Sewing Patches Tote
If you’re sewin’ and you know it… clap your hands. Show your sewing pride with these fun machine embroidery patches. We created two custom designs to show how lovely the stitching turns out using Sulky’s 30wt cotton thread. Most folks don’t turn to cotton thread for machine embroidery, relying instead on the polyesters and rayons – but cotton has a wonderful matte finish and the thicker 30wt (⅓ thicker than the more traditional 40wt) provides a rich density. We loved working with it! Thanks to the Sulky sponsorship, both designs are offered in two sizes as free downloads in the six major machine embroidery formats. Let’s “patch things up” shall we?!
We used the larger patches on a classic tote, and since this is Sew4Home, of course you get the free instructions for how to make the bag – plus a pattern. Use our inspiration or create your own base project. The patches turn out beautifully stable yet still flexible enough to use in dozens of applications. Add them to a jacket, backpack, sewing machine cover, caddy organizer, and more! The patches would be a great gift for your sewing pals!
The large Life’s A Stitch circle patch finishes at 4½” in diameter. The small version finishes at 3⅝”. The large Handmade with Love diamond patch finishes at 4⅞”, measuring point to point in both directions. The small version finishes at 4”.
Go to our Download Page to access all the file formats. Each of the designs is provided in: ART, EXP, JEF, PES, VIP and VP3. Remember, if using the EXP format, three files are required for each design, which are all included in the appropriate folder. A thread chart of our recommended Sulky 30wt thread colors is included on this page as well as in the instructions below. For the best success, we recommend Sulky Bobbin thread in your bobbin.
The designs require an extra heavyweight water soluble stabilizer. We used and recommend Sulky Ultra Solvy. It gives a perfect amount of support to a dense design stitched with the 30wt thread. A layer of felt provides the stitching surface. You’ll be delighted at how easily the finished patch pulls away from the hoop.
We used a neutral canvas for our tote in order to really show off the 30wt colors in the patches. The Handmade with Love diamond uses five colors, the Life’s A Stitch circle uses four colors. Don’t love our color combination? Sulky 30wt comes in 130 colors from which to choose.
A subtle black quilting cotton in a sewing theme adds a nice accent to the base of the bag and is also used for the lining. The exact print we used is Let’s Sew Clothes from the Draw Near collection by Quilting Treasures, a print that sold out almost immediately from most major retailers – although you may be able to find some cuts from individual Etsy and eBay sellers. And, many manufacturers come out with new sewing-themed collections each season.
Our tote features a continuous strap that threads through two pairs of grommets. You simply knot the ends at your shoulder, lengthening or shortening for your best fit. Because the handle is one long loop, when you pull up the handles into position it also cinches the top closed. Because of this, we did not put a magnetic snap at the top, but you could easily add that.
The Sewing Patches Tote finishes at approximately 14” high x 15” wide with a 80” strap that loops through the grommets to create adjustable double handles knotted at the shoulder.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Embroidery/Sewing machine (or an embroidery-only machine in combination with your sewing machine)
- We used a 90/14 Topstitch Needle for embroidery and a 90/16 Jeans Needle for construction
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ¾ yard of 60″+ wide mid-weight canvas or similar for the exterior front and back upper panels, pockets, and strap; we used a 9.3oz canvas duck in natural
- ¾ yard 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton for the bottom accent panels, lining, and pocket lining; we originally used Let’s Sew Clothes in Black from the Draw Near collection by Quilting Treasures
- Sulky 30wt cotton thread for the embroidered patches;
We used the following colors for the Handmade with Love patch:
- 0580 Mint Julep
- 1307 Petal Pink
- 0035 Merlot Wine
- 1234 Almost Black
- 1001 Bright White
We used the following colors for the Life’s A Stitch patch:
- 0502 Cornsilk
- 0035 Merlot Wine
- 1234 Almost Black
- 1001 Bright White
- Sulky Bobbin thread in white and black for embroidery
- We also recommend Sulky 30wt cotton thread for the topstitching on the bag in a color to coordinate with the canvas; we used 1149 Deep Ecru
