Dress Up a Plain Tote with Piping

Piped Tote Bag Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Welcome back to Tote Week! Yesterday, Jaime gave us a great tutorial for sewing your own Canvas Tote Bags. If you’re short on time (or don’t have a sewing machine), there’s nothing wrong with cheating a little.

Tote Week | Pretty Handy Girl

Today I want to show you a great way to add some character to a store bought tote bag. You can dress up a plain tote bag with piping. I purchased canvas tote bags at Michael’s for a few dollars. You can purchase piping or make your own easily (if you have a sewing machine.) If you don’t own a sewing machine, purchase pre-made piping and buy some double stick hem tape or hot glue to secure the piping instead of sewing it on.

Piped Tote Bag Tutorial


Piped Tote Bag Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Tote bag
  • Scissors
  • Piping (tutorial to make your own piping)
  • Fabric
  • Rope
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Sewing machine (use hot glue or double stick hem tape if you don’t have a sewing machine)


Start by making your piping. Be sure to make enough to line the rim of your tote bag and overlap by at least 2 inches.

Piped Tote Bag Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

If your tote bag handles are sewn to the inside of the bag, rip the top seam off to free the handles from the top edge of the tote bag.

Piped Tote Bag Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Begin pinning your piping around the inside of the top edge of the bag. Fold the raw edge over and between the bag and the piping as shown below:

Piped Tote Bag Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Overlap the edges of the piping in an inconspicuous spot (near a back handle.) [Continue reading…]

How to Sew a Custom Canvas Tote

Tote Week | Pretty Handy Girl

Hey guys! Do you know what today is? It’s the beginning of Tote Week! What, you had no idea? Tote Week here on Pretty Handy Girl is five days devoted to Tote Bags! Learn how to sew adorable tote bags and how to customize store bought tote bags.

To start us off, Jaime is here to give you the basic sewing tutorial to make your own lined (and monogrammed) tote bag. Jaime is from That’s My Letter, a blog filled with DIY Tutorials. Today, she’s showing you How to Sew a Custom Canvas Tote complete with painted monogram:

canvas tote

This tote makes a great everyday bag or purse, just big enough for all the important stuff but not too bulky.  The finished size is 16″w x 9″h x 8″ square at the base, and the handles extend about 6″ in height.

canvas tote 13

The tote is fully lined and includes an interior zippered pocket.  The zipper is easy as pie I promise!  I’ll show you how down below.

You can add any monogram or name to personalize the tote.  Then you’ll be making canvas totes as gifts for all your friends.

canvas tote 3

The square base makes for a nice wide tote and the canvas is super durable:

canvas tote 2


  • drop cloth canvas (1 yard)
  • blue canvas (1/2 yard outdoor patio fabric Sunbrella or the like)
  • lining (1 yard)
  • medium weight fusible interfacing (1 yard)
  • firm interfacing – 9″ x 9″
  • 1 1/2″w cotton webbing (1 yard)
  • 9″ zipper
  • lightbox
  • small paintbrush
  • acrylic paint
  • sewing machine, thread to match, iron, seam ripper

Materials Cut List:


  • 1 – blue canvas 9″ x 9″
  • 1 – lining 9″ x 9″
  • 1 – drop cloth canvas 9″ x 9″
  • 1 – firm interfacing 9″ x 9″


  • 2 – drop cloth canvas 10″h x 17″l
  • 2 – med. fusible interfacing 10″ x 17″
  • 2 – lining 10″ x 17″
  • 2 – blue canvas 4″h x 17″w

Handles: 2 – 1 1/2″w cotton webbing @ 17″l


canvas tote fabric cuts

Step 1: Cut materials (see cut list above).

canvas tote base

Step 2: Prepare base.  Sandwich drop cloth, firm interfacing then blue canvas. [Continue reading…]

DIY Courage on Monday

#DIYCourage Twitter Chat Every First Monday of the Month

This month’s #DIYCourage chat is all about you! What have you been working on? What are your plans and what are your desert island tools? We hope you’ll join Sara Bendrick, from DIY Network’s “I Hate My Yard,” and myself on Monday, August 3rd at 8:30pm EST/5:30pm PST.

We’ll also be asking who your DIY heroes are, so come prepared to answer some questions.

And, once again, Duluth Trading Company will be giving away a $100 gift card to one lucky winner. Plus, we have an exciting announcement involving the whole month of August. Don’t miss out on this Twitter Chat.

If you are new to Twitter Chats, all you need to know is:

1. Put the #DIYCourage hashtag in the search bar in Twitter (Hootsuite or TweetChat)

2. Tweet your answers and questions using the same hashtag

Hope to see you there!


