Wednesday, October 17, 2018

DIY Reversible Floral Tote Sewing Project (& Cricut Maker FAQ)

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I wouldn't call myself a sewer by any means. That's part of the reason I was so eager to get a Cricut Maker - the Maker takes care of the cutting part of the sewing equation and that's one big step towards effective completion of a sewing project. Cricut Maker cuts fabric without the need to apply a stabilizer. It also cuts much thicker materials, like chipboard. Check out my "She's Crafty" chipboard sign, the first project I made with my new Cricut Maker.

My second project had to involve sewing, because I was eager to test out the Maker's fabric-cutting capabilities. And Cricut actually sells little bundles of beautiful, coordinating fabrics, making it easy to pick the three fabrics required for this DIY Reversible Floral Tote. (Read on to see the reverse side of my tote.) If you would like to make your own tote bag or gift one to a friend, here's how it's done...

Materials Needed To Make The DIY Reversible Floral Tote

Cricut Maker
FabricGrip Machine Mat
Cricut Washable Fabric Pen
fabric (I used Designer Fabric, On-Trend Sampler; one sampler pack is enough for this tote)
ribbon for handles
Cricut EasyPress and EasyPress mat and/or home iron
rotary cutting kit (or cut fabric down to mat size with fabric scissors and ruler)
brayer (optional - to smooth fabric down on cutting mat)
sewing machine
coordinating thread
fabric shears

Steps To Make The Floral Tote DIY

Open up the "Floral Tote" project in Cricut Design Space. The design is free with Cricut Access membership. Print out or familiarize yourself with the full instructions. I'm going to repeat the instructions below and add my thoughts, because I was a bit confused about the first couple of steps related to the sewing part of the project and hopefully I can help others through that.

Select three fabrics from your sampler pack - I went with floral and polka dot fabrics (like the original Design Space project) and a coordinating pink fabric for the reverse side. The project makes a small reversible tote, about 12.5" by 10" when finished.

Press the fabrics with the Cricut EasyPress or your home iron to smooth out some of the folds and wrinkles. (It doesn't have to be perfect. You can iron more fully later if you wish.)

Cut two 12" by 12" pieces from each of your three fabrics. I cut the fabric down using Cricut's rotary cutter, self-healing mat and acrylic ruler.

Place the Cricut Washable Fabric Pen in clamp A and the Rotary Blade in clamp B. The fabric pen will mark the sewing lines on the non-printed side of your fabric.

Mats 1 and 2 - Place the polka dot fabric printed side down on the mat, ensuring that the fabric reaches the edges where needed for the cuts.

Mats 3 and 4 - Place the lining material (pink in my case) printed side down on the mat, again ensuring the fabric is positioned in the appropriate place for the cuts.

Mats 5 and 6 - Place the floral fabric for the outside of the bag printed side down on the mat.

Follow the on-screen instructions to cut.

You'll have eight pieces of fabric once your Cricut Maker performs all of the cuts - four of the polka dot fabric and two of each of the others. No worries if the edges are frayed - none of them will show in the end result.

With right (printed) sides facing together, and the tabs aligned, sew one of the bottom polka dot fabric pieces to each of the four other pieces. (Sew one straight line from edge to edge at the bottom of each pairing only. Do not sew the sides or tops.) The polka dot fabric will then become the bottom of the bag.

Press the seams open with the EasyPress or your home iron. Flip over.

Top stitch on the printed side of the fabric (above) for each pairing - two lines of stitching, one on the polka dot fabric and one on the other printed fabric, on either side of where the fabrics meet. If the lines aren't completely straight, that's okay. If they are, congratulations - you're a better sewer than me!

With the right sides of the two lining pieces together, sew around the sides and bottom of the lining, but leave a 3-inch section unsewn in the middle of the bottom seam of the lining. (Pin the two pieces of fabric together first and mark the 3-inch portion with two sideways pins.)

With the right sides together, sew the front pieces (floral fabric) along the sides and bottom.

The Cricut Sewing Kit has great fabric scissors, as well as thread snips, pins, a cute pin cushion and more.

Clip the corners, but do not cut through the threads of the seams.

Baste the ribbon handles into place on the right side of each outside piece, with the ends aligning with the raw top edge of the fabric. I cut each handle to a 15-inch length. The instructions for this project don't outline where exactly to place the ribbon handles. I just placed them where I thought they looked good and measured to ensure they had the same placement on both sides.