- Sulky 50wt Cotton + Steel cotton thread for construction; we used:
753-1229 Light Putty
- Sulky Polyester Invisible thread to stitch patches in place
- Sulky Ultra Solvy Water Soluble Stabilizer for patch embroidery
- ONE 9” x 12” sheet of quality white felt
- FOUR ½” grommets + appropriate setting tools; we used a Dritz Fashion Grommet Kit in matte black
- See-through ruler
- ½ yard of 20”+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Shape Flex
- ½ yard of 45”+ wide fusible batting; we used Pellon Thermolam
- Sulky KK2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive or a wash-away basting tape; both optional for holding patches in place
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Small, sharp appliqué scissors for patches
- Scissors and/or Rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Small hammer to set grommets; we recommend a soft leather mallet or a ball peen hammer
- Heavy metal, stone or wooden block to use as a cutting and hammering surface for the grommets
Getting Started + Embroidery Downloads + Pattern Download
- Download the Large Sewing Patch embroidery design files in the appropriate format for your machine. Send the files to your embroidery machine, using your favorite method. Our Download Page also contains all the Color Chart information with the color change steps. This information has been summarized below as well.
- Download and print out ONE copy of the pattern sheet for the accent base panel, which is designed to be cut on the fold. If you’d prefer to use a complete pattern for fussy cutting, print TWO copies.
IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale
- Cut out the pattern piece along the solid line. The base pattern is designed to be cut on the fold. If you prefer a full pattern, you’ll work with two pieces and use the on-the-fold arrows printed on the pattern pieces to align the sections. With one side facing right side up and the other side facing right side down, butt together (do not overlap) the two pieces. Tape together to create the full pattern.
- From the fabric for the exterior front and back upper panels, pockets, and strap (natural canvas in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 16” wide x 12” high rectangles for the main front and back panels
THREE 7½” x 7½” squares for all pockets (two exterior and one interior)
TWO 2½” strips to equal approximately 80” of finished length; we cut one strip WOF (width of fabric) and a second at approximately 20”
- From the fabric for the bottom accent panels, lining, and pocket lining (Let’s Sew Clothes in Black in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 16” wide x 14½” high rectangles for the main lining
Using the base pattern as a template, round the bottom corners of each lining panel.
THREE 7½” wide x 6½” high panels for all pocket linings (two exterior and one interior)
Using the base pattern, cut TWO – either as one piece or on the fold
- From the lightweight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
THREE 6½” x 6” rectangles for the pocket linings
Using the assembled base pattern, but cutting along the dotted seam allowance line rather than the solid outer line, cut TWO.
- From the fusible fleece, cut TWO 15” wide x 14” high; using the trimmed base pattern as a template, round the bottom corners of the fleece panels.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Embroider the patches – Life’s A Stitch Circle
- Hoop the Ultra Solvy stabilizer. The design requires an extra heavyweight water soluble stabilizer, and the Ultra Solvy gives a perfect amount of support to a dense design stitched with the 30 wt thread.
- Place a piece of felt over the stabilizer.
- Stitch Color 1, the outline.
- Remove the hoop from the machine and using small appliqué scissors, trim the felt close to the outline.
- Trim all the way around as close to the stitching as possible.
- Re-attach the hoop to the machine and resume the embroidery, starting with Color 2, the background.
- Continue embroidery with Color 3, the lettering.
- Continue embroidery with Color 4, the needle points and tape measures.
- Continue embroidery with Color 5, the button center and tape measure details.
- Continue embroidery with Color 6, the button, background details, and borders.
- Finish the embroidery with Color 7, the button and tape measure highlights.
- Remove the patch from the hoop.
Embroider the patches – Handmade with Love Diamond
- The steps for this patch are essentially the same, however, the initial outline and trimming will be much more intricate than for the basic circle.
