Totebag


I offer this as a gift to all of you.  This is a quick and easy totebag pattern, lined and puffy, that has nice pockets, and can be put together in about 15 min, with no hand sewing.  It has some really fun quick tricks that you can use with other projects.  I am giving the directions now so that you can sew up a few for Christmas.  I will offer it as a mystery quilt format, giving part of the directions every day for about 4 days.  One of the best things about it is that it uses up scraps!

Day One--cut out the pieces.  Mix and match, none of the colors have to match at all, just generally coordinate.  You can piece your squares if  needed. 

Cut 4 --  12.5 inch squares.  2 will be lining, 2 will be the outsides

Cut 4  --  6 inch squares for the pockets.  2 will be pocket fronts, 2 will be liners.  If you have a few old 6 inch blocks that are pieced, these are even better.

Cut 2 --  2.5 x 17 inch handles, can go as short as 14 inches if you run short

Batting--cut 2 squares about 13 inches, and cut 2 strips for handles 2.5 inches x 17 inches

Have on hand--a piece of twill tape or strong string, or a strong "waste" selvedge edge (.25 inch if you have to cut one)

Get ready!!!  I know you have some fabric in your stash that you can use up!  But I'll warn you--these are addictive.


Day Two Now your pieces are cut out, and today you will make the handles and the pockets. Okay you 2 in the back row!  Pay attention, and quit chewing cum!  No giggling (I told you guys I was a strict teacher) ;>))

Fold a handle strip right sides together.  It will be 1.25 inches x 17 now.  Where the fold is, INSIDE this "tube" tuck your twill tape, which should be at least 20 inches long. Push it into the fold as far as you can get it to sit.   It will stick out a half inch at one end and about 3 inches at the other end, the remainder is enclosed in the fabric fold. 

Lay your batting strip under this folded/handle part, (the batting will touch the feed dogs) and sew, being sure to catch batting as you sew.  First sew across the top 1.25 inches of the handle, permanently enclosing the tape at the folded edge, turn and go down the 17 inch side.  Batting should be sticking out around all the edges, and be on the botton where the feed dogs are.  DO NOT catch the twill tape in your sewing EXCEPT where you have sewed it in across the top of the tube. 

Now, this should look like a ratty mess. Batting sticking out all over, twill tape sticking out at the ends.  But this is soooo cool.  Grab the loose end of the twill tape, and pull! Fiddle at the end to get the reversal started.  The whole handle turns itself inside out, with batting enclosed!  Cut off the twill tape.  It can be used for the next handle. Make 2 handles.


Next--pockets.  Sew your squares together on 3 sides only, turn right side out and press.  Tuck in the raw edges 1/4 inch and press.  The square looks finished, but is open at one end.  Sew a pocket onto the front of your bag, and onto one liner square, being sure that that one open side of the square is not the one you leave up.  I call this "sewing the lips together".  Remember this term--it will be used later.

Day Three - Now you will make a front section and a back section.

Layer 2 piles as follows--
1--batting square
2--lining piece right side up
3--handle, pinned to the lining piece (it should look like a letter "C" lying on its back, not         up like a bag handle yet)
4--bag front square, wrong side up

Your pocket openings should be up.  Sew across this one seam only, enclosing the handle in your seam. Repeat.

Now open the 2 pieces, like a book,  and place them side by side.  You will have 2 big rectangles, A and B, and be sure that the lining pieces are north and the bag front pieces are south.  Place B over A, right sides together, but before you do, be sure that one batting square is on the north, and one flips down to the south.  This assures that you only sew on one batting square at a time.

Day 4--All done!  Please send me an email if you finish a bag.  It would be so much fun to hear from you, and know how the project went.

Now you have the bag halves stacked on top of each other, right sides together.  Your  lining pieces are on the north.  Begin sewing on the right corner as usual.  Sew down this complete first side, sew across the bottom, sew up the other side, being very careful that the front/lining seams butt carefully at the middle of your side seams.

Half of your sewing will be on top of batting, and it will be a bit difficult to see the fabric underneath.  Fake it.  Just be sure to catch batting all along as you go.  Now turn the bag right side out, tuck the lining, raw edges and all, into the finished bag. Look it over.  Did you catch all the seams?  Are the top edges meeting nicely?  Are the handles okay? Are the pockets right side up?  If so, pull that lining out of the bag, push in those raw edges 1/4 inch like "lips" and sew those lips shut, very close to the edge. Catch a bit of batting in this seam. Remember, this little seam will never show.   Push the lining back in, and pick out any corners with a big darning needle.

Voila!  Now, admire it, drag it around a bit, put it on your head and have someone take a picture of you looking dumb, with the handles hanging around your chin, and send me a scan.  The dopiest looking bag lady gets a fat quarter from me, and 15 minutes of fame when her photo gets put on the internet (did you hear that Sheryl? Are you LISTENING in that back row?  And your sidekick?  Is she paying attention?)

Best regards from your quilt teacher, Sandra