Restyled – Book Nerd Bucket Tote

Cuteness factor overload! I am so excited about how this bucket tote turned out! Turns out our medium sized bucket tote pairs perfectly with a block from the Book Nerd quilt pattern.

We got the Book Nerd quilt pattern in the shop a few weeks ago at the recommendation of a customer (you guys know the best stuff!!) I was so excited to try it, but I knew a whole quilt was not going to fit in my schedule right now. So I decided to try it on a bucket tote – it would be the perfect spot to corral the ton of library books we seem to end up with in the summer. (Full disclosure: I am the problem, not my kids)

The project went together like a dream for once, and I didn’t have to adjust the size or scale of the quilt block or the bucket tote to make them work. It was meant to be! Because I think you all need to make this, I took good notes of the things I did change up just for you. Here’s the details:

Pattern: Bucket Tote (stop in the shop to pick this up free, or leave us a note with your online order and we’ll be sure to hook you up!)

Size: Medium

Quilt Block: Book Nerd Quilt


3/4 yard Essex in Flax – Main body of Bucket Tote and background of quilt block

Fat Quarter or 1/2 yard Teddy and the Bears in Grey

3/4 yard Tanuki in Peach – Lining of Bucket Tote

1/4 yard black fabric (similar)

1/4 yard off white fabric (similar)

Bucket Tote interfacing kit

Leather or webbing for handles

I made the block from the Book Nerd pattern first. This is a paper piecing pattern – but a super simple one! I used some pieces from my stash for the black and cream parts, and I had recently bought the Teddy and the Bears fabric just because it is so adorable. I thought this was the perfect project to actually use it. So cute and fun! But I could totally see this in a more grown-up fabric (like this one!) to have beside my bed. (See! I have a book/magazine PROBLEM!) Once I finished the block and trimmed it up I did a little math to figure out how much fabric to add to get the piece to the size I needed for the medium bucket tote. Check out the diagram below.

These are approximate sizes because your block may end up slightly larger or smaller. Because quilting tends to distort your pieces a bit, there is also extra room here so you can trim the pieces after you’ve quilted. If in doubt, cut bigger!

Once you’ve pieced the front, cut a second piece the same size to use for the back of the bucket tote. My back is just a solid piece of my background fabric, Essex in Flax, but you could also add another quilt block here! Cut batting to match the front and the back pieces and baste together (I love spray basting for small projects like this as well as the big ones). I was able to quilt my pieces with just batting on the back, but some machines have issues with that. If yours does, add some muslin or scrap fabric to the back side of the bucket tote pieces and quilt away! More quilting will add more structure – plus small projects like these are a great chance to practice machine quilting!

Once you are finished quilting, trim front and back pieces to 22″ wide x 17″ tall. Cut Decor Bond to the same size and adhere to the back of each quilted piece. I found that I really liked the feel and stability of putting fusible Decor Bond on the back of the quilted batting. It helps retain some softness, but is super sturdy. (Typically on our bucket tote we adhere Decor Bond then Fusible batting.)

After this just follow the normal bucket tote instructions! I’m really excited to explore more pieced bucket totes. The great thing about quilting the pieces before assembling the bucket tote is that it adds enough structure that you could use quilting cotton and still have a super sturdy tote. I hope you have some fun exploring the options with our bucket tote pattern!

Happy Sewing !


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