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Toddler Tote Tutorial {Lifestyle Crafts}

I have been all grins waiting to post this. I might be a little partial because my daughter is so stinkin cute when she plays with it, or maybe it’s just the cutest little tote for toddlers EVER, you tell me : )

Lifestyle Crafts is releasing the new Maritime Line. Isn’t it just adorable?!

Maritime DIes

Maritime Die Cut

They are perfect for all the fun nautical projects I have seen floating around pinterest!

I got the cute little whale, and this time I decided to use it a little differently. Instead of using it as paper, I made a stencil with it! Did you know that the Epic 6 could do that? Well it can! and it’s pretty awesome I might add!

Cherished Bliss Toddler Tote Tutorial

So this would make an adorable Christmas present right? Well… this year I am planning on making my kids’ Christmas a handmade one! I always want to, but I usually start too late. What better than a little CHRISTMAS IN JULY to get you started? So in order to motivate myself, and any other women out there who want to give handmade gifts this year, I will be having a Christmas in July mini series at the end of the month! I had so much fun making this for my daughter and she has been carrying it around everywhere. They LOVE whatever you make them because you are their mommy! So handmade Christmas? Yes I think so! So get ready for some inspiration!

Whale Toddler Tote Tutorial

This little toddler tote tutorial is super quick to make! You don’t need much fabric either!


Cut List
My main fabric was an old white curtain that I cut up. That’s why you see the nice seam along the top. But if yours doesn’t have that you don’t need to make the seem because you will be sewing there anyway.

Ric Rac
I did 4 blue, 3 white of the ric rac

-piece of scrap fabric to paint your little whale onto
-and of course you will need a sewing machine and your basic sewing tools.
-I also used invisible thread to sew down the ric rac, but totally not necessary!

{making me the stencil}
This is where I used my whale die cut. I used it just like I normally do. You can find my tutorial for using die cuts HERE

Once you are done cutting it out you will be left with this:
Make Stencil with Die Cut

Then I taped this down on a little scrap piece of white fabric and painted my little whale on with some regular acrylic paint. You can use a fabric medium if you want to get all technical, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal since it’s such a small area.

{sewing the bag}

Then I took my scrap fabric with my painted whale and attached it to the top center of one of my main fabric bag pieces. I didn’t follow applique techniques. I just used a zig zag stitch to attach it. Sort of like how you would a clothing tag.

Whale Tag

Next I laid out my ric rac to see roughly how I wanted it to look.

Lay out ric rac
(my tag was already in place when I did this, I took this picture before I sewed the tag on, but forgot to take a picture when I actually went through the process, so let’s pretend the cute little whale tag is there ok? ok!)

Once you have it in place you will start sewing down your ric rac starting with your top piece (the one directly under your whale tag). I sewed as close to the bottom of the ric rac as possible, still staying in the center of it. I just kind of eyeballed it as I went making sure the bag didn’t show through and it looked like waves. Doesn’t have to be perfect!

Once you are done sewing them all down, you are going to trim of the edges with a straight edge, or scissors if you don’t have one.

trim ric rac

Now take your lining fabric and your main fabric you just sewed the ric rac to and put them right sides together. Sew across the top.

sew front to lining

Now repeat with your other Main Fabric and Lining pieces. When you are done, press your seams towards the main fabric on both pieces.

Now you will take both your pieces you just pressed and lay them right sides together. Make sure you line up your two seams *important*

Sew together

Now stitch all the way around, starting on the lining pieces. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end and leave a small hole to turn right side out.

Leave Opening

This is optional. I decided after I got this far to add gussets to the bottom, so I did that on all 4 corners (the lining and the main bag) If you don’t want to, just move on to the next step. Here is how the gussets look. I only made them about an inch. Just to give it a little shape.


Clip your corners (if you chose not to do the gussets), and turn right side out. Press your opening and topstitch closed.

Sew hole closed

Now put your lining inside your bag and top stitch all the way around the edge of your bag.

top stitch around the top

Now set that aside and let’s work on the straps.
Take your strips and press each raw edge in about 1/4” – 1/2” I was exact with this measurement either. You just want to make sure you have a solid straight line when you are done pressing. Once you do both sides fold it in half and press.