Handy & frugal tip - For my handles, instead of buying ribbon, I used ribbon that came wrapped around a cushion (or linen of some kind - I can't remember). Frugal and environmentally friendly.

Put the outside of the tote (with the handles) into the lining of the tote, so right sides are together. In other words, the printed side of the floral fabric will be facing out - you then tuck that "bag" into the liner fabric, with the unprinted side of the liner material facing out.

Turn the tote right side out through the turning hole in the lining. Press the upper edge with your iron and top stitch around the top of the bag. The instructions don't say this, but I also stitched along the bottom edge of the liner fabric to close the turning hole.

Your tote bag is complete! Enjoy! I think these totes would be perfect Christmas gifts for friends and family. And you can tuck in little books, stationery and treats.

The floral tote is identified as an intermediate project that takes 1 to 2 hours. I would guess it probably took me more like 4 hours. But now that I'm familiar with the project, I could definitely get it done faster. And that has me thinking about making it in all sorts of other fun patterns.

This reversible tote can be switched to match your mood (or your outfit) too! Here's the second side of my tote.

Maker FAQ - 5 Cricut Maker Questions, Answered

If you haven't yet used a Cricut Maker (or if you've just begun using it), you likely have questions. I'm going to answer five of the most common questions here.

Will I use Cricut Maker enough to justify the price?

It depends. Do you like to sew? Decorate your holiday table with custom place cards? Dress up your mugs with cute sayings? Iron-on images onto cushions and t-shirts? Make family Halloween costumes? Organize your food and craft supplies with handy labels? If you're crafty or hope to be more crafty, you'll get so much joy from Cricut Maker that it will indeed be worth the price. (And don't forget to add it to your Christmas wish list!)

What materials can I cut?

As I said earlier, I was drawn to the Cricut Maker because it cuts fabric for your sewing patterns. But it cuts many more materials too, all with precision. Try delicate paper, faux leather, denim, paper, balsa wood, felt, chipboard, craft foam, window cling, scrapbook paper, vinyl, poster board and more.

Will it be easy for me to use the software to create projects?

In a word, yes. Cricut Design Space is easy to learn and works with iOS, Android™, Windows®, and Mac®. It comes pre-loaded with an abundance of projects. You can browse categories like Baby, Cards, Home Decor, Iron On and Kids Crafts, or do a search for specific types of projects. You can also upload from thousands of available images to suit your theme. This floral tote bag project is an example of the projects that are already designed and ready to go in Design Space. You need only gather the materials and get to cutting! There are many sewing projects that have been expertly designed by Simpicity® too, including adorable doll clothes. With Cricut Design Space, you can also upload your own images and create original designs.

What kind of DIY projects can I make?

You are only limited by your imagination. (And even when you're feeling short on imagination, you can browse the projects already available in Design Space.) Besides sewing projects, iron-on projects and vinyl projects, you can do print-then-cut projects on Cricut printable fabric or on labels or paper. With the knife blade, you can make mobiles, hair accessories, coasters, 3-D animals and even a cake stand. Make your parties all the more special with banners, cake toppers, favour boxes, cupcake wrappers and even t-shirts for the birthday girl or bride. One of my favourite categories to make is cards. People really enjoy getting the beautiful, handmade cards that you can cut easily from the available designs in Design Space.

How is the Maker different from competing electronic cutting machines?

Cricut calls the Maker the "ultimate smart cutting machine" for a reason. Several actually. For one thing, it's compatible with a range of tools, including the rotary blade, which uses a gliding and rolling action to cut fabric cleanly and effortlessly, without the need for backing material. The knife blade cuts through dense materials up to 2.4 mm thick. The scoring wheel creates razor-sharp scorelines on everything from origami paper to cardboard. And Maker has 10x more cutting power than previous machines. Besides all the great tools in the adaptive tool system (which Cricut will continue to add to), Maker has handy features like the helpful docking slot for your tablet or phone. There's even a USB port to charge your device.

Questions for you

Do you have a Cricut? A Cricut Maker? Do you want one? What have you been making or what would you like to make? Who would you make this tote bag for?

Pin it for later:

DIY Reversible Floral Tote Sewing Project made with Cricut Maker

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut . The opinions and text are all mine.


  1. Thanks for the directions,this is cute!

  2. Thank you so much for this tutorial! The instructions on Cricut are kind of confusing, and this makes it so much easier! :)

    1. Hi Ashlyn, I know what you mean! I'm so glad this was helpful! :) You are very welcome!