Friday, August 23, 2013

Scrappy Stripes Quilted Tote Bag

It's about time that I shared my quilted tote bag I made for the Pacific Northwest Modern Quilt Guild Meet-Up in Portland...otherwise known as PNW MQG PDX Meet-up.

Everyone who signed up for the swap was given some denim fabric that had been donated from Robert Kaufmann for the event.  (I think others got to choose their denim at a guild meeting, but since I'm in the middle of no where, they just mailed me half a yard or so.  We were asked to make a tote bag using the denim and any other fabrics we wanted to make a "modern" tote.

I wanted to do something quick and easy (why does that rarely end up being quick and easy?) so I thought I'd pull out my 2 1/2 inch scraps, chain them together in rainbow order, insert them into the fabric in random stripes, and sew up the bag.
Well, I didn't have as many fabrics in my 2 1/2 inch strips as I I decided to cut some more...and I kept finding fabrics in my stash that just HAD to go into the rainbow.  All told I ended up with 86 different fabrics although not all of the fabrics ended up in the bag itself (since some of them were in the scraps of the fabric that didn't end up in the bag.  I sewed them into one long chain in rainbow order.

Then I started making slices into my denim and sewing in the rainbow strip.
I'm typically not much of a pinner, but I found that if I didn't pin, then the stripes didn't end up lining up across from each other.

I just kept going, slicing and sewing until I had strips going every which way with different colors overlapping.

I basically ended up with a bigger piece of pieced fabric to make my bag out of.  (Isn't he handsome...and a good sport.  He watched the kids all day while I worked on my bag.)

I looked through the Tote Bag Pinterest page.  I was inspired by the large outside pocket on this one.

I used the overall shape and instructions from here, although I changed the shape a bit as well.  The directions were pretty good and as much as it would have been fun to include a zippered pouch or something, I just didn't feel up to it.

The bag ended up taking me about a day and a half longer to make than I thought it would.  (A good reminder of why I prefer sewing quilts to clothes I suppose.)
I started ot with some really detailed quilting and then had to go with some less dense quilting on the other side because it was simply going to take way too long.

But in the end, I love how it turned out.  It was actually pretty hard to part with...but I hoped it would go to someone who would love it.

This is the side with the big pocket.  You can't tell from the picture, but there's a line sewn to make two pockets on the front, one bigger and one smaller.

And this is the side without a pocket.
There is also a pocket inside that I forgot to take a picture of.  That pocket is toward the top, so a cell phone or keys could go in it without getting lost at the bottom of the bag.

We weren't asked to put anything inside, but I decided to include some items that represent me as a quilter, so here's what I tossed in...

A little bundle of I-Spy Fabrics, 1/4 yard cut of one of my favorite black and white fabrics from Sisters and Quilters, a necklace from Boutique Academia to show my geeky side, and a graph ruled composition book for jotting down quilting ideas and calculations.  (Turns out great minds think alike because we got a graph ruled composition book in our swag bags too.)

Then at the last minute, I decided to throw in a few other things too.  A package of Heat'n Bond because I use it a lot to applique, and piece of freezer paper for stenciling, and a little card with the Portland Temple because it inspired my very favorite quilt I've ever made.

Then I tucked it inside a brown paper sack, and stapled it shut.

A sweet lady named Catherine got it, and I was happy to have it go to someone so friendly and nice.

And here is the awesome bag that I got to bring home with me.  It was made by Kate of the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild.  I've been using it every day. :)

Please show my sponsors some love...
Spring House/Queen Anne fabric from You Keep Me in Stitches
Dr. Seuss Fat Quarter Bundle from Sisters and Quilters
Modern Black and Gold Hexies Baby Quilt from Pieces by Polly

I'll be linking to: A Mommy Adventures Keeping It Simple Tip Junkie handmade projects make it wear it   Photobucket Join us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party! abc buttonShibley Smiles Fresh Poppy DesignThe Girl CreativeOr so she saysSo I Married A Craft BloggerWIP Wednesday at Freshly Piecedseven thirty threeRae Gun RamblingsSomewhat Simple

A Mommy AdventuresShibley Smiles abc button
Pin It


  1. What a great bag. I didn't have a chance to see it on Friday night. I love the idea of making a patchwork fabric to then cut the pattern out of.

  2. Love your bag! Love the one you got too! Glad you had a good time?>)

  3. I love your bag and the process you used to make it. I would never have thought to sew all the 2.5" strips together in the rainbow before sewing it into the denim. It turned out amazing! The bag you got is so pretty, too. I have a thing for flying geese.

  4. I really like the tote you made, It is very creative. I did not have time to make a tote, too much going on at home and work before hand so I just enjoyed watching everyone come down the stairs with their new tote bag. I was inspired by all the neat ideas I saw. I like your idea and just wanted to say so.

    I am not sure if I met you at the meet up but it sure was fun, wasn't it??

    in Seattle

  5. What an adorable bag! You are so clever putting it together like that!!!!
    Oh my.....

    hugs x Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

  6. Amazing bag!!!great job!
    I'm your new follower!
    big hugs from Greece

  7. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday over at Sugar Bee Crafts - I featured you yesterday!

  8. That is so cute! I want one! I would LOVE for you to share this at "That's My Style" Link Party TODAY! I hope to see you there. :)

    Karla @


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you. I also love responding, so please make sure your Blogger account is set up for me to be able to see your email address or include your email address. I've had to stop accepting anonymous comments due to spam. If you don't have any other way to comment, you can always send an email.