Tote bags always live up to their name, whether they're taking towels to the beach, fruit from the farmers' market, or gardening supplies to and from the shed. But there's no reason these humble helpers need to look humble. The addition of a bold initial or vivid pattern can make a canvas bag newly stylish -- and unique to its owner.
Start with a plain canvas bag from a crafts store, and approach it just as you would (suitably enough) a blank canvas. Do you want to add a modern design? Pretty labels? Handy pockets? The ideas here are just a beginning.
Many bags can be transformed with one easy technique: ironing on a design. Vary the art or lettering you affix, and you can customize totes for different family members or specific activities. (Try our Book and Knitting templates (available below), scan art from books, or download from the Web.)
Other add-ons involve only simple stitching. Create inside dividers with one quick trick: Sew in a row of pockets from a children's apron. Or fashion outer pockets from fabric. You can spruce up handles, too. Line them with ribbon or replace them with twill tape.
Your tote will hold new appeal -- and not just because of what it's holding.