- Once your trimming is complete, continue the embroidery as above, following the color change steps from the Download Page. The photo below shows the satin stitch borders in gray with the final edge finish of a narrow satin stitch. The banners are being stitched and will finish with a narrow satin stitch in the same color as the banner.
- The embroidery continues in the same fashion as the circle patch until this diamond patch is complete. It is removed from the stabilizer in the same manner.
Create the two exterior pockets
- Find two of the pocket lining panels and two of the interfacing panels. Center an interfacing panel on the wrong side of each lining panel. The interfacing should be flush with the top raw edge of the fabric panel, but should sit ½” in from the raw edge along both sides and across the bottom. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Find the two exterior pocket panels. Place a lining panel right sides together with each exterior pocket panel. Align the two panels along their top raw edges. Pin in place along the top raw edges only.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the top raw edges only
- Press the seam allowance up towards the canvas.
- Fold the two layers right sides together once again, this time aligning the sides and bottom raw edges. Pin in place along the sides.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides only, leaving the bottom open.
- Trim the side seam allowances to ¼”.
- Turn each pocket right side out through the open bottom.
- Using a long, blunt tool gently push out the corners so they are nice a sharp. Press flat. The canvas will form a hem at the upper edge of the pocket on the lining side.
Create the one interior pocket
- The interior pocket is created in much the same manner except when stitching the top seam, leave an approximate 3” opening at the center for turning the pocket (remember to lock your seam at either side of this opening). You can see our center opening in the photo below as we press the seam allowance towards the canvas.
- As you did with the exterior pockets, re-fold right sides together, aligning the sides and bottom. Pin in place along the sides and bottom.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
- Turn right side out through the opening along the top.
Finish all three pockets
- You should now have three pockets, all with a narrow hem along the top of the the lining side. One pocket (the interior) is finished all around. The other two pockets are open along the bottom.
- Re-thread the machine, top and bobbin, in the Sulky 30wt in the color to match the canvas. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Topstitch ⅜” from the upper edge on the right side of each pocket. On the interior pocket, this topstitching will also close the center opening used for turning.
Appliqué the embroidered patches in place
- Find the finished embroidered patches and the two exterior pockets.
- Place the pockets right side up (canvas side up) and flat on your work surface.
- Place the Handmade with Love patch on one pocket. It should be centered side to side and top to bottom, but cocked at a slight angle, as shown in the photo below. Use pins or optional spray adhesive or wash-away basting tape to hold the patch in position.
- Place the Life’s a Stitch patch on the second exterior pocket. It should be centered side to side and sit 2½” down from the upper edge of the pocket. This means the bottom of the patch will hang over the lower edge of the pocket. Secure in position with as above with pins or optional spray adhesive or wash-away basting tape.
- Re-thread the machine with Sulky Invisible thread in the top and thread to best match the pocket lining in the bobbin. Keep the slightly lengthened stitch.
- Appliqué the Life’s a Stitch patch in place from one side to the other following the arc of the patch, starting and stopping approximately 1″ from the lower edge of the pocket so the bottom of the patch that overhangs the pocket remains free.
- Appliqué the Handmade with Love patch in place, following the edges of the patch border. Go slowly and carefully, stopping with your needle in the down position to pivot as needed – there are quite a few angles on this patch.
- Set aside the pockets.
Assemble the accent base
- Find the two accent base panels and the two matching panels of lightweight interfacing. Center an interfacing panel on the wrong side of each fabric panel so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Using the original pattern as a template, mark the two dots along each side of each accent base panel. These dots indicate the short side seam you will stitch first.
- Pin the front and back panels right sides together.
- Re-thread the machine with Cotton + Steel 50wt to match the lining in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
- Stitch just the short upper side along each side, using a ½” seam allowance, forming a loop.
- Press open both short seam allowances.
Assemble the main upper section of the exterior and topstitch
- Find the two main exterior panels (the canvas). Place them right sides together, aligning all raw edges. Pin along one 12” side only.
- Re-thread the machine, top and bobbin, in the Sulky 30wt in the color to match the canvas.
