Quilted Bag – Step by Step by Step

Like I said yesterday, before I went away I made myself a bag for my buys. I don’t know about where you are, but in Wales (not England) we have to pay for any shopping bags and my current ‘bag for life’ is very uninspiring. Making my own is something I have been meaning to do for some time so I’m happy that I can finally tick it off my list of things to do.

The inspiration for this first attempt came from a market day bag I saw in a recent issue of ‘Mollie Makes‘ magazine. As I can’t resist adapting patterns I decided to use this as an opportunity to practise my quilting. I discovered as I went along that a number of changes were required because of a lack of materials, lack of time and sadly lack of organisation!

First step – choosing the materials

I very much want to make a bag, quilt, cushion anything really out of this:

I cannot say enough how much I love this material, but I can’t get it here and I won’t be able to get my hands on it until June… I think. Not sure I can wait that long, I just hope I feel the same about it when I’m actually able to buy it.

Anyway as I didn’t have the happy go lucky I dug out some kind of similar colours from my own very limited stash.

choosing fabrics

I managed to narrow down my choices and settled on a selection of Oliver + S – City Weekend, Lucie Summers for Moda, Kona Solids, Amy Butler – Lark and a couple of others.

Next step – working out what I am actually going to do!

Somewhere in the back of my mind was the Scrappy Trip Around the World and as it seemed to be fairly simple, quick and something I hadn’t tried before I thought it would work well for the bag. So I found the tutorial and made a start on cutting my strips then arranging them in order, like so:

my strips

Once arranged I set about stitching them together. I found that taking a photo of the strips beforehand was unexpectedly useful as after starting out I completely forgot the order I’d settled on. This only occured to me halfway through sewing, but luckily by some fluke they were ok….phew! Time to cut them up and stick them back together.


Step 3 – Realising I should have thought ahead

Now, originally I had intended to create the scrappy trip diamond shape, but after making one quarter of this I realised that my diamond would create a monster of a shopping bag, and I really don’t need any encouragement to spend that much, so I stuck with the diagonals. It’s typical though that my square was not quite big enough! I deliberated between adding more squares or adding a border and the (much easier) border idea won so it ended up like this:

squares with border

One side done…one more to go.

Finished – Quilting time!

When doing any quilting before I have always used a cotton or fusible wadding, both of which are very compact and stable in texture, but as I had run out of these a trip to the local, rather limited, fabric shop was called for. Basically this meant my choice was either polyester, polyester or polyester so I went for….. yes you guessed it …polyester! To be honest I was quite happy to be forced persuaded to use a new (to me) type of batting as I was interested to see how it would look after quilting. This is how it turned out:

halfway quilted bumpy quilting

I was quite pleased with the results, which is good. I really like the way the squares are slightly raised in the centre and the stippling around the border accentuates that by flattening the surrounding fabric.

Because the wadding is much thicker than I’m used to it was a bit more difficult to quilt as it tended to move about more and bunch up in parts. Initially I had stitched around the edge of the square panel to secure it in place, although after it bunching up at the bottom of each row the next time I left one side unstitched allowing the wadding room to move more. This seemed to help.

Sigh of relief – construction time

After quilting both sides I only had to put it all together. I stitched the two squares leaving a hole in the side for the drawstring and then started on the lining, again leaving a hole for turning. This all went surprisingly smoothly. I did intend to have a border all the way round, but as you can see below it was lost at the base when I squared off the corners, but it’s no great loss just something to remember for next time.

constructed bag

Once constructed I stitched the handles and attached both them and the lining…..


There were some minor issues here mainly down to me getting a bit impatient and rushing to finish so basically the handles didn’t line up. Seam ripper in hand I did a little unpicking and shifted the handles slightly before sewing them once more. Second time lucky…. they seemed to be ok. Then I trimmed the batting back (I read somewhere that this helps, which it did) and pulled the exterior through the lining before stitching around the top of the bag to hold the lining in place.

The final stretch

Now all that was left to do was to stitch around the top of the bag in order to create a channel for the drawstring. In the magazine they use a rope like cord, but I didn’t have one of those and was not going to be able to find one. I knew I had some orange herringbone webbing somewhere, but just where that somewhere was I couldn’t say so in the end I managed to find some grosgrain ribbon and stuffed that through.

Ta dah………………………

One finished Market Day Bag, now what to buy?

PS If you’re still with me at this point congratulations are in order, well done for making it through this marathon post and thanks for sticking with me!


5 thoughts on “Quilted Bag – Step by Step by Step

  1. The bag is so cute! I like how you used the Scrappy TAL block. It is such an addictive block! I like how the squares look a little raised too. It has a really nice effect!

    Thank you for linking up to Let’s Get Acquainted this week!

  2. Pingback: Sunday Stash – Birthday Buys | Cloud CouCou Crafts

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