I have all of these 1 yard prints that I purchased to sell on my website. They weren't flat folds, but ends of collections that the fabric company (P&B Textiles) wanted to sell to quilt shops as a bargain. I sell them for $5 each and I have sold quite a few at my local quilt guild meeting. But I still have a lot left. I was trying to figure out how to use some of them plus come up with a class to teach locally so I did a search for quilted bags on the internet. I watched a couple Youtube videos and decided that I would try it. The videos I watch used inexpensive place mats purchased at WalMart or Target and looked quick and easy.
Since I wanted to use the fabric I had, I had to figure what was the best use of a yard of fabric and how many bags I could get from one yard. Regular place mats are about 14" x 19" so I decided that if I made them out of 14" x 18" I could get 6 bags from each yard. I would need two yards, one for the outside and one for the lining.
My first attempt to make the bag ended in something that did not look like what it was suppose to be. It ended up flat! It was suppose to be a box shape! After I realized that I had sewn the corners wrong, I though if I unsewed them and sewed them the correct way it would be fixed. WRONG! Because I had already trimmed the corners they could not be resewn the correct way. This bag will just have to remain flat. I can use it as a cosmetic bag when I travel.
So this next bag I did try free motion quilting on it. Not being used to the foot pedal speed and the speed of moving my quilt top I struggled to try to get my stitches even and use a smooth movement with my hands. Neither worked. Of course I hadn't had any practice doing it for a long time, so I really shouldn't have expected too much. Here is my attempt at stippling on my second bag. (It looks like what a kindergardener's handwriting looks like when they are learning to write!)
I think I will stick with straight line stitching on my domestic machine! If I want to quilt them quickly I can put the two yard pieces together on my longarm, quilt the whole piece and then cut them up into the sizes I want for my bags. (I like that option the best.) These bags make fast and easy gifts or something to sell at quilt shows or craft fairs.
So here is what you need and how to make the boxy bag.
2 fabric pieces cut into 14" x 18".
1 piece of batting (any kind works, the thinner the better) cut at 15" x 19".
Matching thread for sewing and an optional decorative thread for overcast and quilting.
16" nylon zipper to match the fabric.
10" grosgrain ribbon to match the fabric. (optional)
Zipper foot, regular foot, and overcast foot if you have one.
1. Layer lining, batting and top fabrics so that the wrong side of both fabrics touch the batting.
2. Quilt the layers as desired.
3. Trim the quilted piece so that it is squared up. No batting should show. You will probably end up with a 13-1/2" x 17-1/2" piece or slightly smaller.
4. Finish off the two short edges of the piece with some type of overcast or decorative stitch. If you have a a serger machine you can use it to finish off the edges.
5. Center your zipper, right side of zipper facing wrong side of finished edge, and using your zipper foot, sew one side of the zipper on the quilt. I double sewed it (two stitching lines on top of each other) to hold it together better.
6. Lining up the two edges of the quilt, pin the other side of the zipper to hold it on the quilt. Unzip the zipper all the way and sew the other side of the zipper on.
7. Turn the quilt inside out and flatten it to make sure that the zipper is in the center of both sides. I measured from the edge of the zipper to the folded edge on both sides and made adjustments if they were not even. You could also mark the center of the quilt and line up the zipper on top of the center line. (In the photo I had trimmed the end, not the top, of the zipper before sewing. You can do it now or after you sew the seam.) Sew this side with a 3/8" seam reinforcing the stitching over the zipper. (If you want to put in some loops on each end you can do it at this point. Cut the ribbon into two 5" pieces. Fold them in half and place them on top of the zipper between the outside piece and the zipper, with the ends of the ribbon even with the edges of the quilt. The loop will be inside of the quilt.You can make bigger loops if you want, just cut the ribbon longer.)
8. Open the zipper half way. Match the open sides of the zipper, (this is the side with the pull) holding it together and pin it. Sew this end with a 3/8" seam, keeping the zipper as close together as possible and reinforcing the stitches over the zipper. Cut off ends of zipper that go past the seams.
9. Here is the place where I made my mistake. Fold one of the corners so that the seam is in the middle and it creates a point. You can measure both sides from the seam to make sure you folded it in half accurately. (Don't worry if it is not perfect. That is the great thing about this boxy bag. It looks good not matter what you do!)
11. Sew along the drawn line keeping seams open.
12. Trim off the corners to about 3/8" from the seam. Trim off the two corners a little to make turning it easier.
13. Turn your bag right side out and push out the corners. Here are my two bags side to side so you can see the slight difference in the height and length.
Of course if you don't want to make your own quilt sandwich, you can certainly use a place mat. Try not to get one that is too stiff or it will make it hard to sew through all of the seams at the corners.
Well I hope you have learned enough to try to make your own bag. Play with different sizes of fabrics and heights. You could even make a small one for a change bag in your purse! I'd love to see what you come up with. Feel free to leave a comment if you need any clarification of my directions or if you can think of something that I left out that you think I should add.
As always: Do what you love and love what you do. Thanks for reading. Toby Lischko