Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Customise a tote bag tutorial

With the new 5p plastic bag tax in England, carrying around a tote bag or two will need to become a habit for many people. I've take my own bags to my supermarket shop for the past 5 years or so and seem to have accumulated tote bags in the same way I used to acquire plastic ones. All kinds of companies seem to be wanting to give away free canvas bags with their logo printed on them. I always take them as I know I can customise them with my own designs.

Last year I took one such free tote bag and added my own embellishment. Inspired by the colour of the daffodils I bought from Lidl and the flowering tree in my garden that just looks so jolly, especially when the sun I decided to do this by adding some crocheted sunflowers.


Here's how:

Starting with the free bag, I measured and cut a piece of felt to the size needed to cover the advertisement printed on the bag.

Free tote bag

Then I pinned and stitched the felt in place using crochet cotton.

Felt covering advertisement on tote bag

Felt covering advertisement on tote bag

Next step was to make the flowers. The pattern I used was one I found on Pinterest. The original design is by Sonia Karen.

The yarn I used for this project was a mixture of anchor crochet cotton I bought from the this shop on ebay (as I've not been able to find anywhere local that stocks crochet cotton), cross stitch thread that I had left over from a teenage cross stitching phase, and 3 strands of standard sewing thread held together. Across these different sources I found a good range of sunflower colours.

As the thread I was using was generally quite thin I used a 1mm crochet hook.

Ten sunflowers later I figured I had enough to achieve what I was aiming for. The sunflowers were a bit curly round the edges so I 'blocked' them. Being a self taught knitter and crocheter I hadn't ever tried this before. I followed a this blocking tutorial.

Blocking crochet sunflowers

The result gave slightly flatter sunflowers than I had started with, but maybe because of the thin cotton I had used (or my technique?) they still had a hint of curl. I arranged them on the felt balancing position and colours.

Pinning crochet sunflowers

So the final step was to stitch them onto the felt cover. I first stitched the centre of the flower to the felt using the tail of the crochet cotton.

Sewing on crochet sunflowers

Then I lightly stitched each petal in place.

Sewing on crochet sunflowers

And here is the finished bag. Something to brighten up my shopping trips.

Finished crochet sunflower tote bag

A version of this post first appeared on my old blog.

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