Ready,Set,Go! ~ The “You Can Take It With You” Embroidery Project Bag

on June 5 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 77 Comments

The very first tutorial in our June Ready,Set,Go! series is here! The month is full of tutorials perfect for on-the-go fun. Today Jodi from Sew Fearless shows you how to make this cute and practical “You Can Take It With You” Embroidery Project Bag! (We think it would be perfect for any number of travel needs; it would make a cute cosmetics bag!) Don’t miss Jodi’s introduction with lots of fun links to show you how she tackles sewing projects head on with humor and grace. Also, be sure to comment on today’s post to win a new sewing book!

Ahh! The arrival of Summer! Sunshine! Birds singing! Green grass! Flip flops! But I was feeling blue. My poor sewing machine was doomed to gather dust while my children and I explore all the options that warmer weather offers. Something had to give, or I might have been forced to do something drastic… Like take up knitting.

I didn’t need to mope for long though. It turns out that embroidery is the perfect solution to the “It’s summer and I should take the kids outside to enjoy the sunshine, but I’m a sewing addict” problem.

The “You Can Take It With You” Embroidery Project Bag is a double-pocketed pouch– One side for your hoops and the other for embroidery supplies.

Toss it into your purse or diaper bag and you can sneak in some sewing wherever you may be– The backyard, the park, the beach, or swimming lessons.


  • Main fabric: 1/3 yard of a reversible *pre-quilted* fabric. (If you would rather, make your own quilted fabric by sandwiching a layer of batting between two fat quarters, and quilting the layers together.)
  • Accent fabric: 1/2 yard of a quilting cotton to be used to make the snapped pocket and some homemade 1/2 inch wide double fold bias tape.
  • Vinyl: 1/3 yard of 8 gauge clear plastic vinyl. This type of vinyl is usually found in a fabric shop’s home dec department.
  • A 9 inch all-purpose zipper
  • Coordinating thread
  • 3 snaps, like Kam Snaps size 20 plastic snaps. Buttons can be used in place of snaps
  • You will also need the usual sewing implements: sewing machine, needles, pins, etc. A rotary cutter, mat, and straight edge are recommended for preparing the fabric pieces.

Note: This bag fits embroidery hoops up to 9 inches in size.

1. Cut out the fabric pieces.
For the Body of the bag, cut out one rectangle 13 inches by 10 1/2 inches from the main (pre-quilted) fabric. For the Pockets, cut out two 10 1/2 inch squares from the vinyl. For the Pocket Top, cut out a rectangle 10 1/2 inches by 8 inch from the accent fabric.

2. Prepare the accent fabric pieces.
Fold the long edges of the Pocket Top in, wrong sides facing, meeting at the center. Press. Fold again along the center. The resulting rectangle will be 10 1/2 inches by 2 inches.

Use the remainder of the accent to make 1/2 inch double fold bias tape. You will need no more than 2 yards.

Have you ever made your own bias tape before? If not, you are in for a treat! I recommend using the “continuous loop” method of bias tape making. With this method, you can get as much 5 yards from just a fat quarter of fabric. (See this tutorial for more information.) Once the bias tape is made, you will need to iron it into “double fold” bias tape. (This tutorial will tell you how.) If you don’t want to make your own, you can always use purchase double fold bias binding.

3. Finish top of zippered pocket with bias tape.
Sandwich one edge of a Pocket within a 10 1/2 inch piece of bias tape, sew in place about â…› inch from the inner edge.

Note: Sewing vinyl can be kind of tricky, but these tips will help get you going:

  • Cover the bed of the machine with post-it notes to keep the vinyl from sticking.
  • Use a non-stick or roller presser foot. If you don’t have one available, covering the bottom of a standard presser foot with masking tape can help as well.
  • Be careful when pinning! The pins will leave holes. Only pin within the seam allowance. Tape or clips can be used in place of binder clips.

4. Sew the zipper to the pocket.
Position the zipper 1 1/2 inch down from the finished edge, the wrong side of the zipper against the vinyl. Pin or tape into place. Sew both sides of the zipper to the vinyl ¼ inch from the outside edge.

