These quilted project bags have been on my ‘TO SEW’ list for sooooo long, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day, am I right?! With the release of the FRUIT SALAD book, we had a few test blocks left over, and they were just too cute to sit in a drawer. It was time!
In honor of PINEAPPLE week on our FRUIT SALAD SEW ALONG, we are going to focus on the pineapple version of this bag [and a larger scrappy patchwork one too just for fun] but REST ASSURED that we will be back with a whole array of FIGGY PROJECT BAGS in the days to come!
Once I started with those, I couldn’t stop and also created some bigger sizes with simple scrappy patchwork fronts. And I just may have started six more of them in a variety of sizes to hold all of my UFO projects… they are totally and completely addictive to make. I think you might want to join me!
Step 1: QUILT THE BAG FRONT
Make a quilt sandwich just like you would for a small quilt. Use whatever fabric you have put together for the BAG FRONT, a piece of your fusible fleece and a piece of your LINING. Since the fusible fleece will only fuse to one side, I fuse it to the front and then add the lining with either a few pins or a bit of quilt basting spray.
LARGE BAG QUILT SANDWICH NOTES: For these larger ones, I chose my standard/favorite “little project stitch” on my home machine. I am referring to my oversized zigzag which I have talked about many times as my “go to” stitch in these situations. Crosshatch quilting is also very popular, visually appealing, and easy to do on projects like these. Just mark your fabric with tape or a heat-erasable pen.
I suggest that your batting and lining fabrics are about 1″ larger than the top, as the quilting may shrink the finished size or distort it slightly along the sides, depending on the density of quilting, and you want to be able to trim it up easily.
SMALL BAG FRUIT BLOCK NOTES: I started with the fruit blocks themselves, and added borders until I was comfortable with the size. (This is the best part – these bags can be any size you want them to be!). I had several BAG FRONT pieces quilted on a longarm with a small, circle pantograph, which is an alternate idea if you aren’t comfortable quilting yourself or want a little more decorative appeal.
TRIM IT UP: Once you have quilted your front, trim up all four sides. Note this size because you will be making your back to match. For the larger bags, I started with 18″ square and by the time I was done with quilting, it had shrunk ½- ¾” of an inch. So I chose a size and squared it up to that. My bags at that point were 16 ½” square.
Step 2: QUILT THE BAG BACK
Repeat the quilt sandwich process for the back of your project bag. This can be a single piece of quilted fabric or a patchwork just like the front. It could also be an un-quilted piece of fabric [in which case I would double up and do a double fold of fabric for some sturdiness. Having said that, I really love the solid feeling of the bags that are quilted on both sides.
Step 3: ADDING THE ZIPPER You will now need a zipper that is larger than the front – or opening- of the bag.
CUT THE BAG FRONT: Since for these project bags we are adding the zipper to the front/flat portion of your bag and not the top like on a traditional pouch or bag, you need to cut your front panel into two pieces in order to be able to do that. For the large bags, I cut a piece 1 ½” wide on the top. For the small bags, it was closer to 1″. You will now have a BAG FRONT top piece and a BAG FRONT bottom piece.
LARGE BAGS: For a little extra pizazz and to avoid bulkiness on these larger bags, I decided to create a finished/bound edge on the part of the bag that was going to line up along the zipper on each side. So that means that I bound the BOTTOM of the little top piece and the TOP of the main bag piece. This way those edges are finished and all you need to do is:
SMALL BAGS: These smaller bags do not have any extra binding on the edges and the zipper needs to be added in the “normal” way in order to get a finished edge. For these, we picked a coordinating green zipper for that little bit of flair!
Step 4: FINISHING THE BAG
At this point, you will want to ensure you stitch along the zipper ends – left and right sides to secure them well – before trimming the zipper overage even with the FRONT top/bottom pieces. DON’T FORGET TO MOVE YOUR ZIPPER INTO THE CENTER BEFORE STITCHING & CUTTING! You’ll be a little disheartened if you lose your zipper at this stage of the game! :).
Now, line up your completed BAG FRONT, with zipper and top piece attached to your quilted BAG BACK. It is likely that your BAG FRONT is now a tiny bit bigger than your BAG BACK. Trim it up to be the same.
Since we are doing our binding on the outside, no bag turning will be needed! I fell *just a little* in love with all the stripes in FRUIT COCKTAIL, so instead of placing the panels right sides together, stitching, and flipping out to create a project bag (hiding the seam allowances in the lining), I decided to – again – make it like I would a quilt, with BINDING!
Place BAG BACK facing down so that the quilted BAG BACK is facing your working surface, then place the BAG FRONT on top, right side up. Using binding clips, clip around the outside. If you are worried about shifting, use a basting stitch around all four sides too just as an extra little security.
If you are going to add any little embellishments to the sides, this is the time. For the small bags, I added a small piece of GREEN RIBBON to create a loop for holding or for hanging when I’m not using them. Just make a loop and tuck into the side seam of the bag before stitching them together.!
Prepare your binding as you prefer. I use 2 1/4″ strips, personally. Machine bind your binding to the front of the bag as you would a quilt. Finish the back by hand or by machine [I did mine by machine and a little help from my favorite glue] and VOILA!
Your project bag is ready for use! And now its time to make the six remaining ones that I have started!!
We will for sure be making more of these in different variations so stay tuned and I will come back and show you some more.
But for now… go grab your scraps or those FRUIT BLOCKS you have been making as a part of the SEW ALONG and try your hand at making some of these. They are OH SO SATISFYING to make and OH SEW ADDICTING, too!
Coincidently, our fruit ZIPPER PULLS also just arrived in the shop recently and have joined our growing collection of ZIPPER PULL choices! How PERFECT would they be here?!
EDIT: WE ARE WORKING ON SOME LIMITED EDITION KITS FOR YOU! They will have a bunch of my favorite goodies including the linen, some zippers , zipper pulls, fleece, etc to make these and will be available next week!!