Iron straps

Now top stitch along each edge.

sew up both sides strap

Now you are going to fold up your raw edge and pin it in place on the front of your bag.

pin straps down

Make sure you line up the front and back so it is all nice and pretty when you carry it.

Then sew them on in a square around the edges. You can do the “x” in the center of your square if you want, but I knew she wouldn’t be carrying much weight around so I didn’t do it.

Sew straps on

Repeat on the back and then you have a pretty little mini tote! I am so in to mini things right now. I just think they are adorable!!

Cherished Bliss, Whale Tote Tutorial

That little whale just makes the whole bag! Who would have though you could make a stencil from a die cut. Ok fine, a lot of people have done it! I know that, but it’s pretty cute huh?

Ric Rac Whale Tote

Inside toddler tote

And don’t you just love giant ric rac. I know I just said I love mini things, but I love giant things too! Ok, that sounds kinda bad. I love giant ric rac! There I said it! Giant ric rac rocks my world : )

Ric Rac Toddler Tote

So what do you think? Are you going to have a handmade Christmas for your kids? Or even for your friends kids, you could even put it under and angel tree! Make sure and stay tuned for the Christmas in July series at the end of the month!

Christmas in July Banner

Toddler Whale Tote Tutorial

If you have any questions on the tutorial, feel free to leave a comment with your question or send me an email!

As always, you can get 20% of your total purchase at Lifestyle Crafts just use code CHERISHED

Lifestyle Discount

Disclaimer: I received both the epic 6 and die cuts from lifestyle crafts at no cost to myself. All opinions are 100% mine!


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  1. says

    So, so, so cute!! I love the whale and really love how you used ric rac to create the waves. How creative. And what a great tutorial just to even make a bag. Definitely holding onto this. My mom and aunt are teachers so maybe some cute teacher bags? Thanks!!
    Eva Scott recently posted..I {Heart} MondaysMy Profile

    • Ashley says

      Thanks Julie! I kinda love ric rac lately! I used the mini size on my daughter’s birthday crown and now I just want to put it on everything!

  2. says

    Hello Ashley,
    I love your handmade tote bag that you made for your daughter, super cute. I pinned it, and I am planning to make it for my granddaughter. ;o) Thanks for sharing this tutorial.
    Smiles, Paula

    • Ashley says

      Thanks so much Paula! So glad you like! You’re granddaughter will love it! I am having so much fun making my kids toys lately! Next up a chef hat for my little man : ) Apparently he wants to be a chef!

    • Ashley says

      Thanks so much! : ) My daughter is so girly… I love that she plays with it. Repairs the little pieces she broke off my heart when I made her all these pretty little headbands and she just threw them on the floor! hehe! I’d love to see how it turns out if you make one!

  3. says

    When I saw this thumbnail over at Overflowing with Creativity, I had to check it out. This is the cutest toddler tote ever, I agree. Your daughter playing with it is the cutest ever, I agree with that too. Tee hee, glad I came over.
    Lori recently posted..It’s PiNk Saturday!My Profile

  4. says

    Oh my word, this is just darling!!! I absolutely love how you used the ric rac for waves – so creative!

    I hope you will consider hopping on over to SewSet, a new on-line sewing directory, and uploading the image so it can be found when people are browsing the directory for tutorials!

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent!

    – Jessica

  5. Jess from Cox's Corner says

    What a fun idea! I saw your link over at the sugar bee linky party and headed on over! I’m so glad that I did! I’m proud to say I’m your newest follower! I’m brainstorming how i can make one for a little boy!

    • Ashley says

      Thank you so much Jess! Sorry to respond so late, your comment ended up in my spam folder : ( All fixed though! Love your site!

  6. says

    I am so in love with this!! The colors and fabric you chose are so sweet, and the ric-rac waves or perfect! Had to share it on our Facebook Page.
    As for this question: “I might be a little partial because my daughter is so stinkin cute when she plays with it, or maybe it’s just the cutest little tote for toddlers EVER, you tell me : )”….I’m going to have to go with the answer: “BOTH!”
    Laura @ House Of Joyful Noise recently posted..How Much Wood, Could a Woodpeck Peck? : (My Profile

    • Ashley says

      Thank you Laura! You’re too sweet! I love watching her carry it around! Makes it sooo worth all the seam ripping!

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