Sewing for Charity – MJ’s Tote bags for Cancer

Sewing for Charity - sew hand-made tote bags for breast cancer patients. If you follow along on the So Sew Easy Facebook Page, then you may have already seen a few mentions about this opportunity to put your sewing time to good use.  Linda G shared a blog post with me from MJ, from MJ's Lost Cause, and several readers have already been sewing and sending their tote bags.

So what's it all about?  MJ explains on her site about how she was diagnosed with breast cancer 9 years ago.  At the time of her diagnosis, she was given a bag which contained her literature and information, but also a journal, and some small comforts.  That handmade tote bag meant a lot to her at the time, and she encourages us to help her pass on the same.

 I want you to help me make and distribute at least 100 hand-made tote bags. I want those who will receive them to know that they are not alone and that there is a network of survivors and supporters and cheerleaders encouraging them in this fight before they ever leave the doctor’s office.


I've been in touch with MJ about this project.  She is delighted at the response and looks forward to hopefully receiving beautiful hand-made tote bags from all over the world.

“I would love to have your support and promotion of this project. I am excited that this project has been shared and received so well. You asked about the interest level in this venture so far . . . In the 10 days since I posted the project on my blog, I have received over 12.5 thousand views. This sounds small in comparison to some blogs, but I have only been blogging for 10 weeks and I am floored by the response.

On the Tatted Totes 4 Tatted Tits post, I wrote that my goal was to gather “at least 100” totes to be donated. It is difficult to tell how the views will translate into totes by Mother's Day, May 11, 2014, but I have hopes that I'll make the 100 goal and hopefully surpass it. 

Today I received my first package, containing 3 totes and 3 journals. I was just made aware that 3 more are on their way from another friend. I will be thrilled when I make the 100 tote goal. If I find myself buried in a room full of totes I have determined to find a home for every single one of them. I have even considered hopping in my mini-van, loading up my family, and delivering totes to hospitals far and wide if the response allows. 

My focus started and will continue with the goal of hand-made totes but there have been a few who have offered sweet gifts to put inside (i.e., journals, all natural beauty products, candles, cards, etc.) I will gladly accept fillers for the totes as well, I know there are those who would like to participate but are not inclined to sewing. Once I have received the totes and various fillers I will combine them as well as possible. If those who make the totes would like to include a business card for each of their masterpieces, I will put that business card in the tote it came with. The same thing goes for the donations of fillers. If there is a small business that would like to send me stationary or other gifts to include in a few totes, I will happily include their business card along with the gift.

Deby, I am a breast cancer survivor. I am a stay at home mother of 4 children aged 5-13. I had a simple idea driven by my desire to repay a kindness that I received. I would love for everyone who feels the desire to join me – to join me. There can't be too many. I am not in this for any gain of my own. Just good, old-fashioned, sharing of love. I look forward to seeing the creativity, appreciating the diversity, feeling the happy vibes that come from uniting with others who want to add their support through this project.  

It is important that donations are mailed by May 11, 2014. Please encourage your readers to help me gather all donations by that point.   Everyone can come back to May 12th, 2014 to see what we have accomplished together.

I can be e-mailed at The original blog post can be found at

Follow along to see all the lovely bags as they arrive on the special Facebook Page I set up especially at

Yours,  MJ ” 


Vanessa has already been sewing and has shared her first couple of bags on the Facebook page.  Bek from Australia is confident that even with that distance, she can meet the deadline and send some bags. Terry already has 5 made and commits to making 5 more! Andrea and Nancy are also getting involved and sending their totes to MJ soon.

If you would like to get involved, here's a free pattern and tutorial that will show you how to make a fabric tote bag. It also works as a simple zipper purse too.

I know we all have some fabrics hanging around in our stash that we aren't sure what to do with, or the piece is too small for a larger project.  Make MJ's day and run up a quick tote bag to send.  When you do send your lovely bags, do let MJ know that you found out about her cause on the So Sew Easy site.

I'll be sending some goodies to go in the bags.  I make some nice natural lip balms and I'll send MJ a big bag.  If you have any small things you can add, pop those in your parcel, then the bags can be bursting with small comforts too.  And don't forget to share your bags on the Facebook page as an inspiration to others.


Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Sewing for Charity – MJ’s Tote bags for Cancer

  1. Gwen says:

    Thank you for this. My grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer and found out it is much more aggressive than they thought before. She is going to have chemotherapy, this will be great for the hospital stays.

  2. Peanut says:

    The link you posted for the charity tote bag tute and pattern does NOT take me to a tote bag on Craftsy. It links to a couture dress pattern.

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Peanut, Craftsy seems to have removed that tutorial. I have updated with another. Thanks for letting me know!

  3. Eleanor Bond says:

    I sew tote bags too.this is 2017 Can I still sew bags for this cause.

  4. ROBIN says:

    Thank you, Deby, for posting about this project. I am going to make some totes and send along as soon as possible (maybe by tomorrow).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *