Free Design: Floral Tote with Embroidered Pocket

Note: Finished size of tote measured flat: 18-inches wide X 17-inches high. Embroidered pocket measures 9-inches square when finished.
Brighten your day and create an embroidered tote worthy of all your spring and summer travel and shopping trips. This one has a big pocket decorated with our Free Design of the Month
combined with fancy fill stitches. Follow the instructions and see how to create this design using the stamp feature combined with fancy fills from the Brother My Design Center option. Great for gift giving, this tote would be an ideal gift for Mother’s Day.

Materials and Supplies

  • Brother
    sewing and embroidery machine with My Design Center option. Machine featured here is the Brother XV8550D Dream Machine2
    with <>
    Premium Pack II Upgrade kit installed. Additional Brother models include My Design Center option. Check your machine for details and specific steps for creating fancy fills.
  • 9 ½-inch square hoop. Note: The Free birdhouse design fits within a 5” X 7” hoop. Use design on a plain pocket if you don’t have the option for creating a special fill design.
  • Brother
    Embroidery Thread and Brother
    Bobbin Thread.
  • Size 11 embroidery needle for embroidering. Size 14 sharp needle for sewing.
  • Basic sewing notions including a removeable marker for fabric and a tool for turning straps.
  • Brother Free Design of the month.
    See Figure #1.

Fabric pieces for tote:

  • Firm, medium weight cotton solid for embroidered pocket: Cut one piece measuring 14-inches wide X 18-inches long. Fuse medium weight interfacing to wrong side of piece.
  • Lightweight cotton for pocket lining: Cut one piece measuring 10 ¼-inches square.
  • Firm, medium weight cotton floral print: Cut two pieces measuring 19-inches wide X 21 ½-inches long, one for front and one for back of tote.
  • Firm, medium weight cotton floral print: Cut two strips measuring 3 ½-inches wide X 34-inches long for tote bag straps.

Brother Free Design of the Month:

[caption id="attachment_19728" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #1[/caption]

Steps to Create Tote

  1. Set up machine for embroidery. Transfer and set the free design. Touch Edit. Change thread colors to coordinate with your fabric print if desired. See Figure #2 for modified colors.
[caption id="attachment_19729" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #2[/caption]
  1. Before going any further, save the modified design to the built-in memory or another memory option. Create pocket using My Design Center, following basic steps below.
Tip: Use the Operation manual for Premium Pack II Upgrade to help familiarize yourself with tools and icons presented here. Download for manual for future reference.
Note: The following method differs slightly from the manual. In this case we are creating the decorative fill first, and then adding the saved design to stitch the combination all at once. Start by touching the stamp key to generate an outline around design. See Figure #3.
[caption id="attachment_19730" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #3[/caption] Increase the distance from the outline, spacing it a little further from the design. Touch the icon to save the stamp for retrieval in My Design Center. See Figure #4. [caption id="attachment_19731" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #4[/caption] Touch OK. Touch Home key to delete pattern from the screen and exit. Open My Design Center. Touch the stamp key and then touch the hoop icon to select the frame embroidery area for our fill stitch boundary. Select the 9 ½-inch square hoop. See Figure #5. [caption id="attachment_19732" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #5[/caption] Touch OK. Touch the stamp key once again. This time touch the flower key and retrieve your saved outline. See Figure #6. [caption id="attachment_19733" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #6[/caption] Touch OK. Next, select the bucket icon from the Brush Tool Key. Touch the Region Property icon just below the bucket to select a fancy fill to surround the stamped outline, choosing a thread color that coordinates with your design. This example features fill pattern No. 004. See Figure #7a and #7b. [caption id="attachment_19734" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #7a[/caption] [caption id="attachment_19735" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #7b[/caption] Touch OK twice to return to the My Design Center screen. Touch the space just outside the outline to fill the area. See Figure #7c. [caption id="attachment_19736" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #7c[/caption] Touch Next to go to the settings page. Be sure outline is set to ON, then set size for 60 percent. Touch Preview. Touch OK to generate the stitches. Touch Set, and then OK to proceed to the embroidery screen. Touch Add and retrieve the saved design from memory. See example of completed design in Figure #8. [caption id="attachment_19737" align="aligncenter" width="451"] Figure #8[/caption] Hoop 14-inch X 18-inch piece of fabric and embroider pocket design. Remove from hoop and set aside temporarily.
  1. Set up machine for sewing.
Note: A ½-inch seam allowance is used for all seams. With right sides together and long raw edges matching, sew strips for bag handles. Turn right side out. Press so seam is in center of strap. Topstitch 1/4-inch from folded edges to finish strap and help keep seam allowance flat. See both sides of straps in Figure #9.
[caption id="attachment_19738" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #9[/caption] Set straps aside temporarily.
  1. Hem top edges of tote front and back by turning raw edge under ½-inch, and then folding over a 1-inch hem. Stitch close to folded edge.
  • Press embroidered pocket piece and then trim so piece has a ½-inch seam allowance outside the embroidered stitching line. Layer pocket lining with embroidered pocket piece. Trim lining if necessary, so both pieces match. Sew pocket lining to pocket with right sides together, stitching just outside the final embroidered stitching line and leaving a 5-inch opening for turning at the bottom.
Tips for stitching pocket: Stitch across each corner with two small stitches to make corners that are neat and easy to turn. Re-enforce corners with a second line of stitching. Use the Sew Straight™ laser guide to help you sew right along the edge of the stitching line. See Figure #10.
[caption id="attachment_19739" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #10[/caption]
  1. Clip corners and turn pocket right side out. Press bottom opening closed. Pin pocket to tote front with top edge of pocket 4-inches from top edge of tote. See Figure #11.
[caption id="attachment_19740" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #11[/caption] Change to thread that matches the final embroidered stitching line and stitch close to the edge, anchoring the pocket to the tote and closing the opening in the process. Once again, you’ll find the Sew Straight™ laser guide will help you stitch close to the edge. See Figure #12. [caption id="attachment_19741" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #12[/caption] Layer tote front and back with right sides and hemmed edges matching. Sew side seams using ½-inch seam allowance. Finish raw edges with overcast stitch No. 1-17, using foot “G.” Press seams toward back piece and then stitch down the seam allowance at top of bag, anchoring it in place. Sew bottom seam using ½-inch seam allowance and finish with overcasting. Box bottom corners as follows: Match up side seam with bottom seam, forming a point. Measure 3-inches from the point and draw a straight line. See Figure #13. [caption id="attachment_19742" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Figure #13[/caption] Stitch on the line. Next, fold each loose, pointed end toward the bottom seam. Stitch points to bottom seam to keep points from shifting.
Tip: As an alternative you could trim excess fabric from the point leaving a ½-inch seam allowance, and then overcast the raw edges. However, if your fabric is not too bulky, leaving the excess fabric helps strengthen the bottom of the tote.
  1. Pin bag handles to top edge of tote front, turning raw edge under ½-inch and placing straps in line with pocket. Mark stitching line for a re-enforced box shape. Repeat steps for handles on tote back. See example of stitching below:
You are finished! Enjoy using your beautiful new tote!

Options and Ideas:

  • Bag handles are long enough to wear on your shoulder. Shorten straps as desired if you prefer another style.
  • In place of the firm cotton, feel free to use quilt weight cotton and add a layer of thin batting for your main pocket piece.
  • Use this beautiful design directly on a plain tote for a quicker finished project.