Tied Tidy


  • Six FQs of light to dark greens
  • 30cm of fabric in purple for the centres and contrasting strips. (If you wish to pipe the base for extra strength allow up to 1m of contrast fabric to make the bias tape.)
  • 15cm of mid green for the top border
  • 2m of piping cord
  • 4 large wooden beads (for the ends of the cord)
  • Thread for the tied quilting
  • 1m cream calico for lining
  • 50cm pelmet vilene

Linda has used a wider range of fabrics for her blocks, so if you dont want to buy more fabric just cut strips from your stash until all the blocks are made.

Finished Size

10in square base, 16in tall

Skill Level


The clever drawstring folds back to reveal all your scissors, fabrics and threads for each project. Take to workshops or quilt meetings and at the end of the day, simply pull up the drawstring and take it home again. It also helps keep sharp tools safe from childrens prying fingers.

Figure 1: The log cabin block
Figure 1: The log cabin block

The Log Cabin Blocks

The main body of the bag is made from twenty eight speed piece log cabin blocks.

  • Assorted 1 1⁄2in (4cm) strips of light and dark greens
  • 1 1⁄2in (4cm) strip of purple for the centres

Note: Remember to keep the fabric you have just added towards you when you are sewing each time, then you wont start sewing in the wrong direction on some blocks.

Figure 2: Blocks joined to make the bag sides
Figure 2: Blocks joined to make the bag sides

Making The Lining And Finishing

Figure 3: Folding the lining
Figure 3: Folding the lining
Figure 4: Box with bag folded back to show pockets
Figure 4: Box with bag folded back to show pockets
Figure 5: Attaching the casing and cords
Figure 5: Attaching the casing and cords

Tied Quilting

Linda tied her bag to the lining at seam points in the log cabin squares, to secure the shape and give a tactile finish. This achieved a lovely whiskery effect and holds the square box neatly in the log cabin exterior. Its great to personalise your projects like this. You might prefer to secure the layers with randomly placed beads or traditional hand quilting patterns.

Other Ideas

  1. Sew a purple strip and a light green strip together and press towards the light green fabric.
  2. Cut into pairs that are 1 1⁄2in wide. You need twenty eight in total. Lay another light green strip RS up and place the pairs RS down leaving a small gap between each pair. Sew in one continuous seam.
    1. Press open and trim level with the edge of the first two strips.
    2. Continue adding strips in this fashion, two light green then two dark green until the block is complete. See Figure 1.
    3. Make twenty eight blocks. Sew twenty four blocks for the sides of the bag and four blocks for the base of the bag. See Figure 2.
    4. Cut the contrast fabric into 1 1⁄4in strips on the bias. Join as required and cover piping cord. Sew to the base of the log cabin pieced section as shown in Figure 2.
    5. Cut 4 1⁄2in strips of green and purple fabric the length of your bag.
    6. Sew the green and then the purple to the top edge of the pieced section. Press seams gently.
    7. Join the side seam to form a tube. Attach to the base by folding the bag into quarters and marking with a pin. Pin to the base with a pin at each corner and add more pins or tack before you sew. If necessary ease as you sew in place. Clip the corners of piping tape if needed.
    • Two 10in squares of calico
    • One 10in square of pelmet Vilene
    • 4 1⁄2 x 38in pelmet Vilene
    • 38 x 42in strip of calico for the sides
    • Two strips 2 1⁄2 x 16in of purple for casing
    1. Sandwich a square of pelmet Vilene between the two pieces of calico. Machine stitch round the edges to secure. Dont worry about raw edges as these will not show.
    2. Fold 9in up and press down 4 1⁄2in concertina style on the side piece of calico. This will form pockets. Fold remaining 33in in half and press at the top. You should have four layers of fabric at the bottom edge. Stitch through all of these several times. See Figure 3.
    1. Place a piece of pelmet Vilene in the channel of the largest tube. Stitch to the base edge. This becomes a stiffened box wall.
    2. Leave the seam allowance at the sides and divide the 38in width into four evenly. Sew down through all layers. Add extra small pockets as desired to take your scissors, needles and threads etc.
    3. Join the sides to make a tube. Join tube to base matching pocket seams to corners of base section. Trim seams and press lining.
    4. Turn lining RS in. Turn pieced log cabin section RS out. Sit lining box inside pieced outer. Pin in place. See Figure 4.
    1. Finish top by folding down the contrast section to the inside and hand stitching double folded edge of calico lining over raw edge of top strip.
    2. Press under turnings on all sides of the purple casing fabric. Stitch to top contrast section, leaving a space for even pulling, shown in Figure 5. Cut the drawing cord in half, thread one cord in one direction and the other opposite. Secure with the beads.
    • Why not use the leftover fabrics to make a matching pincushion and needlecase?
    • For a cheats version just use 5in squares of fabrics instead of the log cabin blocks and use a plain piece of fabric for the base.
    • For a really wild version just cut up all your old workshop half finished samples into 5in squares and assemble

      First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 11 Number 4 - April 2003