Sewing Basics: Patchwork Totes
Beth shares lots of bright and happy projects on Plum and June, and today she joins us in our Sewing Basics series with these pretty patchwork totes. Learn more about Beth in her introduction, and enjoy today’s tutorial!
I love using the scraps in my scrap box to make all sorts of patchwork projects. This is one of my favorites. I just pull a bunch of scraps in a variety of sizes and piece them together until I have a “new” piece of fabric to use.
You can choose scraps based on a specific color scheme or use coordinating prints but my favorite is to pull without a plan and just let it come together.
- Scraps from your stash in a variety of prints, solids, shapes, and sizes
- 2 pieces of batting 14.5″ x 18.5″
- 2 pieces of lining fabric 14″ x 18″
- 2 pieces of cotton webbing – 1″ x 36″
Make the Exterior:
1. Lay one piece of batting on your work surface so that it is 18.5″ in width and 14.5″ in length.
2. Take two larger pieces of scraps; they should be at least 14.5″ long and about 2″ – 2.5″ wide. Place those on either end of the batting.
3. Take your smaller scraps and arrange them on the remainder of the batting as shown. Be sure to overlap the pieces so that the entire piece of batting is covered; you need to overlap them here since they will be smaller once sewn together.
4. Basically, you want the remaining top half of the batting to be covered by horizontal rows of scraps and the bottom half to be vertical rows.
5. Sew together the smaller scraps to make them the same width or length – you should end up with 2 sets of strips: (Section A) about 4 or 5 strips that are 1″ – 1.75″ x 14.25″ and (Section B) 8 or 9 strips that are 1″ – 1.75″ x 7.25″. Then sew together the strips to form the two sections – (Section A) horizontal stripes and (Section B) vertical stripes as shown below. Trim both panels so that the finished size of each is 14.25″ x 7.25″.
6. Take your vertical stripes panel and place it on the batting with the bottom edges of the batting and the panel together, and the panel centered from the side edges of the batting.
7. Starting on the middle strip, quilt the panel to the binding using vertical lines.
8. Take your horizontal panel of strips and place it right sides together on the vertical panel. Sew along the top edges with a 1/4″ seam. Flip the horizontal panel over and quilt a line where the two panels meet -this line of quilting should be perpendicular to the lines stitched on the vertical panel.
9. Quilt the rest of the horizontal panel with straight or almost straight, organic lines parallel to the one you just stitched.
10. Attach one of the side strips of fabric in the same manner by first placing it right sides together with the panels and then flipping it over and quilting using vertical lines. Repeat with the other side strip.
11. Trim the completed panel to 14″x 18″.
12. Take one piece of cotton webbing and line up each edge with the top edge of the panel– 3″ in from the edge (measure from the side of the webbing closest to the edge of the panel)– slightly overlapping so that the webbing just sticks out past the fabric panel. Baste.
13. Repeat steps 1 -12 to make the other exterior panel.
Variation: You can leave off the side strips of fabric and just make the horizontal and vertical panels 18.5″ in width instead.
15. Take your two completed fabric panels and place them right sides together and stitch around the three sides that do not have the straps attached using a 3/8″ seam. It will be easier to get an even stitch if you pull the straps up and out while you are attaching the panels (not shown.)
16. Pinch the sides together of the corner of one of the bottom edges as shown and mark a line 2.5″ from edge of the corner (I use a Hera marker to do this which is hard to see in the photos). Measure from where the two fabrics are attached, not from the tab edges. Sew from end to end (I like to do this twice to make it a bit more secure). Then cut off the excess leaving a 1/2″ seam. Repeat with the other corner.
17. Now it is time to make the lining. Take the two 14″ x 18″pieces of lining fabric, place them right sides together, sew on 3 sides (leaving one 18″ side unfinished) and finish the corners as shown for the exterior.
18. Turn your lining right sides out and place it inside the exterior (which would still be right sides together); you will be arranging it so that the right sides of the lining are facing the right sides of the exterior. Match up the top edges and side seams. Also, make sure that your straps are now inside the fabric, between the lining and the exterior.
19. Using a 3/8″ seam and backstitching at each end, stitch around the top edge where the lining and exterior meet leaving a 6″ opening between the straps on one of the sides.
20. Pull the fabrics and straps through the 6″ opening and arrange the lining inside the exterior and press around the top edge; be sure to carefully press where you left the 6″ opening so that the extra fabric is tucked into the opening.
21. Using a 1/4″ seam, topstich around the top edge of the bag; be sure to enclose the 6″ opening while doing so.
22. And that’s it. You are finished!
23. If you want to add a zip pocket to the inside or outside, you can find my tutorial here.
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