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Patchwork Tote Bag Tutorial

Patchwork Tote Bag Tutorial

Old 01-09-2017, 08:03 PM
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Default Patchwork Tote Bag Tutorial

Patchwork Tote Bag Tutorial
Bonnie Evans aka Sewbizgirl

This tutorial is for a roomy tote bag, 34” in diameter and 12” tall. The design and construction method was inspired by the free online pattern, So Sew Easy Schlep Bag. For this bag we use 2.5” mini charm squares, also called “candy” squares.
Materials needed:
*132- 2.5” squares of your choice. I used my stash of batik charms.
*Approx. 1 yard of coordinating yardage for your lining and straps.
*Approx. 1 yard ( or big scraps) of thin batting or foam interfacing for bags. I used Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly blend batting for mine.

**All seams for the bag are ¼”. Seams for the lining are 3/8”.

I made this bag in an afternoon!

Step 1: Making the 9 Patches.
Make 9 patch blocks—12 of them! Nest your seams as you sew. Press the blocks and trim each to 6.5”.


Step 2: Making the Angled Ends.
Following the photo below, sew 6 charm squares together. Make 4 of these units.


The seams on the top 3 charms will extend into the next blocks. This is what you want… to be trimmed later with a ¼” seam allowance left on.

Now neaten and trim the two long edges of these pieces to 6.5”.

Step 3: Constructing the Panels.
Sew two of the 9 patches together, nesting seams again. Then, sew one of the 6 piece units to the left end of the unit, as shown. Press.

Now you will trim the angled end of the piece, leaving ¼” seam allowance as shown. To do this, place your ruler’s ¼” line along the top points of the second row of charms, and cut.

Repeat step 3, 3 more times to give you 4 units with angled ends. (Set aside the remaining 4 9-patches to use for the bag bottom.)

Step 4: Cutting The Lining.
Lay out your lining fabric and, using one bag panel unit as a pattern, cut 4 pieces out of the lining fabric.


Next cut 2 pieces for straps, 4.5” x 22” long.
OPTIONAL: If you want a patch pocket in your bag lining, cut one now and prepare it by pressing in the edges and hemming the top. Set aside until we construct the lining.

Step 5: Making the bottom.
Join the remaining 9 patches into one big 36 patch, again nesting seams. Press well and trim to 12.5” square.

Step 6: Quilting the pieces.
Lay out your batting and cut one 12.5” square for the bottom. Then using one angled panel as a pattern again, cut 4 batting pieces for the 4 panels.
Quilt as desired, taking care not to distort the size of the pieces. I merely did Stitch In The Ditch for all of mine.


Attached Thumbnails dsc03360-small-.jpg   dsc03340-small-.jpg   dsc03341-small-.jpg   dsc03342-small-.jpg   dsc03343-small-.jpg  

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Old 01-09-2017, 08:08 PM
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Step 7: Constructing the Outer Bag and Lining.

Lay out your bag bottom, and then place your 4 panels on each side, EXACTLY AS SHOWN.

Here is a diagram of bag construction:


Sew your bag panels to the bag bottom, using the placement shown.
Next you will ‘follow the arrows’ to sew the side seams of the bag. This is where the construction ‘twists’ and becomes ‘on point’… effortlessly! Join the long pointy side of each panel to the shorter side of the adjacent panel. You will want to take care to match your seams here. Take a look in my photo of how I placed a pin at each seam intersection, all along the side. Be sure to do this. It makes a difference in how nice your bag will look! Clip the corner at the bag base if you need to, to make your seam smoother.


This is the other side of the same seam:


Once all 4 seams are sewn, lightly press them and neaten up the top with your rotary cutter and ruler. Trim off only dog ears and anything uneven, trying not to take any of the bag off if possible.

Now lay out your lining pieces and join them exactly the same way, except sew using a 3/8” seam. Linings need to be a tad smaller than the outer bag, to fit well.
When you have your lining together, fold it flat and trim off ¼” from the top edge, so it will be that little bit shorter than the outer bag. If you have made a pocket to sew onto your lining, sew it on now.

Step 8: Strap Construction and Placement.
Take the two long lining pieces you cut for straps and press one long edge of each. Press under ½”.
Cut two strips of batting that are 1 ½” x 22” long. As shown below, place top edge of batting 1” below the pressed edge of fabric, and then fold the bottom edge of fabric up to cover the batting snuggly. Fold the pressed edge down, bringing the pressed edge to the center of the strip, covering the raw edge.


Edgestitch down the length of the strip; one line of stitching in the center of the strip.
Now fold the outer bag flat, as shown, and pin straps in place on each side. I chose to place mine 3.5” in from the sides. Stitch them in place, just shy of ¼” seam. So that the stitching won’t show when you sew your final top seam.

Step 9: Final Joining of Bag and Lining.
Open your lining with the wrong side out. Your outer bag should be RIGHT SIDE out. Slide the outer bag into the lining, as shown. Match up the four corners of the bag base with the 4 corners of the lining base, to align the two pieces properly. Pin the bag and lining together all the way around the top edge. Be careful not to stretch the top edge, as it is on the bias. Sew all the way around with ¼” seam.


To turn the bag right-side-out, open a small seam in the bag lining, and gently pull the outer bag through it. Make sure you caught everything in your seaming around the top. If it looks good, close the opening you made in the lining, either by machine topstitch or hand stitching it closed.

Insert the lining into the bag and press the top edge, pressing the lining towards the inside of the bag. Then topstitch ¼” from the top edge of the bag, all the way around.


Enjoy your cute, new tote bag!

Attached Thumbnails dsc03349-small-.jpg   dsc03368-small-.jpg   dsc03350-small-.jpg   dsc03351-small-.jpg   dsc03352-small-.jpg  

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Last edited by sewbizgirl; 01-09-2017 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 01-10-2017, 01:34 AM
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Thanks for this tutorial. I'm definitely going to make this.
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Old 01-10-2017, 03:52 AM
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Thank you for posting this picture tutorial. I would love to make this for my knitting projects and put my candy squares to good use.
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:07 AM
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Thank you for the tutorial.
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:14 AM
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​Great tutorial!
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:19 AM
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Love this and now I can get out the Batiks again.
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Old 01-10-2017, 07:08 AM
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thanks for taking the time to post this tutorial
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Old 01-10-2017, 07:17 AM
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WOW Thank you for sharing this great tut. It is now on the bucket list.
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Old 01-10-2017, 07:21 AM
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