No-Sew Flower Applique Tote Bag Tutorial

Looking for a quick and easy tote bag project?  Have you done iron-on appliqué? Applique is so simple and works for so many projects.  Today's tutorial, in honor of spring and Earth Day, is on how to make a plain tote into a no-sew flower appliqued tote bag.

No Sew Flower Appliqued Tote Bag Tutorial - fb

how to applique a Tote Bag

We at love to reuse to save the environment!  And our version of an appliqued tote bag is an easy Earth Day craft that is reusable over and over again.

I don't think you can have too many totes.  Tote bags can be used as shopping bags,  book bags, travel or storage bags, craft bags, laptop carriers, beach bags, pool bags, gym bags and gift bags. 

If you're a mom, they can be filled with diapers, wipes, drinks, snacks and toys for little ones.

Raw edge applique is one of my favorite ways of adding something special to standard tote bags. It's no-sew! It's super easy to do! It's raw edge applique! You start with a ready-made canvas tote and dressed it up with a colorful iron-on design.  Anyone can do it!

All you need is heat 'n bond adhesive, a scissor and household iron to applique that remains permanently attached to fabric even after washing.

If you are looking for more tote bag tutorials, head over to our quilt tote page or our sewing tote page for lots of inspiration.

Our design today is a simple flower applique pattern.  So let's get started.  Learn this raw edge applique tutorial using a tote bag by watching our video Or keep reading this post for a photo tutorial.

COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link No-Sew Flower Applique Tote Bag Tutorial to watch in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

Flower Tote Bag Finished Full.JPG

Before we begin the applique project, let's discuss applique.

what is applique?

Applique is a lovely embellishment technique that applies one piece of fabric to another to create beautiful designs. It is usually shapes or designs on top of background fabric.  The applique can be left plain or decorated by using different colored or textured threads, beads, sequins and pearls around the edges of the fabric motifs. 

Applique Methods?

Machine Applique

Hand Applique

Fused Applique

Different Styles of Applique?

Needle-Turn Applique - this is the traditional style where the raw edges of the applique are turned under with the needle while you hand stitch the shape to the background.

Freezer Paper Applique - freezer paper template is ironed to wrong-side of fabric, edges turned under, paper removed and template sewn in place.

Raw Edge Applique - fusing or stitching pieces of fabric onto another piece of fabric by hand or machine without turning or finishing the edges.

Reverse Applique - is a fabric manipulation method where you layer fabric and cut away the top layer to reveal the underneath fabric.

Decorative Stitch Applique - either hand or machine stitch along the edge of the applique to make the design stand out.  You can use various embroidery stitches or decorative stitches that come with a sewing machine.

Iron-On Applique - iron-on applique products can be found in many craft, sewing and hobby stores.  These pre-made items and patches can be attached to almost anything with an iron.

Felt Applique - create shapes with felt and stitch them to a background fabric.


How to applique - Flower Tote Bag Finished On Chair.JPG

Our appliqued tote bag uses the fusible applique method with the raw edge applique style.  

ready to get started?  Here's WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Ready-made Plain Tote Bag
  • Flower Applique Pattern (link at bottom of page)
  • Heat 'n Bond UltraHold
  • Scrap Fabric
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Pin

INStRUCTIONS for appliqueing a flower tote bag

STEP 1: gather supplies

Flower Tote Bag Supplies.JPGStep one is to gather your fabric choices and the rest of the supplies listed above.  I love to use scraps when appliqueing tote bags and for other applique projects. It's a scrap buster!

If you want the exact size of the fabric pieces you need for this project, here they are:

1 - Heat 'n Bond UltraHold 12" x 8"

1 - 4" x 6" Green Fabric for Stem and Leaves

1 - 6" x 6" Flower Fabric

1 - 6" x 5" Pot Fabric

1 - 2" x 2" Flower Center

STEP 2: Trace pattern pieces

Flower Tote Bag Pattern.JPGDownload and print the flower applique pattern (link below).  Then, trace the pattern to the paper side of the Heat 'n Bond Ultrahold.  It is very important that you use Heat 'n Bond Ultrahold.  It is a permanent adhesive that can be washed and the applique won't come off.

