• Large quantity of scraps for the crazy patchwork in colour range of your choice
  • 50cm of calico for the foundation
  • 70cm of needlepunch wadding
  • 1m of plain blue cotton for the base, lining, handles and binding
  • Cardboard for the base

Finished Size

Base 15 x 7in (38 x 17cm) Height 16in (40cm)

Skill Level


Chris wanted to use up all the small pieces of fabric she had in her scrap basket and decided that a crazy style block was ideal. Offcuts from dressmaking or left over pieces from other quilting projects are all ideal. Many charity shops also sell packsof fabrics.

Sew and Flip Method

Each block is divided into four rows of crazy patches. Each row is made separately and then joined to make the block. Every row is unique both in the fabrics used and the angles of the patches. Divide your fabric scraps into two piles, one of light and one of dark. These will be used to form the two-tone blocks. If your fabrics don’t split neatly into two piles you could choose to have each block a different colour – it depends on your stash.

Figure 1: Cutting the foundation
Figure 1: Cutting the foundation


  • Ten foundations 9 1⁄2in square from calico – for the main bag
  • Five foundations 5 x 9in from calico – for the top edging
Crazy piecing
  1. Take one foundation square and mark on the lines for the crazy patches with a pencil and ruler. Cut into four pieces using a rotary cutter as shown in Figure 1.
  2. Starting at one end pin a piece of fabric in place RS up to cover the area needed. Take the second fabric and place RS down on top, pin on the sewing line and flip over to ensure it covers all the patch. Sew in position using a straight stitch on the machine or small running stitch if working by hand. See Figure 2.
    Figure 2: Sewing the patches
    Figure 2: Sewing the patches
  3. Press the patch open and trim away any excess seam allowance from under the patch. Repeat for the other patches on the row.
  4. Make the other three rows in the same way and then join into one block. Make sure they are in the right order or the block will not be square.
  5. Make all the square blocks the same way.
  6. Repeat with the smaller edging foundation pieces but just cutting into two strips as shown in Figure 3. Make into blocks as before using mainly dark fabrics.
  7. Trim the blocks to 8 1⁄2in square. Sew into vertical rows with a narrow edging block at the top of each.
  8. Join into one piece measuring 40 x 20in.

Quilting and finishing

  1. Cut four pieces of fabric and one piece of wadding 16 x 8in. Layer two of the pieces of fabric with the wadding in the middle and machine quilt to hold the layers together. Chris has used a fixed quilting pattern of a wavy line but straight lines or a grid could be used. This quilting adds strength to the base of the bag.
  2. Photocopy the base template and cut one out of card. Draw round this card template onto the quilted base all round and cut out.
  3. Cover the card template with the remaining two pieces of fabric. You can either stretch and lace over the top or use a glue stick to stick the first piece in place and then oversew the second fabric in position. Note: Having a firm base adds strength to the bag.
  4. Cut a piece of wadding and a piece of fabric 41 x 21in for the lining. Layer up with the pieced top. Using a decorative machine stitch sew over all the seams of the pieced top. Alternatively use a selection of fancy hand stitches such as herringbone or fly stitch. Chris used a light blue thread for the light areas of the block and a dark blue thread on the dark areas.
    Figure 3: Cutting and sewing the edging blocks
    Figure 3: Cutting and sewing the edging blocks
  1. Trim away excess wadding. Join into a ring along the shorter side. Use the extra lining fabric to fold over the seam neatly and hand stitch in place.
  2. Pin and tack to the quilted base with the inside of the bag against the base, easing the bag sides if needed. Trim excess base fabric to leave a 1⁄4in seam and bind using a blue binding.
  3. Check the height of the bag; this can be adjusted by turning down the top narrow blue border by a smaller or larger amount. Chris left 1⁄2in showing at the top to create a fake binding. When you are happy with the height, check the top is level and top stitch 1⁄4in away from the folded edge.
  4. Make two handles by cutting strips 1 3⁄4in wide the required length. Fold a hem along one long side and use to enclose a piece of wadding. Top stitch along the fold of the hem and again 1⁄4in away. Pin in position and try the bag for size. Adjust the handles until the bag is comfortable on your shoulder. Sew in position by machine. Use a top stitch for extra strength.

Shopping bag

TIP! To stiffen the base, add the covered cardboard once the project is complete.

Chris made this bag as part of her City and Guilds studies at North Herts College with Barbara Weeks.

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 11 Number 9 - September 2003