NOTE: Yes, we are using the 30wt for both construction seams and topstitching for these steps.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together.
- Press the seam allowance together and to one side.
- Flip the joined panels right side up.
- Still using the Sulky 30wt in the color to match the canvas in the top and bobbin, slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch along the seam. Then run a second parallel line of topstitching ¼” from the first.
- Find the two exterior pockets, which should have the patches stitched in place.
- Place the pockets right side up to either side of the seam you just created. The Handmade with Love pocket goes on the left and the Life’s A Stitch pocket goes on the right. The inner edge of each pocket should sit ⅜” from the nearest line of topstitching, which should leave a space of about 1¼” between the inner edges of the pockets.
- Pin both pockets in place along both sides,
- With the same thread and lengthened stitch, edgestitch each pocket in place along both sides of both pockets. Remember to securely (but neatly) back stitch at each upper corner.
- Align the remaining 12” raw edges of the main panels right sides together. Pin in place. Using a ½” seam, stitch together.
- Press and topstitch to exactly match the first seam.
- You now have a loop. Rotate the seams so they are center front and center back on the loop.
- Flatten the tote so the lines of topstitching match, front seam to back seam. At the outer edges of the loop, place a pin into each fold. These pins mark what will become the sides of the finished tote.
- Fold up and tape the bottom free edge of the Life’s A Stitch patch in order to keep it out of the base panel seam.
Assemble top exterior to accent base
- Find the accent base loop. Slide the tote body inside the accent base so the two “loops” are right sides together. You are aligning the lower edge of the tote body to the upper edge of the accent base. This means the curved bottom of the accent base is facing up towards the top raw edge of the tote body.
- Match the short seams of the accent base to the pins marking the sides of the tote body. Pin all around.
- Stitch all around, using a ½” seam allowance.
- Press the accent base itself as well as the seam allowance down towards the bottom of the bag.
- Re-thread with Cotton + Steel 50wt to best match the accent fabric in the top and bobbin. Keep a slightly lengthened stitch.
- Edgestitch all the way around within the accent panel. The Life’s A Stitch patch is still taped up and out of the way.
- Un-tape the bottom of the Life’s A Stitch patch and smooth it down into position.
- Re-thread with Sulky Invisible thread in the top and bobbin and appliqué the free edge of the patch in place.
- Turn the tote wrong side out.
- Align the remaining raw edges of the curved bottom. Pin in place.
- Re-thread with Cotton + Steel 50wt to best match the accent fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal. Stitch around the bottom curved edge starting and stopping at the bottom of each original short side seam.
- Generously clip the curves.
- Turn the tote right side out.
- Along the top of the tote, fold down the raw edge ½” and press well. Then fold down an additional 2” and press again. Lightly pin in place.
Prepare the lining
- Find the two lining panels and the two fusible fleece panels.Place a fleece panel on the wrong side of each lining panel. The fleece and the fabric should be flush along the top raw edges, but there should be ½” of fabric showing beyond the fleece along the sides and around the curved bottom edge. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the fleece in place.
- Place one fused panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Find the interior pocket. Place it right side up on the lining panel. The pocket should be centered side to side and its top edge should sit 4” down from the top raw edge of the lining panel. Pin the pocket in place.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the pocket front in the top and to best match the lining in the bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
- Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
- Place the two lining panels right sides together, sandwiching the pocket between the layers.
- Pin together along both sides and around the curved bottom.
- Using a ½” seam allowance stitch along both sides and around the curved bottom.
- Trim along the bottom curves and press open the seam allowance.
Assemble exterior and lining and add grommets
- Un-pin and open up the top hem of the exterior tote.
- With the lining wrong side out, slip it inside the exterior tote so the exterior and lining are wrong sides together. Push the lining all the way down into the exterior and smooth it out into the sides. The upper edge of the lining should align with the inner fold line of the top hem. Re-fold the hem into position, which means it should completely cover the raw upper edge of the lining, and re-pin in place.
