Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October Tutorial Tuesday - Trick-or-Treat Bag

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Jona, of Stiches and Spills, is our guest blogger this month.  Jona has created an adorable Halloween treat bag using fat quarters for our Tutorial Tuesday.  Enjoy!

This Halloween tote is adorable and large enough to hold a ton of candy! Not into Halloween? It is large enough to act as a library tote or a reusable shopping bag if different fabrics are used.

Whimsical Fabric has tote bag kits available for purchase here. The kit comes with everything you need to create your Trick-or-Treat bag. Just supply coordinating thread. Check out the coupon code at the end of this tutorial to save 15% of your kit.

• 6 fat quarters
Solid fabric for the lining
Ric-Rac for the handles

**All sewing is done using a 1/4" seam.**

**This is not my original design. The lovely ladies in our church quilt group uses this design to make quilts for new babies and members that are sick or hospitalized. I took the basic design and scaled it down to a bag size.

-For the straps, cut two strips that are 2.5" by 22" (if you use a fat quarter, the width is 22"). 

-Next, cut the fabric prints into 5.5" by 5.5" squares. Cut a grand total of 18 squares. 9 squares will be used for the front of the tote and 9 squares will be used for the back of the tote. I cut 3 squares from each print, but feel free to cut more of some prints and less of other prints.

-Now you should have a pile of 18 squares that are 5.5" by 5.5" each and two strap pieces that measure 2.5" by 22". Leave the lining fabric alone for now, we will cut that down later. If you haven't already, now is a great time to iron all of the pieces. You should have something similar to this:

-Set aside the ric-rac and strap pieces aside for now.

Square Layout: 
-Now, take nine squares and arrange them into three rows of three. There is no need to worry about the fabric direction as you arrange the fabrics.
**Note: After the squares are sewn together, the 9-square piece will be cut into quarters. See the second photo.

-Repeat with the remaining nine squares.

-Now we will sew all of these together to make two large squares. To speed things up, I like to chain stitch them together. However, I am frequently distracted, so I do one of two things to make sure I don't get my pieces all mixed up while stitching.
  • I take a picture of my layout and refer to it frequently
  • I use colored pens to make marks within the seam allowance to show what pieces get sewn together. See photos.
I received FriXion pens for my birthday and they work perfectly!
There are several colors and they disappear when ironed.
This is from a later step, but it shows how I mark before sewing.
The marks can be done on the front or back, depending on your preference.
 Sewing the Squares: 
-Now it is time to start sewing! First, sew the rows across horizontally.

-Repeat with the other set.

-Now press the seams. Use your preferred method. I like to press the seams to the side, alternating direction with each row. Do this to all of the strips.

-It is now time to stitch the strips together. Pin the top and middle strip together, taking care to match the  vertical seams. Press the seams.
Wonder Clip

-Repeat with the other three strips. You should now have two patchwork squares that look like this. If your sewing isn't perfectly spot on, that's fine! It won't be very noticeable when the bag is finished.

-Trim away a little from each side to make each of the large squares the same size and all sides the same length.

-Take a quick second, grab a cup of tea and get ready for the fun part of this bag!

-Find the vertical center of the square and cut.

-Cut across the horizontal center of the square. I find it easiest to take each half and cut it individually.

-Repeat for the other section, so you have four smaller squares.

-Repeat with the other 9 square so you know have eight small squares.

-Now play around with the eight squares by rotating the small squares around.

-Flip over and make little marks to match what pieces go together. Sew along the vertical seams first.

-Press the seams to the side. I prefer to press them in opposite directions to minimize the bulk in the center of the patchwork square.

-Stitch the top and bottom rectangles together. Repeat with the other pieces. You now have two squares that will look something like this:

-Square both pieces up so they are square and both are the same size. Mine measured 14.25" by 14.25", but yours may measure slightly larger or smaller, and that is fine.

Constructing the bag: 
-Grab your lining fabric.

-Cut two squares the same size as your main print squares. Mine are 14.25" by 14.25". Iron if desired and set to the side.

-It's time to make the tote! You should now have a pile that looks something like this:

-Grab the handle strips and the ric-rac for the next few steps. Take one handle strip and fold right sides together matching the long edge. Sew. Repeat with the second strip.

-Press the seam open down the center of the strip. Turn right side out and press in place. The seam will be visible along the front of the strip.

-Center the ric-rac on top of the seam and stitch in place. Repeat with the other handle strap.

-Take one of the main panels and measure 3" from the side and center one end of one strap on the 3" mark along the top with right sides together. Measure 3" from the other side and place the other end of the strap on that point along the top with right sides together. Make sure not to twist the straps. Repeat with the other patchwork square and strap. Baste in place.

-With right sides together, pin the two patchwork pieces together along the sides and the bottom. Stitch together the sides and bottom.

-With the lining pieces, repeat the above step, except leave a 3"-4" opening along the bottom center for turning the bag (see white marks on the bottom of the bag). Be sure to back stitch at each side of the opening so it doesn't come undone when turning.

-Optional: Iron open all the seams. This can be a little finicky, but it does make for flatter edges and it makes the next few steps easier.

-With the bag and lining still inside out: Along the bottom two corners of the bag and lining, measure two inches up from the bottom and mark and two inches in from the side and mark. Open up the bottom corner and match the two marks. I use a pin to stick through at both points and then pin in place. Repeat with the other side and with both sides of the bag.
These Modkid Pins are seriously my favorite!
-Sew along the line that has been created by the pins. Repeat along the other corner and along both bottom corners of the main bag.

-Cut the triangles off, leaving about a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat for all corners.

-Turn the lining right side out as pictured.

-Place the lining inside the main bag with right sides together. Pin and stitch around the top using a 1/4" seam allowance. I usually stitch over the sections with the handles a few times, simply because these bags get a ton of use in our home.

-Turn the main print right side out by pulling it through the bottom hole in the lining.

-Stitch the hole in the lining closed. For a more finished look, hand stitch it together. Since it is in the bottom of the bag, I usually just stitch it together with my machine. Push the lining into the bag.

-If desired, top stitch around the top opening of the bag.
 -Your bag is now complete and ready for Trick Or Treating!

Need more Halloween Inspiration? Check out our Halloween Pinterest Board.

Use the coupon code TutorialTuesday now through Tuesday, October 27th and save 15% off the purchase of a Trick-or-Treat Bag kit.

Happy Creating!
Danielle Storm 

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