Super Shopper

Materials

  • 50cm of plain dark green for bag sides, top, handles and facing
  • 56 x 25cm (fat eighth) of plain light green for blocks
  • Scraps of 15 different black and grey prints for blocks
  • Fat quarter of light cream print for blocks
  • Fat quarter of dark cream print for blocks
  • 50cm of natural calico for lining
  • 50cm of 2oz cotton wadding
  • 50cm of 10mm cotton cord for handles
  • 30 14mm pearl buttons
  • Foundation paper

Finished Size

36 x 31cm (14 x 12 1⁄2in) excluding handles

Skill Level

Intermediate

The lining and wadding is sewn to the pieces of the bag, which are then turned to the right side, before the sides are joined together this is aptly called the bag method. The handle is reinforced with cord for added strength.

Note on Triangles

To cut two half-square triangles, cut a square in half diagonally. Half-square triangles have the straight grain of the fabric along the two short sides of the triangle.

To cut four quarter-square triangles, cut a square twice diagonally. Quarter-square triangles have the straight grain of the fabric along the longest side of the triangles.

Foundation Piecing

  1. For each foundation pieced block cut out the following:
    • One 1 3⁄4in square in plain light green piece 1
    • Four quarter-square triangles cut from a 3in square of black or grey print pieces 2, 3, 4 and 5
    • Two half-square triangles cut from a 2 3⁄4in square of dark cream print pieces 6 and 7
    • Two half-square triangles cut from a 2 3⁄4in square of light cream print pieces 8 and 9
  2. Photocopy or trace the pattern onto paper, transferring all seam lines and numbers. The block will measure 2 1⁄2in square plus seam allowances when finished. Cut out the paper at least 1⁄4in from the outside lines.
  3. Place the fabric for piece 1, RS up, on the unmarked side of the paper. Hold it up to the light to make sure the piece covers the whole area marked 1; the piece should extend beyond the seam lines on all sides.
  4. Place piece 2 on top of piece 1 with RS together and pin in place. With the marked side of the paper up, sew exactly on the seam line between pieces 1 and 2. Begin sewing two or three stitches before the line begins and extend a few stitches at the end of the line. Trim the seam allowance to a scant 1⁄4in. Open up piece 2 and press.
  5. With RS together place piece 3 on top of piece 1. Pin in place and then sew on the seam line between pieces 1 and 3. Trim the seam allowance, open up and press. Continue to add pieces in numbered sequence. A 1⁄4in seam allowance is allowed around the edge of the pattern, so trim excess fabric and paper to the outside lines.
  6. Make two foundation-pieced blocks in each of the 15 different black and grey prints; one each for each side of the bag, making a total of thirty blocks.

Assembling the Bag

Use a 1⁄4in seam allowance throughout.

Figure 1: Bag front and back
Figure 1: Bag front and back
  1. For the front of the bag, sew the blocks together in five rows of three blocks. Press the seams open. Make another panel exactly the same for the back of the bag.
  2. Draw a full size version of the patterns shown. Cut as follows:
    • Two pieces using section A from plain dark green for the sides of the bag
    • Two pieces using section A reversed from plain dark green for the sides of the bag
    • Two strips 1 1⁄2 x 14 1⁄2in from plain dark green for the top borders of the bag
    • Two strips 2 x 151⁄2in from plain dark green for the bag handles
    • One strip 2 1⁄2 x 28 1⁄2in from plain dark green for the facing
    • Two pieces using section B from natural calico for the lining
    • Two pieces using section B from wadding
    • Two strips 1 1⁄4 x 15 1⁄2in from wadding for the handles
    • Two pieces 8in long from cord for the handles
  3. Sew the darts in the four pattern A pieces and both pattern B lining pieces. Press the darts to one side. Sew the darts in both wadding B pieces. Trim the excess bulk from the darts of the wadding pieces only, leaving a 1⁄4in seam allowance.
  4. Sew a dark green A piece to each side of the foundation pieced panels then sew the dark green border strips to the tops of both pieces. Press the seams away from the blocks. See Figure 1.
  5. Matching the dart seams, lay both pieces of the bag on the lining pieces B, RS together then lay both of these on the wadding pieces B and pin together along both sides and the bottom. Sew along the sides and bottom of the bag. See Figure 2.
  6. Clip into the seam allowance around the curved corners of the bag taking care not to cut any stitches. Turn both sides of the bag to the RS.
Figure 2: Bag assembly
Figure 2: Bag assembly

Quilting

TIP! If you prefer to mark your quilting lines for cross hatching, mark the dark green side pieces and borders before sewing the darts

  1. Tack the layers of both pieces of the bag together along the raw edges, then tack around the outside edges, close to the seams, and tack across the bag in both directions as you would for a quilt.
  2. Quilt the foundationpieced blocks in the ditch around the edge of the centre square and the first row of triangles. Quilt a 1⁄4in inside the cream triangles. Cross hatch the dark green side pieces and border approximately 3⁄4in apart, using the distance between the cream triangles as a guide.

Finishing

Figure 3: Making the handle tubes
Figure 3: Making the handle tubes
Figure 4: Adding
    the handles
Figure 4: Adding the handles
  1. Lay a piece of narrow ribbon or tape along one half of each of the dark green bag handles. The tape should be long enough to extend at least 1⁄2in beyond the handles at both ends. With RS together, fold the handles in half lengthwise enclosing the tape. Lay the handles on top of the wadding strips and pin. Sewing in the end of the tape, sew along one short end, pivot at the corner and sew down the length of the handles. See Figure 3.
  2. Turn the handles to the right side by gently pulling on the end of the tape. The wadding strip should now be enclosed in the handles. Cut off the tape with the seamed end of the handles and discard. Press the handles lightly and quilt a 1⁄4in line inside both edges.
  3. Centre the cord over one side of the handles. Fold the handles in half over the cord. By hand, oversew the edges of the handles together enclosing the cord and securing at each end of the cord. See Figure 4.
  4. Pin the ends of the handle to the upper edge of both sides of the bag, having the outside edges of the handles in line with the foundation-pieced panel. Tack in place.
  5. With RS together, lay one side of the bag on top of the other. Match the upper edges with the dart seams and pin the pieces together. To make strong, flat, double seams, first slip stitch the edges of the bag together by hand, sewing only the edges of the fabric for the outside of the bag together, then ladder stitch the edges of the lining together.
  6. With WS together, fold the dark green strip for the facing in half lengthwise and press. Lay the double facing on the RS of the bag, matching the raw edges of the facing with the top edges of the bag. Adjust the length of the facing to fit the bag and with RS together sew the short ends of the facing together to make a loop. Pin and sew the facing to the top edges of the bag sewing in the ends of the handles, between the bag and the facing, at the same time. Turn the facing to the WS of the bag and slip stitch the folded edge to the bag lining. Turn the bag to the RS.
  7. Sew a pearl button to the centre of each block. Or sew a French knot or tie with thick threads instead

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 14 Number 4 - April 2006