Friday, 28 July 2017

Batik Diamond Mini-Quilt Bag

Several years ago I discovered an online fabric company, Connecting Threads. They were having a clearance sale on kits so I purchased a quilt kit and a tote bag kit.

I started the quilt and have most of the blocks done but it's waiting for me to finish it up. The other day I tackled the tote bag kit.

For some reason, I have trouble following multitudes of instructions. I need to get better at reading and re-reading them until I really understand them.I do much better with instructional videos. I started in and did all the cutting correctly. I then began to sew the 'mini-quilt' together. It consisted of dark blue squares on point alternating with colourful batik patterned squares on point.

The instructions said to use 1/2" seams throughout and it wasn't until I had sewed the whole mini-quilt together I noted that those seams were to be 1/4". Argh! So the other pieces (lining and pockets) had to be proportionately trimmed to fit. No big deal - it just slowed me down a bit.

I got to try a couple of new techniques (to me). One was creating a zipper pocket in the lining where you put the pocket and bag lining right side together, mark and sew a rectangle where the zipper will go, cut out the opening then push the lining fabric through it. THEN glue the zipper in place in the opening to topstitch all around it securing the zipper in place.
I'd watched a couple of videos on the subject but finally had a chance to try out the technique myself.
My other mistake was orienting the pocket incorrectly (the diagram in the instructions was misleading) but I was able to compensate by adding another piece of fabric to the pocket.

On the binding on the top of the exterior pockets, I wanted to use a wider stitch to secure it. I then remembered I have about 60 different stitches programmed into my little Bernina 220 machine so picked one that I thought would look very nifty.
The mini-quilt is centred on the outer fabric then the straps are sewn through both it and the main outer fabric, securing everything and creating pockets on each side of the bag, once the side seams are sewn up.
Then it was time to attach the interior pocket to the lining opposite the zipped pocket.
Once that was done, the corners were boxed on the exterior and lining. The outer bag and inner lining were sewn together right sides together around the top, making sure the handles were out of the way and leaving a big gap on the interior side seam for turning.  After turning, I stitched around the top and then hand-sewed closed the gap in the lining.
In spite of the fact my seam allowance error reduced the length and width of the mini-quilt by 2", it still turned out to be a decent size. 15" wide, 13.5" high, and 5" deep.
The kit came with 24 10" patterned batik squares. I only needed 16 4.5" squares so I only used 8 of the 10" squares. I have 16 - 10" squares and 8 - 5.5" x 10" pieces left over so could use them for other projects. I now am confident I could custom-make similar bags trying out other mini-quilt patterns for the exterior or other pattern combinations.

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