A practical bag for holding all those retail therapy goodies
- 50cm (5⁄8yd) main fabric
- Assorted oddments of fabric approx 4in wide
- 40cm (1⁄2yd) lining
- 50cm (5⁄8yd) wadding
- Small piece of Velcro
Approx 37cm (14 1⁄2in) square
- From the main fabric, cut the following:
- Four 3 1⁄4 x 15in strips for the main panels
- Two 3 1⁄2 x 15in strips for the main panels
- Two 4 1⁄2 x 19in strips for handles
- From the lining, cut the following:
- Two 15in squares for back and front bag lining
- One 7in square for inner pocket
- From the wadding, cut the following:
- Two 15in squares for back and front of bag
- Two 1 x 19in strips for handles
- Piece together your assorted fabrics to create a long strip measuring 60 x 3 1⁄2 in. Cut this into four pieces measuring 15in. Attach two assorted fabric strips to either side of a 3 1⁄2 x 15in main fabric strip and then join a 3 1⁄4 x 15in strip of the main fabric to either side of this section to create a complete main panel. Repeat to create the second main panel.
- Take the main panels and the 15in squares of wadding. Place the main fabric wrong side down on top of the wadding and pin or tack in place ready for quilting. Pat free-motion quilted a trailing flower and leaf shape using a variatated thread to add colour and texture to her panels. The plain calico provides an ideal background for colour highlights. See Figure 1 for the direction of quiliting these simple shapes.
- Take the 4 1⁄2 x 19in main fabric strips and 1 x 19in wadding strips cut for the handles. Wrong sides together, press the main fabric strips in half lengthwise. Open out and press the long edges to the middle crease enclosing a strip of wadding under one of the folds on each handle, then fold in half again. Topstitch several rows of stitching down the length of each handle to secure. Take the 15in square quilted bag panels. Mark the centre of the top edge of each piece and pin the ends of the handle 3in away from each side of this mark, with the handle facing down the bag panel. Stitch the handle in place. See Figure 2.
Figure 1 Quilting patterns
Figure 2 Stitching the handles in place
Figure 3 Joining the bag panels and lining pieces
- Take the 7in square of lining and turn under 3⁄8in to the wrong side on all four sides; press. Mark the centre of one edge and, on the wrong side, centre one side of the piece of Velcro approx 1⁄2in below this; stitch in place. Take one of the 15in square pieces of lining; mark the centre of the top edge and, on the right side, place the pocket approx 5in below this. Before stitching the pocket in place, mark where the matching piece of Velcro needs to be placed and stitch it to the main lining. Stitch the pocket to the lining, with the wrong side of the pocket facing the right side of the main lining.
- Right sides together, place each main lining piece on top of each quilted bag panel. Stitch along the top edge, trapping the handles in place.
- Open the pieces out. Place the bag pieces right sides together, quilted panels facing each other and lining pieces facing each other. Stitch all round the edges, taking care to match up the top edges of the bag and leaving a 4in gap on one of the sides of the lining. See Figure 3.
- If you don’t want to form a ‘box’ base, pull the bag through to the right side through the gap in the lining. Slipstitch the gap closed and then push the lining down into the bag.
- For the ‘box’ base, once you have stitched round the bag pieces mark 2 1⁄2in from each corner in both directions. See Figure 4. For each corner, pull the material either side of the seam so that the seam is in the centre and an ‘ear’ is formed. Draw a line between the 2 1⁄2in marks and stitch. See Figures 5 and 6. Bend the ‘ears’ over onto the base and secure with a few stitches. Now follow step 7 to complete your bag.
Figure 4 and 5 Making the ‘box’ base
Figure 6 Step-by-step box base
First published in Popular Patchwork Handbag Special 2009