Hand Dying with Indigo- Pretty Bird Burlap Tote

Bird and Burlap BagI don’t know about you, but I cant seem to get enough of birds. And burlap. When I created these wool felt bird clips and wedding table markers, I immediately fell in love with them and decided that I had to see them on some burlap totes. Enter Jacquard Products Indigo Tie Dye kit, which I played with this past Saturday.

JAC9410_Indigo_rightSuddenly, I knew that I had to combine the three elements- wool felt birds, burlap and indigo. This is a project that makes me more eager for Spring than ever.

Hand dying resultsWith plenty of dyed indigo scraps left over from my bird pillow project. I carefully tore some 2 1/2″ thick strips from one of the fabrics to create “ribbons.”

Dyed indigo stripsI used a sewing machine and contrasting thread (because I like this look) to straight stitch down the center and create knife pleats. This will be the handles and cuff for the bag.

Knife pleatsNow, lets move on to the burlap bag itself. I decided on the size of my tote, which is about 5″ x 6″ and added 1/2″ for a seam allowance. Then I fused Lite Steam a Seam to a 4″ x 5″ rectangle of dyed indigo fabric and cut a 3 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle from that. Fuse the rectangle to the center of one of the burlap rectangles.

Indigo sewn to burlapMachine stitch the fused square in place on the burlap by peeling off the paper backing and using a straight stitch about 1/4″ from the edges of the indigo fabric.

Bird die cutThe bird itself was cut from my all time favorite Sizzix Die and BigShot machine. I cut it from white wool felt.

Sew bird to front of bagPinning the bird in place on the indigo rectangle, sew in place with a straight stitch, leaving the bottom open for stuffing.

Stuff bird openingStuff the bird with polyfil fiber (lightly) and sew opening closed with the machine.

Now, embellish the bird with a stuffed wing, a pretty flower center, and a scrap of burlap. Don’t forget to add a pebble bead eye.

Embellish bird

Now its time to sew the front and back pieces of the bag together. Do this by turning the rights sides in and sew 1/2″ from the edges. Steam the seams open with an iron on steam setting.

Steam seams open
Turn the bag right sides out.

Turn right sides out
Use Aleenes Fabric Fusion to glue the knife pleated cuff to the top of the bag, covering the raw burlap edge. Cut pieces of knife pleated “ribbon” to lengths measuring approximately 6″ and glue to the inside of the bag. Use a needle and thread, plus pretty flower centers to sew in place.

Sew on handlesFor a unique handle, cut a 1/2″ dowel rod to 8.” Use Neopaque by Jacquard Products in brown to paint the dowel.

Paint dowelInsert the rod into the handles and sew in place to secure.

Bird and Burlap BagThe combination of burlap, white wool felt and hand dyed indigo makes a striking statement. My mind is already at work thinking of fun ways to use the rest of my hand dyed indigo fabric!

Close upLive Life Creatively,



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