This simple bag was made by Starr Thomas
for a little girl to keep her treasures in. Easily adaptable
to any size so Mums can have one too
- One fat quarter of bright plaid for chenille detail
- Three fat quarters for chenille layers (won’t really be seen so can be fabric you don’t like)
- 50cm of plain dark blue for top fabric and binding
- 30cm of chambray or similar for lining
- Scraps of wadding (only needed in gusset)
- 10cm zip for inner pocket
24.5 x 27cm (9 1⁄2 x 10 1⁄2in) without handles
Sewing the Chenille
Figure 1: Heart tacked in place
Figure 2: Layer the fabrics
- Cut two rectangles 9 1⁄2 x 10 1⁄2in from each chenille layer fabric, the chambray and the dark blue top fabric.
- Following the template (enlarge as needed) cut out a heart from the bright plaid and place in position in the centre of the plain rectangle. Tack roughly in place as shown on Figure 1. The reverse of the bag has a large initial. You could leave it plain, or take a motif from one of the fabrics, tack in place as before.
- Place the chambray RS down and place three layers of fabric RS up on top and finally put the dark blue layer with the heart on the very top. Make two piles of five layers altogether. See Figure 2.
- Pin the layers together in a few places. Machine sew diagonal lines across all the layers. Don’t worry if they wobble a bit as it is not crucial for them to be exactly straight. Sew the lines about the width apart of your machine foot. See Figure 3.
- Using a slash cutter or sharp pair of scissors cut between the lines of stitching through the top four layers – leave the chambray layer intact as this holds the fabric together. This can be quite hard work if using scissors so don’t expect to tackle it in one go. Give your hands a break and make the pocket or gusset and go back to the slashing after a while.
- Wash on a hot wash and tumble dry to get the full chenille effect. If you are impatient you can complete the whole bag and then wash!
Figure 3: Machine stitch diagonal lines
Gusset and Pocket
- Cut one piece 3 1⁄2 x 32in each from dark blue fabric, chambray and wadding for the gusset. A thin cotton wadding was used here. The strips can be pieced if needed.
- Pin the three layers together and quilt in straight lines up and down the gusset. You could use a decorative stitch or wavy lines.
- Cut one strip 4 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2in and one 4 1⁄2 x 12in from chambray. Using a zipper foot insert the zip between the two sections. (If you don’t want to use a zip then hem two of the short sides.)
- With the zip as the right side fold the longer piece up until it is level with the top edge (the zip will be inside) and sew down both sides. (If you are not using a zip butt the two hemmed edges together, fold and sew as above.) This creates a pocket with a hemmed or zip opening part way down. Turn to the RS through the opening at the top.
Handles and Final Assembly
Figure 4: Bag Assembly
- Cut two pieces each from plain fabric and bright plaid 2 1⁄2 x 15in for the handles. Sew together along the long edges with RS together. Turn to the RS and press the seams. Top stitch the edges by sewing just away from the edge to keep the handle flat.
- With WS together, pin and stitch the gusset in place to the front and back of the bag. You can gently curve the bottom curve. Curving the seam will make the sewing it a bit easier. The seam is on the outside of the bag.
- Cut two strips of plain fabric 1 1⁄4in wide by the length of the gusset and sew in position as for a normal binding on the bag front and back. Turn under a small hem and hand stitch in place on the gusset.
- Pin the pocket in place on the top edge of the back of the bag. Pin the two handles in place evenly spaced from the sides of the bag, as shown in Figure 4.
- Cut and sew binding strips as before. Overlap the ends neatly to create a neat join. The handles and pocket are caught in the seam. Fold the handles up and top stitch the top edge of the binding.
First published in Popular Patchwork February 2006