Add a snap. I like the Snap Source snap setter for metal snaps. You can use the instructions on the package, or look at Anna’s helpful tutorial if you need a visual aid. I’ve also used plastic KAM Snaps with great success.  You could even add a button hole and button. Totally up to you.


How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

That’s it. Make a lot, load them with gifts,  and give them to your friends…

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

Happy sewing!

I’ve linked this post with: Sew Can She, Sew Can Do, Stocking Stuffer Ideas, Women with Intention, Raising Homemakers


Pattern Review, Sewing

Felt Tutti Fruity Penny Pincher

Last week, my daughter and I worked on making these cute felt change purses using the Tutti Fruity Penny Pincher Pattern from Betz White . I made the strawberry and then we worked on the lime together. (And full disclosure, I received the pattern as a gift…)

Tutti Fruity Penny Pincher | Pattern by Betx Wjite | Radiant Home Studio|

Tutti Fruity Penny Pincher | Pattern by Betx Wjite | Radiant Home Studio|

The strawberry went together quickly and easily, but we did have a little more trouble with the lime. I think this is mostly due to the fact that our felt was a little thicker and we used up more of the seam allowance. We trimmed down the half circle section of the lime, and then had to trim the smaller pieces too. Not a big deal, but something to consider if you are working with thicker felt.

Tutti Fruity Penny Pincher | Pattern by Betx Wjite | Radiant Home Studio|

I originally thought this would be a fun project for my daughter to do on her own (she’s 9), but it turned out better to work on it together. Sometimes getting precise cuts on felt can be difficult for kids, so I did the cutting. I also did the gluing, so there wouldn’t be any stray glue marks on the front of the felt. She did some of the sewing and most of the embroidery. I did the sewing around the top and inserted the flex frame. It was a fun collaborative project and she has been hoping to make some more for her friends.

Tutti Fruity Penny Pincher | Pattern by Betx Wjite | Radiant Home Studio|

This was my first time working with a flex frame. It’s not something you can find easily in craft stores (but Betz has some in her shop and I found some at, so you probably need to order them for this pattern. It was very easy to install and the kids have had fun trying to figure out how it works.

Tutti Fruity Penny Pincher | Pattern by Betx Wjite | Radiant Home Studio|

We ordered our a bundle of autumn colored felt from Amazon (affiliate link). Cheap craft felt would work for these too, but I loved the heathered texture of this higher quality felt. And I have a lot of pretty autumn colors left over for other projects (maybe more of these leaves?).

The pattern also comes with a pineapple design, which we haven’t tried, but there are a lot of cute options with this pattern. You can definitely be creative with the stitching and even change the colors on the lime to make an orange or lemon purse—which my daughter already has planned for her next one. It’s always a good sign when she’s ready to make more!

And if you like making felt projects with your kids, you might want to check out my post about the felt dolls we made!


Free Leaf Embroidery Pattern

Today I have a free Leaf Embroidery Pattern for you!

Free Leaf Embroidery Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

I designed this leafy branch embroidery pattern for another project that I’ll be sharing later this week over at the Oliver + S blog. It’s a simple design that would look nice as hoop art, as an embellishment on a bag, or as a hand-stitched detail on a skirt or blouse.

Free Leaf Embroidery Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

The pattern includes the design mirror images. You can transfer by tracing if your fabric is somewhat sheer. If your fabric is opaque or needs stabilizing, try using something like Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy (affiliate link). You’ll need an 8″ hoop if you use the design at full size, or you can scale it down when printing for a smaller size.

To stitch the design as I have, fill in the leaf shapes with horizontal running stitches. You can make several stitches at once by weaving your needle in and out of the fabric before pulling it all the way through. I used 3 strands of embroidery floss on white linen for this sample.

Free Leaf Embroidery Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

For a different look, you can experiment with other stitches or stitch around the outlines.  My philosophy on embroidery is that the imperfections are what make the design unique. Don’t worry too much about getting all of the stitches straight or perfectly spaced. Just enjoy the process and add some love to your handmade projects!

Free Leaf Embroidery Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

Download the pattern here!

For more help with Sashiko style running stitches, look at this round-up of Sashiko tutorials.

If you like this embroidery project, you might want to browse through more of my embroidery projects & tutorials!

(I’ve also linked this post to the Homemaking Link-up, DIY Crush, Sew Can She & Craftastic Monday.)