Embroider the Perfect Tote for Book Club

Show off your love of books — and devotion to book club — with a bag toting all of your favorite reads. It’s one of those fun projects you can add to as you cross books off your list. Keep your embroidery materials nearby and you can even stitch new titles while discussing the latest read!

Embroidered Book Club Tote Bag

Level: Easy

Christie and Isa give humdrum tote bags a makeover using creative embroidery and appliqué techniques!
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What You Need

Shop the Kit

flat lay of hand embroidery starter kit on purple background
Hand Embroidery Starter Box From Bluprint Get all the supplies you need for this project (except for the canvas tote) delivered straight to your door with our Bluprint Hand Embroidery Box! Shop now


1. Choose Your Book Titles

Using a transfer pen, write your favorite book titles onto the front of your canvas tote. You can either fill the entire tote, or leave room to add more as you cross books off your reading list.

Pro Tip

Use any font design you’d like — we alternated between cursive and print. If you have a favorite computer font you’d like to use, a lightbox will help you transfer the design.

2. Hoop Up

Place your tote in between the inner and outer hoops, so the titles you want to start stitching are inside the circle. (It’s OK if they don’t all fit — you may need to move the hoop around as you go.) Tighten the nut at the top of the hoop. Alternate pulling the fabric taut and tightening the nut until the fabric is taut like a drum.

Pro Tip

If you’re having trouble tightening your fabric, flip your hoop over and pull all around the edges from the back to give you some extra oomph.

3. Stitch Your First Title

Take your first color of embroidery floss and separate it into three strands, then thread your needle.

Begin to stitch your first title using a split stitch. To create a split stitch, bring your needle up from the back and take a single stitch along the line you are working on. Come up through the back again, bringing the needle through the first stitch and splitting the fibers. Go back down to complete the stitch.

Good to Know

Split stitch isn’t your only option — these stitches are also great for adding personality to your hand embroidered letters.

4. Finish the Title

When you’ve completed a title, instead of tying the knot to finish you can bury the end of the floss into previous stitches. This keeps the end piece of floss secure, while providing a smoother finish to your project.

5. Repeat

Repeat steps 3 and 4 for all the titles on your tote, moving your hoop around as needed. Feel free to use the same colored floss for all, or mix it up however you see fit — different colors for different letters, titles, etc only let your personality shine!

Find Your Next Project

Personalize more tote bags with these creative tutorials.

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An appliqué design is kind of like the cherry on top of a sundae: a tasty add-on that makes your project extra special. The trouble is (we're not gonna lie here), some forms of appliqué take quite a bit of skill and practice to master. But not this one! The raw-edge appliqué method is incredibly beginner-friendly, and the perfect way to try your hand and this decorative technique.
Lindsay Conner

February 05, 2020
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Embroider the Perfect Tote for Book Club