Merida inspired tote bag

My colleague and friend, K, had a birthday this weekend so made a Merida from Brave inspired tote bag for her.  While her niece loves Rapunzel, Merida is K’s favorite Pixar princess.


  • golden yellow satin
  • teal faux suede
  • red faux fur
  • arrow print cotton
  • gold trim

Wanted the tote to look like Merida’s dress so instead of a rectangular base, went with more rounded sides, hoping it would feel similar to a bodice of a dress.

Half of the base was a 4” by 4” square with 4” diameter half circle.

Cut out the base on the fold so it was 12” in length.

For the sides, cut a 30” by 15” rectangle.   Folded in half and cut out a triangle 2” wide, 3” long.

Unfolded and slid a piece of yellow gold satin underneath.  Lined with 1/4 “ eyelets to get a feel for the placement.

Ironed on moderately heavy interfacing on the back.

Folded the cut out V and stitched a hem.

Instead of 4, went with 5 eyelets ( it looks like Merida’s dress may have 5?).  Spaced them about 3/4” apart.

Top stitched a piece of lining fabric behind the outer fabric.

Glued the sides and bottom down.

Pinned the base to the center of the rectangle fabric (straight under the V) so that the seam would meet in the middle of the back like a dress.

Sewed the right sides together so the edges almost met then sewed the back seam.

Hate that there was bunching at the base.   With the layers of seam allowances and interfacing couldn’t get this clean.    But unraveling and resewing risked making it worse so left it as is.   Sorry Miss K.

These d rings have a 1.5” width which worked well for the size of this bag.   Wish the strap clips also were 1.5” to allow for wider straps but could only find 1”.

Cut 2 pieces of fabric, 3” by 5”, sewed them right sides together, and slid the d rings through them.    Basted to the sides of the tote.

Zo wanted to help with the sewing.

But her paws were rather useless so she spent some time wistfully contemplating how she would have made this better had she longer arms and opposable thumbs.


For the lining, cut out the same base and 2 15” by 15” squares.

Added a simple pocket to one of the rectangles.

Pinned the base to the square right sides together and sewed.

For the second side of the lining, left several inches (about the width of a palm) open for turning.

Attached the lining to the outer fabric with the 2 right sides facing each other and the strap tabs between.

Flipped right side out and basted the gold trim.    Folded into the V area so the ends don’t show (and fray).

Hate top stitching.   It never turns out clean and even.    And this satin-y fabric snagged on the sewing machine foot so couldn’t really clean up.   (And this is why I don’t sell things I sew)

Added rivets to the tabs.   Unfortunately despite all intentions one tab is bigger than the other (as always).   Wish there was a way to ensure the same size when attaching the tabs to the lining and the outer piece.

Added the lacing with teal ribbon.    The dogs’ dad only contribution to this project was the comment,  ‘shouldn’t that be gold instead of teal.’

[was going for a more subtle look.     Also pretty sure Merida’s dress used something more similar to twine or jute instead of ribbon but whatevs]

Made a simple adjustable strap by sewing a 2” by 50” piece of teal wrong sides together lengthwise and turning it right side out.    It is long enough to be a crossbody.

Also made a 17” by 11” red fur zip bag lined with the arrow fabric.

Zo and everything else got covered in pieces of red.

Added a tassel charm to the zip.   Other than a pineapple this was the only gold tone charm I had.    Didn’t think a pineapple was referenced in Brave so went with this.

Finished bag.

Of course Zo and Co investigated.

In conclusion, would prob find a light interfacing for the strap or maybe double it?   But this adjustable slide is too narrow for 4 layers of fabric so that would need a different slide.

Also, should have added a pocket to the zip bag instead of the tote.

But it turned out pretty cute.   K seems pleased.


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