Each month, we invite our fellow stitchers to create a favorite Alabama Chanin pattern, embellishment, or embroidery technique through our Swatch of the Month Club. As a companion to that monthly series, we are also offering DIY projects that you can create with your completed swatches. Past projects include DIY Swatch Pillows, DIY Book Covers, a DIY Clutch, and a DIY Swatch Wrap. This month, we illustrate how to add an embellished pocket to a finished tote bag using August’s Beaded Kristina’s Rose swatch.

August’s completed Swatch of the Month (or your favorite swatch of choice)
1 – 1 ¼”-wide strip of fabric, measuring 16” long, cut across the grain, for binding
Alabama Chanin #3 Organic Tote Bag

Basic sewing supplies: needles, embroidery scissors, pins, rotary cutter, ruler, cutting mat

Complete your swatch of choice according to the instructions – or create a swatch using your personal design choices. Alabama Studio Sewing + Design can provide instruction on techniques and embroidery options, if you need additional guidance or inspiration.


Use your iron to press your 1 ¼” binding strip in half, lengthwise, with wrong sides together. Position your swatch horizontally and encase the top edge of the swatch with your binding. Pin or baste the binding strip into place. Whipstitch the raw edge of the binding to your fabric swatch to secure. You may also opt to use a decorative or stretchable stitch, based on your personal design preference.

Lay your tote on a level surface and smooth the fabric to make sure it lies flat and unwrinkled. Center your swatch – with the finished edge on top – in the center of the tote’s face. When positioning the swatch, align the top edge with the opening of the tote. Pin your swatch onto the outside of the tote bag.

Whipstitch along the sides and bottom of your swatch to secure it to the face of your bag. We added a divider to the large pocket by sewing a straight stitch up the center of both the swatch and the tote.


Fabric – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Fabric backing layer – Ruby
Fabric appliqué color – Apple
Stencil – Kristina’s Rose
Textile paint – Pearl Brownie
Button Craft thread – Red #128
Treatments – Folded stripe appliqué, beaded chain stitch appliqué, and beaded rosebud stitch
Bead type – Chop
Bead color – Red
Knots – Inside

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5 comments on “DIY SWATCH TOTE

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  1. Channell woods

    I would love to be a part of your swatch club. It would be nice if you had video instructions for each month.

  2. Amanda Drew

    I love the idea of a tote made with a swatch as a pocket. The idea to sew the pocket into two by using a straight stitch up the center is such a good idea. I like to sew in my spare time, and this seems like it would be good as a project. Now I just need to get some swatches.