Quick Christmas Gifts, Part 2

Hi fellow quilters,

I’m back again today with another fun idea for some quick quilted Christmas gifts, so here we go…

Idea #2: Make a cool tote bag!

Personalized tote bags make wonderful Christmas gifts.  You can wrap another present inside the bag, or the bag can BE the gift.  Tote bags are appropriate for people of all ages, and are useful too.  Tote bags are easy to sew; it takes just a few hours to make one, depending upon how fancy you go with the embellishments.  You can personalize it for the recipient by using their favorite colors, as well as decorate the bag with a fun applique on the front.

This cute tote bag was made to show off our “Merry Christmas Giraffe Elf” applique pattern.  I chose four contrasting Christmas prints for the bag: a light green snowflake print for the front panel, a bright red solid for the sides, a cheerful stripe for the lining and cuff, and a pretty green for the handles.  I added the giraffe elf applique to make the tote super cute!  I might go ahead and apply a few heat-set crystals to make the string of lights sparkle and shine, but I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet.  Wouldn’t you feel festive, carrying this adorable tote out for an afternoon of Christmas shopping!

girelf (2)

This tote bag was a birthday gift for my Mom.  Isn’t it precious!!  Mom just loved all of our animal ballerinas, but her favorite is the pig ballerina.  She looks as if she’s saying “I’m all dressed up for the ballet recital, but now what do I do?”  Mom’s favorite color is blue, but she likes purple too. so that’s why I chose this combination of fabrics for her bag.  The front panel is a water-color print that features blue and purple, the side panels and handles are blue with purple dots, and the lining is a sweet purple print with hearts. The piggy dancer’s dress coordinates with the colors of the bag, and was made with fabrics from my extensive private textile collection (a.k.a. fabric stash).  I added some heat-set crystals to enhance the ballerina’s tiara and her ballet costume.  This bag is just the right size for Mom’s knitting projects, and she loves it!


I’m a proud Montana State University alumni (Go Cats!).  I’ve always loved our Bobcat applique design, and had thought about making something special with it to show my college spirit.  When I found this great MSU batik while I was on vacation in Bozeman, MT,  I decided that I HAD to have some of it, and that it would become a bag.  I found two coordinating fabrics, a swirly blue and gold print for the lining and a gold blender for the front panel and straps.  I think that my choices look great with the batik!  I’m keeping this one as a gift to myself.

Bobcat bag

I used the “3-Fabric, 10-Step Lined Tote” by The Inspired Wren to make the bags that you’ve seen in this post.  If you have another bag pattern that you like, make sure that you have an area at least 7″ by 7″ square for the applique design.

I modified the original pattern by adding a 7″ finished-size panel in the center of the bag’s body, with the rest of the bag’s width divided equally to make the side panels.  (Be sure to add seam allowances when cutting, if you decide to do this as well!)  This design modification makes the applique stand out from the rest of the bag.  If you don’t want to alter the pattern, make sure that you choose a base fabric that contrasts well with your applique so it doesn’t blend in.  You’ll want to be able to see the applique on your finished tote.  :o)

Create, apply, and finish your applique before sewing your bag, since it is easiest to stitch when the fabric can be laid out flat.  I used a machine blanket stitch and black machine embroidery thread to finish my appliques, but you can use any applique method that you like.

After the applique is finished, just follow the pattern instructions to complete your tote bag.  Easy to do, and sew much fun!

Thank you for stopping by today!  We’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment to let us know what you think about tote bags as Christmas gifts.  I hope that you’ll be inspired to create a fun tote bag for someone you love!

Happy quilting,