If you’re lucky enough to have got hold of Quilt Now issue 1 already you’ll have seen the first instalment of Reene Witchard’s Block of the Month quilt along. Here’s how to turn this issue’s block into a natty little shopping bag.
Summer Tote Bag by Reene Witchard
2” width of fat quarter (WOFQ) strip from each of 2 contrasting solids
3” WOFQ from each of 5 co-ordinating solids
4” WOF strip solid for handles
1¼ yard Antique Treasures Pink Floral (background fabric)
1 yard Moda Cross Weave Gray (lining fabric)
18½x20½” fusible fleece or batting (optional for quilting panel)
Finished size 18×20”
From background fabric
2½” WOF strip sub-cut into two 2½x14½” strips
3½” WOF strip sub-cut into two 3½x18½” strips
2 4” WOF strips sub-cut into 16 template A blocks
2 4½” WOF strips sub-cut into two 4½x20½” strips for side panels and one 4½x18½” strip for bottom panel
20½x18½” panel for rear panel
From contrasting solids
Cut 2” strips into four 5” lengths
From co-ordinating solids
Cut three template B blocks from each of four solids and four from the other for the centre foundation pieced block.
From lining fabric
2 4½” WOF strips
2 20½x18½” panels
Constructing the bag shell
1 Follow the instructions in Quilt Now 1 to construct the medallion block. Your block should look something like the one above.
2 Sash the sides of the panel with 2½x14½” strips, and the top and bottom with 3½x18½” strips.
3 Optional – apply fusible fleece/batting to rear of panel and quilt as desired.
4 Pin and sew 4½x20½” strips to each side of the front panel, right sides together, using a ½” seam allowance. Stop sewing ½” from the bottom of the panel and backstitch to secure.
If it makes it easier, mark a ½” line at the bottom of each strip so you know where to stop sewing
5 Repeat Step 4 to attach rear panel to the front panel so that you have a rectangular tube.
6 Pin and sew the 4½x18½” strip, right sides together, to the bottom of the rectangular tube using a ½” seam allowance.
7 Carefully clip the corners within the seam allowance. Turn the bag right side out.
Constructing bag lining
8 Repeat steps 4–6 with the lining fabric.
Constructing the straps
9 Fold the 4” WOF strip in half right sides together and sew along the WOF.
10 Turn the strap right sides out then press well and topstitch a few rows of stitches to add stability.
11 Cut WOF strip in half to create two straps.
12 Mark 2” in from each side of the front and rear panel on the bag outer shell.
13 Pin and sew the straps in place using a ¼” seam allowance. Backstitch at the start and end of each strap for a secure fastening. Note: take care not to sew the front and back panels of the shell together at this stage. Also make sure that the straps aren’t twisted.
14 Place the bag outer shell inside the lining shell with right sides together. Clip or pin the layers together, matching seams where appropriate. Ensure the straps are facing the bottom of the bag so they don’t get caught when you sew.
15 Sew using a ½” seam allowance leaving a gap of approximately 4” between one set of the straps for turning the bag through when sewn.
16 Turn the bag right sides out through the gap then press so that you can’t see the lining fabric from the front of the bag. Clip/pin along the turning gap section to hold it in place for sewing.
17 Topstitch very close to the edge all the way around the top of the bag to finish.