Turn the Pocket over to the wrong side, and trim off the vinyl between the rows of stitches to create a pocket opening.

5. Sew the zippered pocket to the body.
Lay the zippered Pocket on top of the bag Body. Line the unfinished sides of the Pocket with the (13 inch) sides and the  bottom edge of the Body, and the finished edge 2 1/2 inches from the top. Pin in place.

Sew the finished edge of the Pocket to the Body, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the outer fold. Then baste the other three unfinished edges of the Pocket to the Body.

6. Make the snapped pocket.
Enclose one one edge of the second Pocket inside the Pocket Top. Sew the Pocket Top to the Pocket 1/4 inch from the bottom fold.

Following the manufacturer’s directions, attach two “female” snap halves to the Pocket Top. They should be 3 inches from each side and 3/4 inches from the bottom of the Pocket Tab. (Buttons can be used in place of snaps, if preferred.)

7. Sew the snapped pocket to the body.
Baste the side and bottom edges of the snapped Pocket to the reverse side of the Body. Again, the finished edge of the Pocket should be 2 1/2 inches from the top. Do NOT sew the finished edge of this pocket down.

8. Finish the edges of the bag with bias tape.
Starting near the pocket opening, sew bias tape to the outer edges of the Body. Miter the corners as you come to them.

Stop sewing with the needle still down when you return to you started. Pull the bias tape away from the bag edge, so that it veers off of it.

Then continue your sewing, following the bias tape off the bag to make the bag Strap. Stop sewing when the strap is about 10 inches.

Trim off the remainder of the bias tape and tuck the ends into itself. Sew the end shut.

9. Finish attaching the snaps. 
Attach a “female” snap on the bias tape near the Pocket openings and a matching “male” snap to the end of the Strap.  Snap them together to make the bag handle. On the snapped Pocket side of the pre-quilted rectangle, attach two male snaps, 3 inches from the sides and 3/4” from the top edge.

Fold the top of the Body down towards the snapped Pocket. Connect the snaps to close the pocket. All done!

Comment on any post this week to win one of these new books!

Learn more about Mend It Better: Creative Patching, Darning, and Stitching by Kristin Roach and Modern Patchwork: 12 Quilts to Take You Beyond the Basics by Elizabeth Hartman in our June Book Giveaway post.

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77 Responses to Ready,Set,Go! ~ The “You Can Take It With You” Embroidery Project Bag

  1. Nice job!

  2. Estela says:

    This looks super easy! I am definitely going to try it!
    thank you.

  3. Sue says:

    This is a great project! I have been wanting to make a bag with vinyl PLUS I always have an embroidery project just in case I have to sit and wait somewhere! Thank you!

  4. Jill says:

    …”It turns out that embroidery is the perfect solution to the “It’s summer and I should take the kids outside to enjoy the sunshine, but I’m a sewing addict” problem….”
    Oh My Word!! This made me laugh ever so much! There is a pool (small, but a pool nonetheless) just outside my studio door. Sometimes it’s so hard to pass through to the pool and not stop to sew!

  5. Sandi says:

    This is such a cute bag! I think I’ll make one for my daughter to carry her crayons on one side and paper on the other. She always ends up with some random shopping bag full of crayons and inevitably spills them.

  6. What a brilliant travel bag for my small embroidery projects. That clear pocket will show off Rebecca Ringquist’s amazing embroidery patterns! Thanks so much for sharing this refreshing design.

  7. stephanie says:

    This looks like fun to make and use!

  8. Lori Smanski says:

    Ohh thanks. This sure beats a zip lock bag.

  9. Veronica says:

    Neato idea! I like that it’s clear so you can see what’s inside.

  10. Nancy B says:

    I’ve never worked with clear vinyl but after this tutorial I’m ready to give it a try. Thanks.

  11. Cynthia says:

    Perfect for makeup. Love the vinyl.

  12. Kristy says:

    Cute little bag. It could be used for so many different things.Great gift idea for those crafters in your life.

  13. Sylvia says:

    This bag is really cute, thanks for the treat tutorial!

