Ingrid Whitcher

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Bits & Pieces

Quilted Large Tote with Zippered bag – Tutorial part 1

Published on 10/05/12

I really like using my “practice” pieces for large tote bags. I feel that the practice work needs to be as close to a real quilt top as possible. I often use a solid top with a contrasting thread and a busy backing. This helps me see my practice stitching well as I work.

This practice work was done on the long-arm. My motto has become “Perfect practice makes perfect work.”

Here is a step-by-step tutorial, so you can make a quilted tote bag.

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Materials needed for the bag:

  • 1/2 yard pre-quilted fabric
  • 2 1/2×40 inch strip for the top edge
  • 1/2×40 inch strip of batting – for the strap
  • 4 1/2×40 inch strip for straps

Materials for small zippered bag (optional)

  • 6 1/2×13 inch piece of pre-quilted fabric
  • zipper
  • 2 1/2×10 inch strip of fabric

Step 1

New attached imageSquare up a 1/2 yard piece of pre-quilted fabric. Decide what is going to be the outside.

Step 2

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Fold fabric in half with right sides together. Stitch down both sides with a straight stitch and then again with a zig-zag stitch to clean up the edge.

Step 3

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To give the bag a “bottom”, turn the bag and pinch the corner. Make sure you line it up so the side of the bag is now the center. I lay it on my cutting mat to help line everything up. Measure down from the corner and use a pencil to mark your sewing line. (For a large tote, you will want at least a 2 1/2 inch corner up to a 4 inch corner.

Step 4

New attached imageUse a basting stitch to “check your corner”. This insures that the bottom of your bag will sit nicely. I often make my corner cuts too large and doing a basting stitch allows me to test it first. Once I am happy with the bottom, I use a straight stitch and then finish the edge with a zig-zag stitch.

Step 5

New attached imageTurn the bag inside out and admire your work. This completes the body of the bag.


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