DIY Folk Flower Tote | Inspired by Mexican Embroidery

Make this tote in time for Cinco de Mayo! It’s inspired by a love for the vibrant and beautiful hand-embroidery of Mexico, full of color and charming floral motifs. Want to see my inspiration? Check out these gorgeous pics of Mexican embroidery.

Now I’m no expert on embroidery, but I’ve done my fair share and I really enjoy it. Still, this dabble in Mexican embroidery was quite a departure for me. I used a full six strands of embroidery floss throughout, chose all sorts of color I’d normally object to, and last but not least, had to fight all my strange apprehensions and fears about using fill stitches. I’m normally a back-stitch kinda girl because it’s easy-peasy. Fill stitches give me the goose bumps, but I have to say that by the end of this piece, I’d lost all inhibitions and my perfectionist tendencies were set free. I was embroidering fast, and it was fun!

If you’d like to give it a try, download the Folk Flower embroidery PDF pattern here. I think you’ll find it’s just the right size for beginners and lots of fun for more advanced stitchers.

When you’re done with the embroidery, you could simply frame it, or incorporate it into a zipper pouch, a hot pad, a mug rug, or this tote bag. Fill it with goodies and give it as a gift!

Let’s get started on the tote bag!

1. Embroider the Folk Flower pattern onto your 6″ x 13 3/4″ cotton solid (the navy blue piece above). Center the pattern and start it 4 1/2″ from the top of the fabric.

2. Add your trim (trim x 13 3/4″) to each side of the embroidered piece. Add a 3 1/2″ x 13 3/4″ panel of linen to each side. Press so that the trim is pointing outwards. Add a 12″ x 3″ piece of linen to bottom. Press and topstitch. Add trim (trim x 12″) to top and 16″ handle (center and space 4″ apart). Optional, add a small tag 4″ down from the left hand side.

3. The back of the bag is made of one piece of linen 12″ x 13 3/4″ with another linen piece 12″ x 3″ sewn to bottom. Add trim (trim x 12″) along top. Attach second handle.

4. You’ll need 2 pieces of lining 12″ x 16 1/4″. With right sides facing, sew one lining piece to the top of bag front. Then sew one lining piece to the top of bag back. Press these two pieces open.

5. Lay the two pieces, right sides facing (with bag front facing bag back and lining pieces facing). Pin all around the edges. Pay close attention to pinning well at the seam where the bag and lining meet. Now sew all around this long rectangle leaving a 4″ opening for turning at the lining end.

6. Pull bag right side out through opening and push lining into bag. Press into shape, pushing out the corners. Sew the opening closed by hand using the slipstitch. Finished!