Library Book Bag with Reverse Applique

Yuki started preschool this fall and we were introduced to a book lending program through her school called BookTree.  It’s a great program that sends home 10 books a month that are selected specifically for your child’s interests and reading level.  You return them after a month and get new books to take home.  We tried it out for free for a month and Yuki LOVED the books, but the truth is, it costs money and we just can’t afford to pay for borrowed books when the library offers them for free.

But trying out the program totally motivated us to be better about getting new books from the library more regularly.  One of the fun things about getting the books from BookTree was that the books would come in a nice black tote bag and we kept the bag right by our reading spot.  All the borrowed books would stay in the bag so we didn’t get them mixed up with our books.  Yuki loved going into the bag and picking out the books for the night and then putting them back for the next day.  So when we decided not to continue BookTree and go to the library instead, I felt like a special book bag was in order.

To make the book bag, I used Dana’s Reversible, Lined, Color-blocked ToteTutorial.  It’s an awesome tutorial and I love the way the bag came out so much!

I added a little pocket on the inside to hold my library card.  I also like to tuck the little receipt in there in case I want to check the due date.

I lined the bag with this ADORABLE fabric from Joann’s – it’s Alexander Henry Market Stalls Pastel.  It really drove my color choices for the accent fabrics on the outside.

So I followed Dana’s tutorial exactly, making a lined version (not reversible) but added the little pocket inside and a reverse appliqued/color blocked panel around the whole bag.  It was a pretty simple process (though a bit time consuming) that I think adds a lot of character to the bag.  Since you can use this technique on pretty much anything (backpack, clothes, place mat) and you can change the word to anything or any name, I thought I’d show you how I did it so you can go and personalize your next project.

You’re going to need:
– some scraps of fabric
– double sided fusible web (the kind with the paper on one side)
– computer and printer (optional)

I started by printing out letter stencils onto regular paper in the exact font and size that I wanted.  You can also free hand draw your letters.

After you print your letters, cut them out.  Place each letter on your fabric and cut a rectangle about 1 inch larger than your letter on all 4 sides.

After you’ve cut out all your rectangles, sew them together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Trim the seams and press them open.

If the strip is not as long as your project is wide, add rectangles to the end.

Cut your fusible web into a long rectangle slightly smaller than your pieced fabric and iron it to the wrong side.  Trace your letters and be sure to flip them so they are backwards.

Carefully cut your letters out and make sure to save all those little holes!

Peel off the paper backing and place it on your project where you want it to be.  Then flip it up so that right sides are together and your letters are upside down, making sure to adjust for seam allowance.  You’re going to want the bottom edges to line up after you’ve sewed it together and flipped it back down.

Sew the pieced strip to your backing, flip it down and press well to fuse.  Top stitch the top edge of your pieced strip very close to the edge.

(I stopped taking pictures at this point for some reason)

If you have any of those little holes to go inside letters, place them carefully and iron those down as well.  Then I did a tiny zig zag stitch around each letter.

For the back of the bag, I did the exact same thing without the fusible web (and the letters, of course).  Then assemble the rest of the bag per the directions!

And that’s it!  Now head to the library and fill it up with books!

We actually did head to the library with our new tote bag, but between trying to pick out new books and chasing my lil one around, I only got one picture.

But now the bag is living comfortably in Yuki’s room next to our reading spot housing 10 new exciting books for us to discover.  And I’m so excited to go back to the library every 3 weeks to find new literary treasures for my little one.

What else can you imagine using this technique for?

Happy sewing and happy reading! 😛


17 thoughts on “Library Book Bag with Reverse Applique

  1. Oh this is such a wonderful.idea! As a child I loved going to the library with my siblings. We would pool our borrowing allowance and plot together what books we wanted to borrow. It’s a pity that libraries in some areas in the country are closing down due to lack of funding. I hope that the libraries around me are here to stay!

  2. What a fun bag! I love the little pocket for your library card (such a smart idea) and the “books” reverse applique. Suddenly my library bag is looking very sad. And can Yuki get any cuter?!?!

  3. Really cute! We go to the library a lot, and I keep thinking I should make a tote, but never get around to it. I like the idea of leaving the books in the bag since I’m always digging through our stuff to find library books. Your lining fabric is adorable. I used some Alexander Henry from Joann’s for birthday crowns, and the colors were just perfect. The feel of it was amazing too!

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