Make Piping Out of Thrift Store Finds | Pretty Handy Girl

Piped Tote Bag Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Welcome back to Tote Week! If you’re just joining in here’s the line up:


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.) Read more

Sew Star Pillows
Making Red & Blue Star Pillows

If you read yesterday’s post, you saw two star pillows on my son’s reading nook bench. I promised you the tutorial, so here it is:

These were super easy to make. I made two pillows in just over an hour on my Brother CS6000i sewing machine. This was a great Mother’s Day present from my hubby 2 years ago. (Last year he bought something most men would swoon over – A 10 inch sliding dual bevel compound miter saw. I just love saying that long name!)

This sewing machine is very reasonably priced at $125 and it has loads of decorative stitches!

The first thing I did was print out a star symbol from the computer as large as I could on letter size paper. (Look through your dingbat fonts if you can’t find a star. Mine is Option + H when using zapf dingbats font. But, yours may differ. Or better yet, google star in the images tab.)

Then I traced the star slightly larger than my print out onto white felt. Be sure you are using sharp scissors when you cut the felt or it will tear.

Making Red & Blue Star Pillows

Luckily I had leftover fabric from some pillows I made for Christmas presents and 2 denim cloth napkins handed down to me from my super stepmom!

I simply cut out two squares of red corduroy the same size as the napkins. At this point I should have ironed my fabric, but I was too impatient to finish sewing these starry stunners.

Making Red & Blue Star Pillows

I laid out the stars on the center of the fabric (one on blue and one on red.) Then pinned them in place and stitched the stars onto the fabric.

Making Red & Blue Star Pillows

I used this decorative stitch (I don’t know the name of it…can anyone tell me?), because it made it looked hand-stitched. I used red thread on the blue denim pillow and navy on the red corduroy pillow.

Then I matched up one denim napkin with the red corduroy star front and vice versa for the denim star pillow. After laying out my pillow (gotta love that I kept those hunter green pillows from the 90’s!) on top of the fabric, I pinned the fabric right sides together forming a guide for where my seams would be.


Next I straight stitched the sides together leaving an opening, about half the width, at the bottom to stuff the pillow inside. I checked to make sure the pillow fit before I turned it right side out. Then trimmed my extra salvage edges and made 45 degree cuts at all corners. At this point, I turned the pillow case right side out.

Making Red & Blue Star Pillows

I used the blunt tipped scissors to poke the corners out (broken tipped pencils or other blunt pointy objects work just as well. Wow, that sounds like a murder weapon.) Then stuffed my pillow back inside and pinned the bottom of the pillow together.

Last, I stitched a straight stitch as close to the bottom of the pillow as I could to seal the open edge.

And that is my super-duper, easy and quick guide to creating star pillows.

Making Red & Blue Star Pillows

But, who says you have to make star pillows. Get inspired to make your own pillows! Here are some other ideas:

Poinsettia pillows made with corduroy and felt on Centsational Girl’s blog.  I loved the combination of the textures and the graphic images.

Or adorable pet silhouette pillows. I made a dog portrait pillow for my pretty handy sister and my super talented mom (who both coincidentally own black dogs.)

Next up will be a tutorial on rewiring and adding a switch to the copper wall sconce lamp that hangs in the closet turned reading nook project, that I bought from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore!

Inspired by:
Check out some other Independence Day inspired projects on their site.




Project completed just in time to participate at Centsational Girl’s
Check out other Independence Day themed projects on her site as well!


Happy Fourth of July!