- Re-thread the machine, top and bobbin, in the Sulky 30wt in the color to match the canvas. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch along the lower edge of the hem all around. Go slowly and keep your seam line as even as possible; it will be very visible.
- Apply grommets to the upper edge of the tote, placing them 1½” from the sides of the tote and centered between the lines of topstitching.
- There are two grommets on on the front of the tote and two on the back.
NOTE: You can use the package instructions for grommet instruction, or take a look at our full step-by-step grommet tutorial if you are brand new to the technique.
Create the strap
- Find the 2½” strips for the continuous strap. Join the pieces with a narrow seam to create the full length.
- Fold back long raw edges ½” on both sides and press well.
- Fold back both raw ends ½” and press well.
- Fold the strap in half matching the folded edges so it is finished on all sides. Press once more and lightly pin.
- Edgestitch around the entire strap.
- As shown in the sample images within the intro, thread the the strap through the two grommets on one side, then through the two grommets on the opposite side.
- Tie together the ends with a simple overhand knot to complete the continuous strap, pulling it from either side to create the two handle loops.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Embroidery Digitizing, Sample Creation, and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler
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Thank You! Looking forward to
Thank You! Looking forward to making this tote with that patches!
Great! We’ll be excited to
Great! We’ll be excited to know how it all turns out. Keep us posted!
I got the VP3 files – no
I got the VP3 files – no problem. Thanks so much! I can’t wait to give them a try!
@Deb – Excellent – let us
@Deb – Excellent – let us know how it goes – and what you put them on!
Love this project and can’t
Love this project and can’t wait to try it.
@pamyio2001 – Thank you! And,
@pamyio2001 – Thank you! And, we can’t wait to hear how yours turns out. Keep us posted!
I’m so glad to see these
I’m so glad to see these other comments so I know I am not the only one finding blank files.
Strangely, the design files register as having size – XX Kb – and will open up, they are just blank when opened.
@MissTi – It is a Windows
@MissTi – It is a Windows update issue, which we have addressed with a MAC-PC compatibility patch. When you have a moment, please refresh the page and try again. All should be fine. If you have any additional issues, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can try to help you fruther troubleshoot.
Hello all. The files are all
Hello all. The files are all delivering well from the S4H servers, but we are monitoring and triple checking to insure everyone can access them successfully. Thanks!
Ditto to all of the above!!!
Ditto to all of the above!!!
@W Neufeld – It is a Windows
@W Neufeld – It is a Windows update issue, which we have addressed with a MAC-PC compatibility patch. When you have a moment, please refresh the page and try again. All should be fine. If you have any additional issues, please contact us at email@example.com and we can try to help you fruther troubleshoot.
The .jef files were corrupt
The .jef files were corrupt as well. They are very cute patches! Hope they fix it.
@CAS51 – It is a Windows
@CAS51 – It is a Windows update issue, which we have addressed with a MAC-PC compatibility patch. When you have a moment, please refresh the page and try again. All should be fine. If you have any additional issues, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can try to help you fruther troubleshoot.
I was excited to see the
I was excited to see the patches for this project – something I could really use. I’m very savvy with computers, but I couldn’t retrieve the embroidery design files. I download PES and EXP, which I can preview on my Mac. I can also open them in Embrilliance. But for these files, they all appeared blank.
@Wendy Emerson – It is a Windows
@Wendy Emerson – It is a Windows update issue, which we have addressed with a MAC-PC compatibility patch. When you have a moment, please refresh the page and try again. All should be fine. If you have any additional issues, please contact us at email@example.com and we can try to help you fruther troubleshoot.
I followed the instructions
I followed the instructions to download the .zip files but they were empty.
@Joanne – It is a Windows
@Joanne – It is a Windows update issue, which we have addressed with a MAC-PC compatibility patch. When you have a moment, please refresh the page and try again. All should be fine. If you have any additional issues, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can try to help you fruther troubleshoot.
thank you so much
thank you so much