Friday, 8 May 2015

Trying out some new techniques

I've made quite a few bags over the years, but they have all been pretty basic. I can either do a tote bag or one with a box gusset like the one above. Regular readers will know that I have serious problems following patterns and therefore am doomed to 'make things up as I go along' often to mixed results! But it is actually easier for me that way than trying to do as I am told!

A few months ago I made this workshop bag to take to QuiltCon and tried out an inserted zipper pocket to stretch myself. I used this tutorial.

When I showed my regular students the workshop bag they all wanted me to teach a class, so I listed it in this term's prospectus and the class sold out in a few days! So now I have to make at least one more workshop bag to remember how I did it. And more specifically try out that insert zipper pocket a few more times!

So that brings me to this bag which I made earlier this week for a friend's special birthday. The blocks were made as samples for a new course of my Modern Sampler Quilt class. They are what I call Japanese x and + and there is a great tutorial for them here.

I also used up some Karen Lewis Textiles fabric I had left over from a recent Love Patchwork and Quilting commission (you will get to see this in July!). Each side of the bag uses different fabrics but hopefully with a cohesive overall vibe.

The background fabric is the gorgeous Manchester Linen from Robert Kaufman. I love the look of this fabric but boy does it fray!

I decided to try matchstick quilting for the first time here too. I love the look of it but you can see just by looking that it is quite a commitment, so trying it out on a bag seemed sensible. I used an Aurfil 50 in a variegated yellow. It didn't take too long but used up so much thread!

I left some spaces between the quilt lines so that I could add some hand quilting with perle cotton 8's afterwards. I had been inspired by a quilt I saw in Austin with the same quilting, I am very sorry but I can't remember which quilt now!
I really love the texture this achieved.

As this is for a special friend I embroidered a felt label for the inside.
I also used a magnetic snap for the first time, pretty self explanatory really, though I did check out this tute first and found it very useful.

So lots of new techniques explored this week! Who says you can't teach a new dog... etc.

I'm pleased with how this turned out and am already feeling more confident about the zip pocket. Nevertheless expect a few more bags popping up here during May!


  1. what a great tote bag, I especially love that wonderful quilting. I'm sure your students will love making their bags.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous, especially as it has lots of my favourite aqua shades. I love the bright lining too. I can see why the class sold out so quickly as it has so many fun features like the patchwork handles.

  3. Well done, I'm with you on instructions - only as a last resort, and preferably with another person to read them out to me!!!

  4. It looks fabulous! Love the fabrics and the quilting too, boy lots of thread! It gives a great effect though and I love the added bits of perle. What a great idea about embroidering your label, that's a really lovely special touch.

  5. Love the block and the quilting - works really well together!

  6. I love the bag, in particular the matchstick quilting combined with hand stitches!