Do-Lit-Yourself: Tote-ally Embroidery

June 29, 2016

The humble canvas tote bag is the secret currency of the literary world – tote-related contests to passionate debates have been launched all over North America. But what happens when your tote bag is not looking so fresh?* Embroidery, to the rescue! 

*Excuse the symmetry we drew, there. We may still be thinking about some other embroidery that we talked about yesterday.

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Do-Lit-Yourself is a column for book lovers with a crafty streak. This pinteresting monthly is penned by LPG Education and Engagement manager Lauren Perruzza.


The plus-side of embroidery is that it's a cheap craft to start out on: you'll just need embroidery floss, scissors, a needle or two (with differing "eyes" or hole sizes) and your tote bag. If your tote is made of a flimsier material, you may need an embroidery hoop to keep the rest of it out of your working way. (Luckily, our full of lit book bags are sturdy AF, so you can skip this step unless you're doing some intense detail).

Next, decide on a simple design to enhance your bag's natural beauty. This could mean some kind of outline stitch (like the Japanese Sashiko-style waves on bag #1) or a fill, whether satin stitch (the completely filled in red on the BookThug bag) or a more open-style fill (like the yellow stripes on the this book at the top of the stack).


We could detail the ins and outs (geddit?) of embroidery, but there are so many resources online that can explain it better than we ever could. Check out Purl Soho or lose yourself in the rose-tinted world that is Pinterest. Then, churn out some jazzed-up totes like these:


Natasha's bag starts with a fill, and she could totally keep going - filling in all the books with a different stitch style.

Tan's BookThug bag gets updated with the publisher's new logo (hint: while gorgeous, this is not a cost-effective way of updating your merchandise).

Lauren's seen-better-days OG ALU tote is spruced up with those Sashiko waves we mentioned.


Share your own tote-embroidery forays with us on Instagram or Twitter! We'd love to see what you come up with. Happy crafting!


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