Library Bag with Name Applique {Tutorial}

Starting big school and learning to read meant that there would soon be visits to the school library. I had a few weeks up my sleeve before the visits to the library would begin, but I left it until the last day before making this library bag for Amelia.

Library Bag with Name Applique

The print on the fabric is pink, purple and yellow butterflies on a lime green background. Perfectly happy fabric for a little girl.

I like to applique the kids names on the front so that they stand out from all of the other bags at school. They’re easily identifiable and less likely to go missing.
I thought I’d share the applique steps here with you today. For a beginner, applique can seem a little tricky, but I hope that breaking it down, step by step, with images, helps learn the technique a little easier.

To start with, I go into a Word document and play with fonts and font settings until I’m pleased with the size of the name.

For this project, I’ve made the font size 220. I then click on the Text Effects to outline the word and make it lovely and large.

Applique Word Document

I then print it on an A4 sheet of paper, and trace over the outline in dark marker.

Library Bag Applique

Library Bag Applique 2

I outline the word because it makes it much easier to copy onto my Vliesofix (double sided bonding paper) when I flip it over.

Trace the word onto the Vliesofix and then cut out the letters. I cut mine individually to fit onto the piece of fabric I was going to use.

Library Bag with Name Applique 3

Now lay out the word (or letters) onto the back of the fabric to be appliqued. Make sure the shiny (glue) side is down. Fuse the paper with a hot, dry iron.

Library Bag with Name Applique 4

Cut around each letter and arrange it onto the background fabric as desired. When I was in the process of making this bag, I asked everyone over on the Samelia’s Mum Facebook Page whether to applique straight onto the green background fabric, or onto a strip of yellow which would then be stitched onto the green.


The majority of respondents decided that the bottom method was their preferred.

I agreed.

Next step is to remove the backing paper and arrange the final applique layout. I find it best to do this step on the ironing board.

Press the letters and now it’s time to machine applique. Yay!

Drop the feed dogs, insert the darning or applique foot to your machine and take a deep breath. Like free motion quilting, this method of applique means that the fabric is moved manually (in any direction) while the needle just goes up and down.
Stitch as close to the edge of each letter, without going over onto the background fabric. I stitched over each edge, 2 or 3 times with black thread. I like the dark outline.

Machine Applique

And once this step is finished, snip all of the long threads at the back and then stitch this yellow appliqued strip onto the bag fabric.

To make the bag, I used a large book to measure how much fabric width I’d need. I cut the width (I think it was approximately 16”) by the width of the fabric.

Library Bag Measure

I then cut the excess fabric at the top and used this to make a long, over the shoulder bag handle (strap).

Library Bag Strap

Turn over and sew the top seam. Sew the sides of the bag together. Add the shoulder strap. Press. And then wait for the squeals of delight from your little person when they see their new library bag.

Library Bag with Applique name

As always, if you use this tutorial to make your own bag (or one for your child), I'd love to hear about it.

Online Quilting Class


  1. SO cute! Posts like this really make me wish I could sew, I would love to give my new school girl a hand-made-with-love library bag.

  2. Thanks, I'm going to have a go today, just have to go through my bag of material to see what I've got :)


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