  14. poppyart says:

    a perfect gift for my mum – she always take her embroidery on flights from oz to visit us in the uk… and i have a roll of vinyl that needs using up. great tutorial, thank you.

  15. Kim M. says:

    I would like to make this with my 10 year old daughter who has just taken up embroidery.

  16. Kristin M says:

    This would be great for a sketchbook/journal with pens and pencils on the other side!

  17. kathyh says:

    I made this clever bag.
    My post is here;

    On the surface, great tutorial. It may have helped if I had put in a new needle. I struggled with the fabric and the vinyl.
    Would also help to own a teflon foot.

    Several details that I will incorporate into other bags that I make.
    Thank you.

  18. Sherry J says:

    very cute, going to have to make one asap.thanks/

  19. colleen a. says:

    I also love this bag…but I want to know about the diaper bag as well! 🙂

  20. Raheli says:

    Excellent idea — i’ve been grabbing my embroidery instead of my knitting these past two weeks, I hadn’t even realized it consciously. I guess it’s just a seasonal shift 🙂

  21. jen says:

    LOVE this!

  22. Theresa says:

    That is so cute. I definitely need one.

  23. Holly u says:

    This bag is far superior to the ziplock bags I usually use! Gotta add this to list for when I make time to sew for ME! Thanks.

  24. Kelsey says:

    I have to say, the floss organized onto clothespins idea is pretty brilliant– I feel like I’m always struggling with keeping mind neat/unknotted, so I think I’ll have to try that!

  25. Rachael says:

    Love the project bag! It is definitely one I am going to keep in mind as I am just getting into embroidery.

  26. Sweetpea says:

    What a clever idea! I love it! I usually feel that pang too of ‘how i wish i could take my sewing with me’, especially b/c my sister knits & is always carrying a project with her.

  27. Jessica says:

    This is so much cuter and more functional than my current grocery bag I’m using for the same purpose…

  28. Fran says:

    Thanks for showing a great project….& the directions are
    excellent. I could use this for a small applique or even a
    bit of mending that I’m working on. Love the clear vinyl
    so you cam see what you’ve got !

  29. LauraH says:

    What a great embroidery project bag! I would love to make one!

  30. elsa says:

    Great tutorial ~ having the see though is great!
    I want to know about the other bag too ~ the yellow and grey bag behind the embroidery pouch!

  31. Jodi says:

    @samantha – YES! The clothespins are very handy for storing floss! It isn’t just for the cute factor

    @Crunchy Con Mommy – Don’t fear vinyl! It won’t hurt your machine. Just make sure you have a new and sharp needle. Like a size 12, topstitching needle.

  32. This is perfect for the beach! I love that you can see what’s inside! Yay!

  33. istar says:

    Thank you for a great tutoral – I’m planning a vacation and this bag will be to the purpose!

  34. Christene says:

    Yay! I can now get rid of those unsightly zippie bags I currently use. 😉

  35. Erin says:

    This is such a cute bag and would be perfect for makeup too!

  36. Kathy says:

    Great idea for a bag! I’m a knitter as well as a quilter….I see many bags in my future……

    Bree, you can buy cute little clothes pins at Wal-mart in the office supply area. They would be perfect.

  37. diya says:

    Lovely idea. Tutorial makes it sound easy to get started on one!

  38. Destiny Lair says:

    Love a good bag and book! Have been looking forward to Elizabeth Hartman’s new book so bad

  39. Ginger says:

    Love this great idea. I hope to make one soon.

  40. Beth says:

    Love this bag, the floss clothespins, and your embroidery WIP!

  41. Kerry says:

    I’m going to have to do this for my upcoming deployment.

  42. beth lehman says:

    so crucial to be able to see what you are looking for. i’ve never sewn with vinyl…!

  43. Ladybug says:

    What a cute little bag! I love the versatility of it, you could use this for so many things!

  44. Jenni says:

    Super cute bag! I haven’t sewn with vinyl yet, but I think I want to try this tutorial! 😀

  45. Amy says:

    Ah! I love this bag! I can’t wait to make it for my summer embroidery projects!!!! 🙂

  46. Jhoni says:

    Love this! I, too, would love this as a replacement for my flimsy ziplock bag. Great fabric choices!

