This project has been a long time coming. I started it at least three years ago, got stumped and left it sitting in a box. I decided it was about time to revisit it.
I was very excited about this project when I started it. I had found about 15 vintage quilt blocks at Lawrence Antique Mall, 830 Mass.
• Large quilt block
• 1 yard coordinating fabric
• Half-yard fusible interfacing
• Measuring tape or ruler
• Marking tool
• Coordinating thread
• Sewing machine
- Measure the quilt block — mine is 14.5 inches square — and cut three pieces from the coordinating fabric and two pieces of interfacing of the same size. Measure and cut two rectangles 4 inches by 24 inches for the straps. Cut a square for a pocket, if you want one — mine is 6 inches by 6.5 inches.
- Adhere the fusible interfacing to the back of the quilt block and to the back of one other piece of fabric — the front and the back. I chose to do this to stiffen up the sides and keep it from drooping in order to show off the quilt block better. Lay the interfacing with the adhesive side (the side with the dots) facing the back of the quilt block. The interfacing may have instructions, but generally you’ll press down and hold the iron in one spot for about 10 seconds, then lift it up and move it to another spot. The iron setting should be low and no steam. Repeat until the entire piece is fused to the quilt block. Repeat for the fabric piece that’s the back of the bag.
- Lay the quilt block and the back piece right sides together. Pin. Sew around three sides using a 1/2-inch seam, leaving the top end open. Leave it right sides in for now.
- For a pocket, take the small rectangle and fold down the top 1 inch. Press. Fold that over another inch. Press. Fold over the remaining three sides about 1/4 each each and press. Lay the pocket piece right side up on the right side of one of the lining pieces, wherever you want the pocket to be. Top stitch the three sides of the pocket to the lining piece with a 1/8-inch seam. Don’t sew across the top.
- Lay the two lining pieces right sides together and pin. Mark a 6-inch gap on the bottom side to leave unsewn. Then sew along three sides, leaving the gap open for turning the bag right side out later.
- Fold the first strap piece in half lengthwise and press. Fold each cut end in to meet the crease and press. Then fold in half along the original crease. Sew about 1/4-inch in from the side opposite the crease all the way down. Repeat for the other strap. You should end up with two strips 24 inches long by 1 inch wide.
- Turn the lining right sides out and slip into the outer part of the bag, aligning the side seams. The right sides of the fabric should be facing. Sandwich the straps between the two layers, with the short edges sticking out the top. The bulk of the strap should be inside. Pin the straps to the inner and outer layers, about 3.5 inches in from each side, one on the front and one on the back.
- Sew around the top of the bag, starting at a side seam. Use a 1/2-inch to 1-inch seam.
- Pull the lining out and flip the bag right sides out through the hole in the bottom. Before stuffing the lining into the bag, sew the gap closed with a 1/8-inch seam. Then stuff the lining back in. Press the bag flat.
- Topstitch around the top of the bag with a 1/4 inch seam, starting at a side seam. This keeps the lining on the inside and gives the bag a finished look. And that’s what it is — finished!