Teacher Tote Gift
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Teacher Tote – a Great Back-to-School Gift

Teacher Tote

teacher tote

Create a Teacher Tote for a back-to-school gift, using a tote bag blank. Or create a quick tote bag using two fabric squares and self-made handles. This tote isn’t lined, so it couldn’t be easier to embroider and construct! Alternatively, create this “Teacher” Tote for a student and replace the embroidery design with one of your choosing that’s more appropriate for the recipient.



Hoop a piece of Sticky+ Stabilizer with the paper facing up.

Sticky+ in the hoop for Tote blank

Use the Sticky+ Slitting Pen to score the paper without slicing through the stabilizer underneath.

Sticky+ Slitting Pen slitting stabilizer paper

Tear away the paper to reveal the adhesive.


Load the chosen design into the machine. If needed, resize the design on screen to make it even larger to fit the entire tote front, if possible.

size the teacher tote design

After loading the chosen design, tell the machine to perform a “baste-in-the-hoop” function to baste the design perimeter.

baste in the hoop function for teacher tote

If you don’t have this function it’s ok! Use the placement technique you prefer.

Place the hoop onto the machine and stitch the basting stitches right onto the stabilizer (yes it is a bit sticky!).

sticky stabilizer in the hoop

Now, turn the tote bag blank wrong side out. Fold it in half lengthwise and position half of the front on the sticky stabilizer with the wrong sides still facing out. Line up the fold with the upper and lower hoop markings.

unfold teacher tote for embroidery

Then, line up the tote side to side with the hoop side markings in the same manner. Place the hoop onto the machine.

tote ready for embroidery

Carefully maneuver the tote back fabric away from the machine arm and needle. Basically, you’ll embroider in a “tunnel.”

tote bag blank embroidery

Begin the design, stopping the machine when/if needed to reposition the tote fabric out of the way of the stitching path.

design partially stitched on tote

For a design as large as this, you may have to start/stop multiple times. Make sure to clip jump threads with each thread change.

teacher tote embroidery in progress


When the embroidery is complete, remove the hoop from the machine. Clip the jump threads on the wrong side before removing the project fro the hoop.

Then, remove the stabilizer by gently tearing it away beyond the stitching. Long tweezers are a nice tool to have for this job!

wrong side of teacher tote embroidery

Press the tote from the wrong side, keeping the heat of the iron away from the thread if possible.

Turn the tote right side out and fill it with fun goodies for the first day of school!

Teacher Tote with Apples

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I am the Director of Content for Sulky of America. The former Editor in Chief of Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery magazines, I hosted Sew it All TV on PBS for nine seasons. I've appeared on It's Sew Easy on PBS, DIY Network's Uncommon Threads, Hallmark's Marie Osmond Show, MacPhee Workshop and more! Come sew with me!

One Comment

  • Suellen

    Love the idea of the teacher mug rug.i think I can use in different ways. I am going to have fun with it.