Totes are always handy to use or give, and this quilted tote bag one makes a great showcase for quilting on THE Dream Fabric Frame. The fabric requirements are generous. Use the extra fabric for practice quilting or experimenting. Then, turn the scraps into an accessory pouch or keychain ornament.
Finished size: 13 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
- Sewing Machine: DreamCreator™ VQ2400
- THE Dream Fabric Frame
- 1 yard each of a print and coordinating solid for tote body and lining
- 1/4 yard of a coordinating color for binding
- 1 craft-size (36″ x 45″) batting
- Threads for sewing and quilting
- Quilting design or stencil (about 8″ square)
Yardages are based on quilter’s cotton with 42″ of usable width. If you prefer to purchase exact yardage, you’ll need 1 yard for the exterior and 5/8 yard of the lining fabric.
From the exterior fabric, cut:
- 2 strips, 4″ x WOF (width of fabric)
- 1 strip, 2″ x WOF
From the binding fabric, cut:
- 1 strip, 2″ x WOF
- 2 strips, 2 1/2″ x WOF
Be sure you have a straight crosswise edge on each fabric before beginning. Some printed fabrics are off-grain. You may find it more pleasing to “straighten” the fabric by following the pattern rather than the grain.
- Pin the lining fabric (wrong side up) to the header cloth. The selvages should lie at the right and left sides. Clip the header onto the frame and smooth the rest of the lining fabric over the frame.
- Lay the batting on the lining fabric with its upper edge about 1″ below the header. Smooth the outer fabric (right side up) onto the layered fabric and batting just below the top edge of the batting. Clip the lower edge of the quilt sandwich into the frame and tighten.
- Sew all three layers together close to the upper edge. Adjust the fabric’s position in the frame if necessary.
- Quilt a 5″-wide strip across the fabric, from selvage to selvage. (This will be the boxing strip.) Reposition the fabric by rolling the quilted portion on top of the header bar.
- Quilt an area at least 15″ x 30″ along the left edge of the fabric sandwich (in addition to the area from step 4), repositioning as necessary. Leave at least 10″ along the right edge un-quilted.
- Reposition the fabric sandwich in the frame so that the solid color lining fabric is on top. Center your quilting design in the un-quilted area and trace it onto the fabric. (Having the fabric in the frame makes it easy.) Quilt the design and, if desired, stipple or echo quilt around the motif to fill an area at least 10″ square.
Seam allowance is 1/4″ unless otherwise noted.
- Remove the selvages from each 2″, 2 1/2″, and 4″ strip. Fold each 4″ strip in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and press. Open the fold and press each long edge in to meet at the center crease. Refold along the original crease and press once more. Edgestitch each long edge to make the straps.
- Fold each remaining strip in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and press. Temporarily open the fold and press 1/4″ to the wrong side on one short end of each 2 1/2″-wide binding strip, and then refold and press once more.
- From the area quilted in step 4, cut a 4″ x 40 1/2″ strip.
- From the area quilted in step 5, cut two 14″ squares. Cut a 9″ square from the area quilted in step 6, keeping the quilting design centered.
- Use the prepared exterior-fabric strip to bind the top and bottom edges of the 9″ square. (Remember that the lining fabric is the right side for this pocket piece.) Bind the top edge of each 14″ square and both short ends of the 4″-wide boxing rectangle with the 2″-wide binding strip.
- Center the pocket on one 14″ square and pin in place. Edgestitch along both edges of the bottom binding to attach the pocket to the bag front.
- Position a strap on the bag front with its raw edges matching the bottom raw edge of the 14″ square. The strap should overlap the pocket’s side edge by 1/4″. Stitch the strap in place, stitching on top of the previous edgestitching from the bottom edge to a point 1 1/4″ below the top of the 14″ square. Pivot, sew across the strap, and stitch down the other strap edge. Repeat to stitch the other end of the strap along the other edge of the pocket. (The straps will also hold the pocket sides in place.) Be sure the strap is not twisted before you sew.
- Using the bag front as a guide, sew the second strap to the bag back, disregarding references to the pocket.
- Find the center bottom of each bag piece and mark with a pin. Fold the boxing strip in half to find its center and mark both long edges. Working with wrong (lining) sides together (the seam allowances will wind up on the outside of the bag), pin the boxing strip to one bag piece, matching the centers. Clip the boxing strip at the corners to release the seam allowance, but be careful to keep the clips less than 1/4″ long so that they don’t extend through the seamline. Sew the boxing strip to the bag body.
- Again, working with wrong sides together and matching the centers, sew the free edge of the boxing strip to the second bag piece.
- Use the 2 1/2″ strips to bind the tote’s seams. Begin by positioning the pressed short end of one strip at the top of the bag on one side. Sew the binding to the bag, mitering the corners. As you reach the end of the seam, cut the binding 1/2″ beyond the top of the bag, press the extra to the wrong side, and complete the binding. Bind the other side of the tote in the same way. For the neatest finish, slipstitch the top of each binding closed, tucking the ends inside.
Enjoy your new quilted tote bag!