Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Bag Tutorial - Part 1

There must be a thousand tutorials for making bags on the internet. Here's one more...

I'd rate this project as easy/beginner and some basic sewing and quilting skills are recommended. Click on each image to see a larger version. All seams are 1/4 inch unless otherwise stated.

I'm making this bag from two pieces of fabric 20 inches wide by 22 inches long. I kept the walking foot on to do all the sewing as it helps when making the handles and to stop the bag panels from slipping out of alignment.

This is a Debbie Mumm print that I bought at the post-Christmas sales years ago. It saves piecing but you could make up each side from strips of different width fabric.

Pin each panel to a piece of batting (I used a wool/polyester) about two inches wider all round.

Quilt your panel as desired. I used clear monofilament thread and stitched along a selection of the printed lines on the fabric. If you were using a pieced panel you could stitch in the ditch.

Start each row of quilting with the smallest stitch on your machine. Make four or five stitches then increase the stitch length (I used 3.5 on a Janome QC6260). Just before you reach the end reduce the stitch length to the smallest stitch and finish stitching.

Remember to turn the work and stitch each row in alternating direction left to right; right to left to stop the panel bunching up.

When you have finished the quilting, remove all the pins and trim the batting back to the same size as the fabric.

Place the bag panels right sides together matching the pattern or seams. Pin to hold in place. Using a smaller stitch (I used 2.2 on the Janome QC6260) and a half inch seam allowance, stitch around the three sides of the bag leaving the top edges open.

Now for the tricky part...boxing the corners.

Finger press the seams open either side of the corners for about three inches. Fold the corner into a triangle aligning the side and bottom seams. This is easier to do if you place your hand inside the bag.

Measure in two inches from the corner and pin across the triangle. Mark a chalk line half an inch beyond the pins. This is the stitching line.

Repeat for the other corner.

At this point many patterns tell you cut off the corners. I don't like to do this because I think it weakens the seams. It's up to you but I leave them in place.

Turn the bag right side out.

Next time, making and attaching the handles and button loop.

Happy Stitching,



  1. Great bay Ann...and a good explanation for the corners, I'm going to have to come back and do this one...I'm a real bag girl!!! Look forward to seeing the next bit...Happy sewing, Dzintra

  2. Looks great, Ann.

    You have 2 tutorials, compared to my.... none! LOL.


  3. Great tute Ann, and the fabric is so cute! I've decided I'm doing aprons for everyone this year, although I have to find a pattern for a childs size. *sigh* There's always some type of complication! :o)

  4. This is great Ann
    It is a wonderful tutorial. I too love bags. What a great Idea. Can't wait for part 2

  5. Loved the Tut can't wait for the next one. great fabric colours very christmas..:)Andrea

  6. Good Afternoon Ann, I've just tagged you...come on over and play, but only if you have time to do it ...

  7. I found you through Dzintra's blog. I will have to make that Christmas is lovely! What a great blog!
    I am from Ireland, and I would love to visit your country one day.


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