 To transfer the design onto the Heat 'n Bond you have a few options.

  1. Simply lay the Heat 'n Bond on top of the pattern sheet and trace.  As long as I can see the design, this is my preferred method. 
  2. A light box is a great aid in tracing embroidery patterns.  
  3. Bright window method - Tape the pattern to the window glass so it doesn't move.  Tape the Heat 'n Bond over the pattern and trace.

Step 3: cut pattern pieces

Raw Edge Applique Flower Tote Bag Cut Out Pattern.JPGCut around all the pattern pieces about 1/4" from the line.  You don't have to be precise but DO NOT CUT ON THE LINES.

Flower Tote Bag Pattern Pieces.JPG

STEP 4: Attach pieces to the fabric

Flower Tote Bag Fuze to Fabric.JPGBegin by preheating the iron to a medium heat setting.

Iron the adhesive side of the Heat 'n Bond (the rough side) on the back (wrong side) of the fabric.  The paper side of the Heat 'n Bond is facing up.

Place and hold the iron on the paper for 2 seconds.

STEP 5: cut fabric

Flower Tote Bag Cut Out Pieces.JPGAfter all the pieces have been adhered to the fabric, cut out all the shapes along the drawn line.

Flower Tote Bag Pieces Ready.JPG

STEP 6: attach to a tote bag

Flower Tote Bag Iron Bag.JPGBegin by ironing the tote bag to remove any wrinkles where you will be placing the design.

Flower Tote Bag Peel Off Backing.JPGThen, with the flower, flower pot and stem shapes, peel the paper off of the cutout.  A quick tip for removing the paper is to take a pin and lightly score the paper.  You will find it is easier to remove.

Flower Tote Bag Fuze To Bag.JPGPlace the fabric flower, flower pot and stem pieces adhesive side down on top of the tote bag.  The stem piece ends can be placed slightly under the flower and the pot.

Again with the iron on a medium setting, press and hold the iron for 8 seconds on each section until the entire pieces are bonded.

Flower Tote Bag Finished.JPGLast, adhere the flower center and leaves to the tote bag.

Ta-Da! The tote bag is finished.

Flower Tote Bag Finished Hanging.JPG

Canvas tote bags make great gifts and they're also a wonderful way to carry things around town or home from the store.

I hope that you enjoyed this DIY blog on how to turn a plain tote bag into an applique tote bag. If you like this project be sure to pin, bookmark and share.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m happy to help or clarify anything.

Don't forget to celebrate Earth Day! Have a wonderful Spring!  



If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.


Supporting Products and links: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

Flower Applique Pattern PDF

Click for the pattern for this project.

Heat 'N Bond UltraHold

Heat 'N Bond UltraHold #ad

Double-sides iron-on adhesive, 17 inches x 5 yards, white. Affiliate Link to Amazon

Heat 'N Bond UltraHold

Heat 'N Bond UltraHold #ad

Thermoweb Heat 'n Bond Ultra Hold Iron-On Adhesive - 17 inches X 12 inches. Permanent adhesive product. Affiliate Link to Amazon

Mary Ellen's Best Press

Mary Ellen's Best Press #ad

This is a clear starch alternative with soil guard and wrinkle resister. Makes ironing easier, non-flaking even on dark fabrics, non-clogging, acid-free, leaves no residue behind, relaxes stubborn wrinkles, gives clothing and fabric a crisp, new finish. Affiliate Link to Amazon

Plain Tote Bags

Plain Tote Bags #ad

Amazon had all types, colors and sizes of tote bags. Affiliate Link to Amazon

No Sew Flower Appliqued Tote Bag Tutorial - pin

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