Make Your Own Clock Sign

Make Your Own Clock Sign | Pretty Handy Girl

Making a clock is an easy project. All you need is a flat surface that you can drill a hole into and BOOM, you can make a clock. Let’s get started and I’ll show you How to Make Your Own Clock Sign. Materials: Chalkboard sign (I purchased this chalkboard sign at Tuesday Morning.) Clock mechanism Ruler […]

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10 DIY Frugal House Cleaners

10 DIY Frugal Cleaning Products | Pretty Handy Girl

On a quest to save money while cleaning your home? Do you want to use less chemicals when you clean? This is a compilation of 10 DIY Frugal Cleaners that I use in my home.  You can easily make them with common household ingredients. Soon your home will be clean and your wallet fat! Super […]

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Metal Number Sign

Metal Number Sign | Pretty Handy Girl

Want a quick and easy way to display a favorite number? Create a metal number art sign for your wall; for wedding tables; to commemorate your favorite athlete, etc. Materials: Metal sign (found at Michael’s) Spray Paint Numbers Antiquing Wax Wax brush E-6000 glue Ruler (Note: You can make your own metal sign by cutting sheet […]

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Apply for the Dremel Maker in Residence Program


Dremel Initiates a National Search for DREMEL MAKERS IN RESIDENCE! Are you a maker? Do you love your Dremel tools as much as I do? It’s time to put down your rotary tool and enter yourself into the running to be sworn into the Dremel Maker in Residence Program. Dremel®, the brand trusted by Makers, tinkers, artists […]

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Upcycled Cabinet Door Chalkboard Art

Upcycled Cabinet Door Quote Art | Pretty Handy Girl

What do you do with an old cabinet door? Besides keep it with your wood scraps for ten years like I did (not recommended.) You can create pre-framed art! Today I have an easy Upcycled Cabinet Door Chalkboard Art project for you. If you have an old cabinet door, some paint, and a stencil, you can have […]

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DIY Pouf Ottoman ~ Tutorial and Lessons Learned


Hey everyone!  It’s Katie again from Addicted 2 DIY.  Today, I have (1) a tutorial on how to make a fun DIY pouf ottoman and (2) a few lessons I learned while I was making mine that will help you out when making your own.  I’m pretty certain it’s hard to miss the fact that pouf ottomans are everywhere right now. […]

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5 Tips for Better Looking Videos on Periscope

5 Tips for Better Looking Periscope Videos | Pretty Handy Girl

Are you using Periscope yet? I know my initial thoughts were, “No way! I am not going to sign up for yet another social media platform. This Handy Girl ain’t got time for that nonsense.” This weekend I was bit by the ‘scope bug. Granted, this happened after an initial dive into the Periscope world […]

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Faux Aged Metal Pulley

Faux Aged Metal Pulley | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you love rustic metal pulleys, but don’t like the hefty price tag? Wouldn’t you rather have a rustic metal pulley for less than $5? Ah, I have a secret. That beautiful rustic metal pulley above is actually: Plastic! Ready to see how I secretly transformed that black plastic pulley into a gorgeous faux aged […]

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Plenty O’ Storage from One Board

Plenty 'o Storage from One Board | Pretty Handy Girl

Before we get started, did you enter the $1,000 Build.com #LoveItMoment giveaway? Only a few days left, so get crackin’! What would you say if I told you that I took one board…one 1″ x 8″ x 8′ board and created a faux cubby box with Plenty O’ Storage that will work in any room in […]

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Home is Where the Heart Is – Door Decor

house shape door decor 1

How about an unusual front door decor idea today?  Jaime from That’s My Letter here to share this house shape door decor project with free plans to make your own. A little play on “home is where the heart is,” this door decor is definitely different and not your typical wreath.  I used 1×3 pine […]

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Lemon Zest Popcorn

Lemon Zest Popcorn {Gift Idea} | Pretty Handy Girl

Lemon Zest Popcorn Recipe Want a summer recipe for popcorn? One that has that tangy zest and sweet buttery flavor. You’ll definitely love this recipe for Lemon Zest Popcorn. And as a bonus, you can make a big batch and give some in handled mason jars as a gift. This is an idea I had […]

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Easy Plexiglass Art Frame

Easy Plexiglass Art Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you ever wanted to frame a piece of art but didn’t want to pay the high cost to buy a custom frame? Or worse, you’re like me and too lazy to DIY your own frame? That’s where I found myself last week when I was creating the perfect gallery wall. I was at the […]

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Endurance BioBarrier Review & Giveaway

Mold & Mildew Free Shower for 4 months | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m going to warn you now, this is not a pretty post. But, this product review of Endurance Cleaner Prep and Endurance BioBarrier will most likely be one of your favorite posts if you deal with continual mold & mildew growth (especially in a small coffin-like shower from the 1970’s.) You may remember how much […]

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DIY Feather Art

DIY Feather Art | Pretty Handy Girl

When I needed an extra piece of art for our living room gallery wall I created DIY Feather Art. You can create your own, but please purchase craft feathers, use fake feathers or paper feathers. (Per the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is illegal to collect feathers, nests and other anatomical parts of certain migratory birds.) Materials: Rustic […]

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Sunburn Relief Spray

Enter to Win the Natural Solutions Kit

I’ve mentioned a few times that I love using doTERRA essential oils. I have to admit I was a big fat skeptic when I went to a local Introduction to Essential Oils class two years ago. But, when the instructor passed around a sample of doTERRA Deep Blue and I rubbed it onto my sore hip […]

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How to Make an Ottoman Table

How to Make an Ottoman Table

Design inspiration can often come in the least-expected places. It can happen when you are in an airport or at the farmers market or just plain window shopping in your home town. Last year when I was at the Haven blog conference, I fell in love with this table I saw in the hotel restaurant. But […]

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12 Tips to Create a Perfect Gallery Wall

12 Tips to Create the Perfect Gallery Wall | Pretty Handy Girl

When you Don’t Love It, a room in your home can become a place to avoid. Last week I hung our TV on the wall in our living room, but was cringing because that big fat TV was screaming “Look at me! Look at me!” It was killing the cozy vibe I wanted to create in our […]

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