The Day I Made a Bag

Working here at Quiltmaker is really fun because we get to see and try so many new things. I’ve learned new techniques, tried new patterns, and had to go WAY out of my comfort zone to try, test and write about various quilty patterns and topics.

One thing that I have never been able to master is making bags. Do you make bags? A while ago I made my peace with the fact that I just don’t make bags. Some people can make them in their sleep – tweaking, twisting, turning, embellishing, etc, but I can’t. Believe me, I’ve tried.

But not too long ago I found myself alone for a.whole.Saturday. And I decided that I was going to conquer my fear and make a bag. Even it it took me all day, I was going to do it and I was going to enjoy it. You betcha.

My pattern was by Anna Maria“Multi Tasker Tote”. I had a pile of 10″ squares from my most favorite line of fabric of all time ”Make Life” by Sweetwater, so I thought instead of using just one fabric, I would sew a bunch of 10″ squares together and use those. How hard could it be? Ha.

 The Day I Made a Bag

I got my squares sewn together and cut out the outside panels. So far so good.

 The Day I Made a Bag

I had some leftovers, so I used them to cut out the pockets too. Making good progress here.

 The Day I Made a Bag

Guess what. It wasn’t a leftover. How could I do that? Seriously? Who DOES this?

 The Day I Made a Bag

I sewed some more squares together and made the second panel. Then I followed the instructions and “put them aside”. I put them far, far aside.

 The Day I Made a Bag

14 hours later I had all of the pieces cut out. You know, I really like cutting out my quilt pieces in layers. I can cut 6, 8, or 10 layers without any problem at all, but when you make bags, you can’t do that. Just an observation.

 The Day I Made a Bag

It took me a while to sew it together because I had to read every step about 72 times before I was brave enough to sew. Right about here I was thinking that perhaps I should have taken a class first.

 The Day I Made a Bag

Right about here I almost gave up.

 The Day I Made a Bag

After sewing and twisting and sewing and turning inside out and right side in and out, POOF! Look what happened! It’s a miracle! How do people design these things???

 The Day I Made a Bag

Right about here I was thinking that perhaps I should have picked a different fabric for my handles so that I don’t look like I have a snake hanging over my shoulder. But there was NO WAY was I going to cut, sew and turn those handles again. Snake, it is.

 The Day I Made a Bag

22 hours later (it seemed) I finished my bag. And I LOVE it!

 The Day I Made a Bag

Here’s a couple of pockets for my cell phone and ipod. Did I tell you that I love, love, love this fabric?

 The Day I Made a Bag

Here’s the pocket that I cut out of “leftovers”. It’s pretty cute though, isn’t it?

 The Day I Made a Bag

And here’s the other side. I love the big pockets on the outside too. Lots of room for my junk.

 The Day I Made a Bag

That was my day. My WHOLE day. I actually enjoyed myself a lot.  So this weekend, I will be home alone again. Will I make another bag? Guess we’ll have to see. icon smile The Day I Made a Bag

What are you working on this weekend?

Happy sewing, Paula


About Paula

I'm an Associate Editor at Quiltmaker in Golden, CO. I've been quilting for 18 years, including teaching, long arm quilting, designing, and stash building. I also love to read, run, stitch, play with my boston terrier and spend time with my family.
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9 Responses to The Day I Made a Bag

  1. Susan E. Price says:

    After 10 1/2 hours of babysitting my 3 grand kids to com home to the beautiful quilt in the email was my joy! The book seems fabulous and I really would love to win it!

  2. Barb J says:

    You asked “who DOES that?”. The answer is that EVERYONE does it at one time or another! I know I’ve had my share of “oopsies”!

  3. SuzK says:

    Hi Paula. So nice to hear from you (I really miss your blog!) This hit the spot with me. I too am bag-a-phobic! I made very simple totes (a Bunny Hill design) for my family for Christmas one year. I don’t think they realized how much work those were for me! I have found a couple of step-by-step tutorials that produce bags I like and my plan is to try to follow those and hopefully produce the same end-product. Not feeling totally confident though. I know I’d do the same “leftover” thing. I’ve done that with quilts so I now always put finished sections of anything far away from the “action” until I’m ready to use them. I love your bag, it’s adorable and the fabric is great! take care, Suz

  4. Claudia says:

    I’m reading this on Monday, with a smile on my face. Sorry, I guess you have never made clothing. Reading instructions (written and visual) is just part of the process. You have a very fun bag, and you can be proud of your efforts. I made one (different pattern) a couple of months ago, and I’ve received compliments. But I wouldn’t recommend the pattern to anyone that didn’t enjoy ‘suffering’ for their art.

    My weekend was a little different for me. It was our local area shop hop of 12 shops. I usually never participate because my credit card just can’t handle it. But, I was feeling a little self-indulgent, so I only did half a “hop”. I was looking for pastel batiks, some white for a QOV project, and whatever other mischief appealed to me. I came home with a couple of patterns, a nice pile of batiks, some whites, a couple of black and whites, freebies and a lime green tote bag (bulging).

    Saturday, I went back to my first shop and left her her “laundry basket” triangles completed, bought some fabric for pj bottoms, stopped at one other shop and came home.

    Adding my new batiks to my batik stash, I pulled out 100+ pieces, cut 4.5″ squares and 2.5″ strips, cut to the pattern specifications, and have 100+ squares, with two of four logs attached for an oversize queen size quilt!

    Whew! if I could get that much done every weekend!

  5. You did nice work on the bag. I love it that you let us see your teeny mistake with the bag panel vs. inside pocket.

  6. Kathi Miller says:

    I’m with you – bags just aren’t my thing! After reading through your post though, perhaps it’s time to try again.

    We’re having a heatwave this weekend – 102 degrees today which as you know is very unusual for this part of the country (Vancouver WA). Tomorrow should be a few degrees cooler. I’m not going anywhere until temps are down to the 80s! I am taking a class for an appliqued quilt that has nearly 200 holly berries so am spending the weekend cutting little circles. If I get them all cut, I’ll start making the berries using Perfect Circles templates. Kind of mindless work that is good to do while watching the Olympics.

  7. Carole S. says:

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only bag-phobe out there. Love that pattern, and the way you modified it with the 10″ squares. It turned out great!

  8. VickiT says:

    Will you hate me if I admit I just laughed hysterically? Honest though, I felt bad but, it looked SO much like something I would have done.
    Your purse turned out just gorgeous though. It’s awesome looking.

  9. Julie C. says:

    Your bag is beautiful and your commentary made me laugh! I have the same pattern and I have not tried it out yet. I guess if you can do it, so can I!

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