Quick Gifts

Materials

For spectacles case

  • Three strips 1 1/2in x 8in in light fabric.
  • Three strips 1 1/2in x 8in in medium fabric.
  • 8in x 9in of 2oz wadding.
  • 8in x 9in of toning cotton fabric – for lining.
  • 8in length of prepared 5/8in bias binding – in a toning colour

For the travel tissue case

  • Four strips 1 3/4in x 12in of medium fabric.
  • Three strips 1 3/4 in x 12in of light fabric.
  • 13in x 11in of 2oz wadding.
  • 13in x 11in of lightweight cotton or muslin for lining.
  • 20in of prepared 5/8in bias binding in a toning colour.

For the pocket tissues case

  • Three strips 1 1/2in x 7 1/2in of medium fabric.
  • Two strips 1 1/2in x 7 1/2in of light fabric.
  • 6 1/2in x 8 1/2in of 2oz wadding.
  • 6 1/2in x 8 1/2in of lightweight cotton or muslin – for the lining.
  • 12in of prepared 5/8in bias binding in a toning colour.

For the large drawstring bag

  • Four strips 2 1/4 in x 31in of medium fabric.
  • Three strips 2 1/4in x 31in of light fabric.
  • 14in x 31in of toning cotton – for the lining.
  • 14in x 31in of 2oz wadding.
  • 66in length of narrow cord.

For the small drawstring bag

  • Threer strips 2 1/4 in x 21in of medium fabric.
  • Two strips 2 1/4in x 21in of light fabric.
  • 10in x 22in of toning cotton – for the lining.
  • 10in x 22in of 2oz wadding.
  • 48in length of narrow cord.

Finished Size

Spectacles case -6 3/4in x 3in. This can be adjusted for larger spectacles by cutting the strips slightly wider. An extra 1/4in added to the width of each strip would make the case 3/4in wider.

Travel tissue case - 8 3/4in x 5 1/2in, to fit a standard size travel tissue packet. Check the size of packet you buy and adjust the case to fit. An extra 1/8in added to the width of each strip would make the case 7/8in wider.

Pocket size tissue case - 4 3/4in x 3 1/4in, to fit a standard size pocket tissue packet

Large drawstring bag - 11in wide and 12 1/2in high.

Small drawstring bag - 8in wide and 8 1/2in high.

Skill Level

Intermediate

You can download a pdf copy of the original magazine pages for this project here, Quick Gifts

These small gifts are quick and easy to make from small amounts of fabric cut into strips. I have used medium and light tones of one colour, but you could use dark and light, or two or more colours.
 
I used a rotary cutter for cutting the strips, but if you do not have one use a ruler and pencil to mark the cutting line. As long as each strip is in itself an even width, absolute accuracy is not essential, making these projects ideal for the beginner.

General instructions

Use a 1/4in seam allowance throughout. Press the seams open or to one side, whichever seems most appropriate. It is best to use a sewing machine for strength, although the quilting can be done by hand or machine.

Strip Pieced Panel

All the items use a strip pieced panel. Use the number and size of strips shown in the materials box for each item, and make them into a panel as follows:

  1. Alternating the light and medium fabrics, sew the strips together along the long edges to make a pieced panel. Don’t worry if the ends are not even; they will be trimmed later.
  2. Press the panel, taking care not to distort it.
  3. Trim the ends of the panel, making sure you cut at right angles to the strips to keep the panel square (Figure.1).
Figure 1: Trim the ends of the
panel at right angles, to keep
the panel square
Figure 1: Trim the ends of the panel at right angles, to keep the panel square

Spectacles case

  1. Make a strip pieced panel according to the instructions above.
  2. Place the lining wrong side up, with the wadding on top, and the strip pieced panel on top right side up. Tack or pin the layers together.
  3. Quilt by hand or machine “in the ditch” (close to the seams). Also stitch down the two longest sides close to the edge.
  4. Cut away the excess lining and wadding and trim the two shortest edges to make the panel 7in long.
  5. With right sides together, stitch one edge of the binding across one end of the strips. Do not fold the binding over.
  6. With right sides together, fold the case in half with the strips running lengthways. Stitch together down each side (including the open binding) and across the bottom. Zigzag stitch the edges to neaten.
  7. Hand stitch the binding to the wrong side.
  8. Turn the case through to the right side and carefully pull or poke out the corners.

