This clever Quilt Bag tutorial from Annie Smith is a great way to use up left over patchwork while making a handy cover for your quilt.
Whenever I make a quilt, I invariably have pieces and parts leftover.
What do you do with those leftover bits? I like to assimilate them into another quilt or quiltthemed item. Here is my Quilt Bag, perfect for gift giving or to be used as a decorative matching pillowcase. You can make it in either a standard pillowcase size for smaller quilts, or king size for larger quilts and pillows. It’s the perfect wrapping for a gifted quilt!
Always clean your BERNINA, under the throat plate and in the bobbin area before beginning a new project. Oil, if needed. Change the needle in your machine if you don’t remember when you changed it last.
Materials to make a Quilt Bag:
- One block leftover from a quilt
- 40 leftover 2 1/2″ halfsquare triangles
- 1 yard of main fabric (Bag body and background fabric)
- 1/8 yard (or equivalent) contrasting fabric to sash block and to make two strips of drawstring channel
- 2 1/2 yards of 3/8″ ribbon to match or accent fabric color
- Thread neutral for main sewing, thread to match sashing around block and channel for drawstrings
- ½ yard of Shape Flex (SF101 woven fusible interfacing) You will need this to line your quilt block if it has a light-colored background fabric
- 24″ long acrylic Ruler
- 18″ x 24″ cutting Mat
- Rotary cutter
- Cloth measuring tape
- Ball head pins
- Large safety pin or Bodkin (to thread ribbon through a channel)
- Patchwork foot #57/#57D with guide—for a perfect quarter inch seam
- Zipper foot #4/#4D
- Iron and pressing surface
Read all instructions before beginning project.
RST = Right sides Together
RSO = Right side Out
RSI = Right side In
Sew 1⁄4″ seams for Quilt Bag construction
Instructions to make the Quilt Bag:
From the main fabric, cut the following pieces:
Bag bottom—One 5″ by the width of your fabric (approximately 40-44″ wide, all fabrics vary)
Bag top—One 6 1⁄2″ by the width of your fabric
Main Bag body—One 21 1⁄2″ by the width of your fabric (for a kingsize pillowcase sized bag. Perfect for a larger size quilt)
OR 17″ by the width of your fabric (for a standardsize pillowcase sized bag)
Sew 20 of the halfsquare triangles together to make a Sawtooth strip that measures 2 1⁄2″ x 40 1⁄2″. Make two of those strips.
Fold the Main Bag Body in half with wrong sides together, meeting the selvage edges and press a crease.
Prepare the leftover Quilt block by measuring the block.
The one I used for this project is 8 1/2″. Yours may be larger.
Cut two 2″ x the size of your block sashing strips.
Sew them to each side of the block. Press seam allowances towards sashing.
TIP: I prefer to use the Patchwork foot #57 with guide. I find that the guide creates a consistent quarter-inch seam with every seam I sew. Even though each sewing machine is calibrated for optimum accuracy, the needle placement can be one threads’ width to the right or the left of center when your presser foot is in place. This can make your finished block size measure differently than you expect. Therefore, always use the sewing machine you began your project on—or your seam allowances can vary. I learned this sad lesson many years ago.
Measure your block again from side to side. (Mine measured 11 1/2″ now).
Cut two 2″ x [your new measurement] sashing strips and sew them to the sides of your block. Press seam allowances toward sashing. Preview your sashed block on the background fabric of your Main Bag Body. If you can see the background fabric through the block (and it bothers you), you can apply Shape Flex to the block prior to stitching it to the Main Bag Body.
If you will add Shape Flex, cut the piece of Shape Flex ½” smaller than your block. Press Shape Flex to the back side (wrong side) of your block.
Finish the sashed block by pressing the raw edges of the sashing under 1⁄4″.
Center the sashed Quilt block, either onsquare or onpoint in the center of the Bag body and pin in place. Topstitch the sashed block using the Zipper foot #4/#4D with matching thread.
Using the cloth tape measure, measure 20 1⁄4″ from the folded edge of the Main Bag Body.
Trim away extra fabric.
Repeat above instructions with the Bag Top and Bottom pieces to cut to the same size as the Main Bag Body. For Bag Top, cut two 1 1/2″ x 16″ strips of contrasting fabric. You’ll make the drawstring channels first by folding and pressing each of the strips under 1⁄4″ to make a 1″ wide strip. Fold each end under ¼” twice and pin.
Fold the Bag Top in half lengthwise, and then fold it in half again widthwise taking care the meet the raw edges exactly, and press a crease.
Equally measure the channels in place by laying the channels on the creases of the bag top.
Topstitch channel ends of each channel.
Pin channels in place and then topstitch channels, leaving the ends un-sewn.
Use the Zipper foot #4/4D for topstitching. It holds the folds flat, and you can stitch in the same direction by switching the needle position to the right and to the left.
To complete the Bag Top, fold the fabric in half so it creates a complete circle, meeting RST, pin and sew. Fold one edge under 1⁄4″ and press. Then fold again under 1⁄4″ one more time and press. Topstitch the edge of the Bag Top to finish the edge.
Next, sew each of the sawtooth strips together to create a circle, sew and press. Sew the Bag Body and Bag Bottom the same way.
Now, we’re going to construct the Bag from the bottom to the top. From the beginning of the construction, you will work with the SEWN section RSO, and the pieces that you will pin and sew will be pinned RST.
For Bag Bottom, sew one of the ends shut and press. Now, we will make a “BOX bottom” pleat so the bag end will be full enough to accept a folded quilt. Lay the Bag Bottom flat on the table, RSI. Fold the top down as shown in the photo below to create a point.
Press to create a crease. Repeat at other end.
Measure 2″ down from the point of the seams and draw a pencil line, which will be your sewing line. Repeat at the other end.
Pin across drawn line and sew directly on line.
Press both corners and bottom seam. Do not trim off the point. Fold it into the bottom of the bag and press seams. The box bottom will look just like this:
Next, pin a sawtooth strip to the Bag Bottom and sew.
Press the seam towards the Bag Bottom. Next, pin the Bag Body RST to the sawtooth strip and sew. Press seam towards Bag Body.
Then, with RST, pin the Sawtooth edge to the remaining edge of the Bag Body and sew together. Press the seam towards Bag Body. Meet and pin the Bag Top and sew. Press the seam towards the Bag Top.
Finally, cut the ribbon into two even pieces. Using a large Safety pin, pin one end of the ribbon.
Thread the ribbon through both channels, one channel at a time, so the ends come out on the right side.
Thread the other length of ribbon through both channels so the ends come out on the left side.
Knot the ends together on each side.
Now you can draw the bag shut by pulling the knotted ends of the ribbon, simultaneously. Look—how pretty!
Variations for the bag:
For a matching pillowcase, you can omit the drawstring channels—but I use the bag with the drawstring as a pillowcase, too. Options on embellishment may be adding a ruffled edge or decorative trim.
Add a label to backside of the bag for identification purposes when using the bag for a quilt being submitted to a quilt show. The similar fabric and the leftover block from your quilt will make it easier for show coordinators to match your quilt with its bag.
Special Thanks to Nuttall’s Fabric Store, a BERNINA dealer in Layton, Utah, for allowing me to invade their store for several days in September. I sincerely appreciate their hospitality while I endeavored to finish this project!