Recently I bought this vintage needlepoint on a simple canvas tote bag. Looking at it, I realized this is one of a number of easy ways to add needlepoint to totes and straw bags yourself. Most self-finishing items use double-sided adhesive to attach the needlepoint. Others, such as the Turtle bags, allow you to slip the needlepoint into a pocket. This method sews the needlepoint onto the front of the bag.
You can use inexpensive undyed canvas bags, such as these ones from Dharma Trading Company. Dharma has tons of different undyed items that would be great ways to show off your needlepoint. If you don’t want an undyed bag, you could dye or color it first before you add your needlepoint.
I often find lovely bug straw bags in bright colors at my local thrift shop. If this is what you want, stop by often in order to find bags that will work. Look for totes on good condition. Once you find a bag, look for needlepoint in your stitched projects to add to your bag.
The first step in doing this is to cut the needlepoint out with a margin of 5-7 threads all around. Turn the unstitched margin to the back and put it under a weight to flatten. I like to stock it between the mattress and box spring overnight. Once flattened you are ready to attach it to your bag.
If you have a sewing machine, you can sew it along the edges using a zigzag stitch. If you want the stitching not to show, find some grosgrain ribbon and sew it using matching thread. Cover all edges with the ribbon. If you don’t want to sew, sew the needlepoint along the edges using hemstitch to make the stitching invisible.
You can also use hemstitch to sew needlepoint onto the front of a basket purse or even a pillow.