  47. What a great idea! I tote a ziploc baggie around also. This is so much cuter!

  48. Judy says:

    Love the bag – but more importantly, what is she embroidering? Would love to see a close up of the embellishing and what the final project will look like!!

  49. Susan Jonsson says:

    Know just what to do now with the clear vinyl in my cupboard….Lots of good techniques in this great tutorial….Thanks for sharing.


  50. super cute! I’m so scared I’m going to destroy my machine by attempting to sew with vinyl though!!

  51. Samantha says:

    I’v enever seen embroidery floss wound around clothespins. Interesting idea! Does it make it more functional that way, or just cute?

    The bag is darling 🙂

  52. Fawn says:

    this is definitely an improvement over ziplock bags although the snaps definitely intimidate me!

  53. Jodi says:

    @bree, Those are the “Regular” sized clothespins. Purchased at walmart, 50 pins for a $1. I have also purchased some miniature ones there in their office supplies section, but I think they would be too tiny for the floss.

    And thank you everyone. I hope you get to enjoy some embroidery this summer too! Send me a picture if you make one!!

  54. Amy B. says:

    Love the zipper on the vinyl idea. That’s my kind of way to put in a zipper!

  55. Allison C says:

    I love that it is clear! Much better than a plastic ziplock bag which inevitably breaks when you least expect it to.

  56. kate says:

    Love this idea! Will definitely make one; I even have some clear vinyl in my stash.

    I want to know about the beautiful yellow/grey bag in the last photo (before the tute); can anyone tell me where it’s from?

  57. Sunny says:

    What a nice idea for a project bag. So much better than my usual ziploc baggy.

  58. Caryn says:

    I love the clear plastic pockets on this. I may use that idea when I make up a case to carry my hexi project. Thanks.

  59. Diann Cornell says:

    I’ve been using a Zip Lock baggie to carry my embroidery around, but this is so much better. It could also be adapted to carry many other things.

  60. Rachel B says:

    I love this. Most project bags I’ve seen are not see-through. And the clothespin bobbins are adorable.

  61. This is such a great tute! thank you … I’m going to make one for all my nerdy cables and memory sticks on the go … brilliant! I even have some clear vinyl – woohoo!

  62. Water Works says:

    Thanks for such a great idea. I know my mom would love this for her “car ride” projects!

  63. Emily says:

    Love that the pouch is clear! Saves rummaging around, which is when my bags become a mess. I think I even have some vinyl in the cupboard too. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  64. marthaeliza says:

    very cute! How intriguing to sew with plastic — I’ll have to give it a try.

  65. Terri Harlan says:

    eeep! this is so awesome. Thank you for sharing!

  66. Beth says:

    Supercute bag! Love the embroidery project too!

  67. Margaret says:

    Brilliant! I love the way the handle is made.

  68. kathyh says:

    Might make one today.

  69. What a fun way to take your stitching with you!! This is going on my to do list for sure. Thank you so much Jodi.

  70. Sally says:

    This is very adorable! I love the way the zipper gets attached, too. I will definitely be making one of these over the summer.

  71. great tutorial, i was just thinking i needed a to-go embroidery bag to take to work so i can stitch during lunch time 🙂

  72. Melinda says:

    Definitely going to try out this tutorial!

  73. Erica says:

    Cute stitching bag!!

  74. Marit Barbakken says:

    Love this tutorial. I have some vinyl just waiting for this project!
    And I’m longing for the modern patchwork book… Just saying…

  75. Amanda says:

    I want to take up embroidery just so I can make this little bag & have clothespins with thread on them!

  76. Beth C. says:

    Great tutorial! I’ve never sewn a project with clear vinyl but your instructions give me confidence to give this a try.
    Thanks, Beth in AL

  77. Bree says:

    This may sound crazy… Do you know where you got these specific clothes pins the floss is wrapped around? I’m looking for ones that are a tiny bit smaller than normal ones.

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