As soon as I saw this bag on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it. Her tutorial is amazing, so I’m not going to try to top it (although I’ll post my own version with pics, just so you can see how mine was put together). I am, however, going to include another tutorial for a variation on the quilt-as-you-go method, which I first introduced here! This little bag is perfect for a casual evening out, when you just need some cash, a phone, a couple cards, and some lip gloss. It’s easy to hook around your wrist, and its unique shape makes it special. I’ve made one for myself already, but the one in this tutorial is for my niece, who will be turning 12 at the end of next month. What could be better for a tween girl??
- 2 6.5″ squares of quilt batting
- scraps of fabric in desired colors
- 2 6.5″ squares of lining fabric (can be the same or different)
- 7″ or longer zipper
- 2 2″x4″ pieces of fabric
- 1 4″x15″ strip of fabric
- coordinating thread
Note: seam allowances are 1/4″ unless otherwise specified
So the basis of this bag is 2 6.5″ square quilt blocks. How can 2 blocks become a 3-dimensional bag? That’s a little magic I’ll share with you later. To start off, cut 2 6.5″ square pieces of batting. You want something that’s low loft (i.e. not too fluffy), because it’s going to be the base for your quilt blocks and you’ll be running it right next to your feed dog. On a side note, I used this project to use up some scraps: they weren’t big enough, so I used 2 thin pieces of iron-on interfacing, one on each side, to attach 2 pieces of batting butted up against each other. You’ll see what I’m talking about in the picture below.
A little background on the choices I made before I really get into it… first of all, I used 1.5″ strips for my quilt blocks. It was big enough to see patterns in my fabric, but small enough to get enough strips in. I also opted to go asymmetrical with my pieces, which was really hard for my OCD to handle but made the bag more whimsical in the end. There is no right or wrong way to place or size your pieces – whatever works for you is perfect!
To use this quilt-as-you-go method, start off with your piece of batting. Place your starting fabric in the middle, right side up. I used a 2″x2″ accent piece, but you can use a strip or really anything you want. Place your first strip right side down and sew along where the two overlap (it’s ok if you go further, extra stitching will be hidden in the end). Then, fold your new addition to face upwards, and secure with a topstitch 1/8″ from the seam you just sewed. I recommend adding a second line of stitching, maybe 1/2″ or so outward, just to secure it. This will also give your block a more quilted look. Then do the same with the next piece: place right side down, sew where it overlaps the pieces already on the batting, fold back, and secure. Continue this process until your whole square of batting is covered with fabric (if you do it like I did, working in a circle seemed to make it easiest). Then just flip it over, admire all the stitching you’ve done, and trim off the excess fabric from the edges. And there you have it, a pretty quilt block, ready to be made into a triangle bag!
Top left: Right sides together, stitch where they overlap. Top right: Flip the yellow right side up and topstitch to secure. Bottom left: My block in progress. Bottom right: Completed and trimmed quilt block.
Something to note about this quilt-as-you-go method, you only end up with a block front and batting. If you flip it over and look at it, it’s not pretty with all that stitching, so you won’t want to attach the back side at the same time. But it does make for a pretty, easy, and stable quilt block!
So once you’ve made 2 quilt blocks, it’s time to get sewing on your bag. Assemble all your supplies…
and turn on your iron! Fold the 4″x15″ strip in half “hot dog style” and iron it; open it up and fold and iron each of the sides in to the fold, then re-fold in half and iron again, making a 1″x15″ 4-ply strip. Then, for each of the 2″x4″ pieces, iron in half to make a 2″x2″ square, then open them up again and press 1/4″ in on each of the 2″ sides. You’re done with the iron now, so remember to turn it off! Now you’re going to prep your zipper and strap. Sandwich the open end of the zipper in one of the 2″x4″ pieces, pin, and sew 1/8″ from the edge (make sure those metal pieces are not in your seam – they’ll break your needle). Then zip the zipper closed and cut it 5.5″ from that seam, and repeat on the other end. Last, you just need to trim the zipper end pieces to the same width as the zipper to remove bulk from the final product. To complete the strap, stitch about 1/8″ from the edge along the two long sides; this is a great time to use some of those fancy stitches on your machine – you can see I used the hearts stitch for my bag. That was a lot of words, so here are some pictures to make it more clear:
Top: How to iron the strap fabric. 2nd: How to iron the zipper end pieces. 3rd: How to attach the zipper end pieces. Bottom: Completed zipper and strap.
How that all the prepwork is done, it’s time to start to assemble the main part of the bag. First, you’re going to attach your zipper. Lay one of your quilt squares right side up. Center the zipper piece right side down lined up at the top of the quilt square. Then place one of your lining pieces right side down, lined up with the quilt square. Use your zipper foot to sew along the top where all 3 overlap. It may help to sew a little and move the zipper pull (with the needle down, you can raise the presser foot if necessary). Then fold the top and the lining back from the zipper, and topstitch them to hold. Repeat with the other quilt square and lining piece on the other side of the zipper. Switch back to your standard presser foot. Then pin the two lining pieces right sides together and sew on the opposite edge of the zipper, leaving a 2.5-3″ gap in the center and backstitching at the end. Pin the two quilt blocks right side together and sew the whole edge on the opposite edge of the zipper.
Line these three pieces up on the top edge (quilt block, zipper, lining piece)
The first two photos are what the bag looks like once you’ve done the zipper assembly. The bottom photo shows the next step, sewing the lining pieces and the quilt blocks together (don’t forget the opening in the lining!)
Now the assembly directions start to get a little hairy – not hard to do, but tough to describe, so make sure you check out the pictures for each step!
OPEN THE ZIPPER, and flatten your bag by opening both the quilt blocks and the lining pieces you just sewed, with the zipper in the center and the pull on the end you’re about to sew. Pin and sew along the whole edge.
Top photo: What I mean by flattening with the zipper in the middle (note it’s the side where the zipper pull is when it’s open). Left bottom: Quilt block side. Right bottom: Lining side. (You can see the zipper end sticking out in both of these pictures)
Now, flip it around to the only open end left. Pin your strap about 1.5″ from the zipper, looped inside the quilt block side. Then pinch the zipper end towards the quilt block side, pin it, and pin the lining right sides together and the quilt blocks right sides together (don’t forget to take out the pin that held your strap temporarily). Lastly, sew along the whole length you just pinned.
Top: Temporarily pin the strap in place. Middle: Pinch the zipper end towards the quilt block side. Bottom: pin the lining, pinched zipper, and quilt blocks (including strap) and sew with 1 seam.
We’re in the home stretch! Turn your bag right side out (you’re welcome for telling you to open the zipper!) and pull the lining out. Topstitch or handstitch the opening in the lining closed, and tuck it back in. You may need to poke and prod the corners a little to get the bag looking right, but you’re done!
Your unique bag is done!
I know that looked complicated, but it’s really not bad. And the results are so adorable, it’s worth the work!!