TIP! I find the point of a seam ripper very useful for pulling out corners.

Travel tissue case

  1. Make a strip pieced panel according to the instructions
  2. Place the lining wrong side up, with the wadding and the pieced panel, right side up, on top. Tack or pin the layers together.
  3. Quilt by hand or machine “in the ditch” (close to the seamlines). Also stitch down the long sides, close to the edge.
  4. Cut away the excess lining and wadding and trim the two shortest edges to make the panel 11in long.
  5. Bind both the short edges.
  6. Mark a point halfway along both long sides. With right sides together, fold the panel so that the bound edges meet at this point, overlapping slightly.
  7. Sew the sides together and zigzag stitch the edges to neaten.
  8. To box the corners, fold each corner on the wrong side so that the bound edge is parallel to the right side of the strips below it, making a triangle shape (Figure.2). Stitch across the corner 1/2in away from the point (Figure.2).
  9. Turn the case through to the right side.
Figure 2: To box the corner of the tissue case fold the corner into a triangle
and stitch 1/2in from the point.
Figure 2: To box the corner of the tissue case fold the corner into a triangle and stitch 1/2in from the point.

Pocket Tissue Case

Make as for the travel tissue case, except when trimming the panel make it 6 1/2in long.

TIP! If you have a walking foot, use that for sewing the strips together. You will find that you have a flatter panel without the tendency to curve.

Drawstring bags

These bags can be made in any size, just alter the length, width and number of strips. Try making tiny ones for lavender or small gifts. They look especially good made in Christmas fabrics for tree decorations. You could leave out the wadding to reduce bulk.

Large Drawstring Bag

  1. Make a strip pieced panel according to the instructions, and trim the two shortest edges at right angles to the strips to make the panel 30in long.
  2. Place the wadding on the work surface, with the lining right side up on top, and the pieced panel on top of that wrong side up. Pin or tack the edges.
  3. Sew all round the edge, leaving a gap for turning along one of the long edges.
  4. Trim away the excess wadding and lining and clip the corners. Turn through the opening so that the piecing is on the right side and the lining on the inside, with the wadding in between. Pull or poke out the corners carefully.
  5. Smooth the work out flat, finger press the edges and hand stitch the opening closed.
  6. Pin or tack the layers together.
  7. Using a ruler and marking tool of your choice, draw a line 1 3/4in away from each short edge and another 2 1/2in away from each edge (Figure.3).
  8. Stitch on the marked lines, making a 3/4in wide channel for the cord.
  9. Quilt by hand or machine “in the ditch” (close to the seams), but only between the inner lines of stitching for the channels (Figure.3).
  10. Fold the panel in half widthways right sides together, so that the two channels meet, and starting at the lower line of stitching for the channels, whip stitch the sides together. Repeat for the other side. The neatest results are achieved by catching just the very edge of the lining fabric.
  11. You can leave the bag this shape or you can box the corners. To do this turn the bag inside out, and with the side seam towards you fold the bottom corner of the bag into a triangle shape (Figure.4). Stitch across the corner along the line of quilting nearest the point viewed from the bottom of the bag (Figure.4). Repeat for the other corner.
  12. Turn to the right side. With a seam ripper or small scissors open up the stitching on the edges of the bag between the two lines of stitching for the channels.
  13. Cut two pieces of cord each 33in long. Thread one of them through both channels and knot the ends together. Repeat with the other cord but starting at the other side of the bag. When the loops are pulled together the bag will be drawn up.
Figure 3: Mark and stitch channels for the cord; quilt “in the ditch” between
inner lines of channels.
Figure 3: Mark and stitch channels for the cord; quilt “in the ditch” between inner lines of channels.
Figure 4: To box the corners of the drawstring bag, fold the bottom
corners of the bag into a triangle on the wrong side, and stitch along
quilting line.
Figure 4: To box the corners of the drawstring bag, fold the bottom corners of the bag into a triangle on the wrong side, and stitch along quilting line.

Small Drawstring Bag

  1. Make as for large drawstring bag except: Step 1 – Trim the panel to make it 20in long.
  2. Step 7 – Mark the lines for the channel 1 1/4in and 2in away from the edges.
  3. Step 13 – Cut two pieces of cord 24in long.

First published in Popular Patchwork January/February 1999