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Modern Cross-Stitch: Embellished Tote

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2004


Counted cross-stitch may be one of the easiest of all embroidery techniques, but worked in rows, these hand-stitched Xs can add surprisingly sophisticated patterns and rich texture to almost any fabric. While the craft dates back centuries, the stylish designs here prove that it can be fresh and fun.

Learn how to Cross-Stitch.

A bag with a decorative silhouette is more than a useful carrier; it's a conversation piece. Any profile -- your child's, your own, or a friend's -- can be enlarged and used for the template.


  • Burlap tote

  • Twill-tape or twig handles

  • Disappearing-ink pen

  • Embroidery hoop

  • Tapestry needle

  • Thread


  1. Start with a store-bought burlap tote, or make one and add twill-tape or twig handles.

  2. Draw the head and necklace with a disappearing-ink pen and fill in with cross-stitches.

  3. You can make the bird and branch in two different colors, or in black only for a look more evocative of the Victorian era. (Download and print out our template, or draw your own.)

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