Thursday, November 3, 2011

1 Hour Fat Quarter Tote - A Tutorial

The 1 Hour Fat Quarter Tote in Pink Dazzle by Adorn It
This is a tutorial for an oh-so-quick tote bag which is made entirely from fat quarters and can be made - from start to finish - in approximately 1 hour. It has convenient pockets on the outside and holds a ton of stuff.  I'm planning on making several for Christmas gifts this year.  How about you?

(OK, in the interest of full disclosure - I just made another one and it was an hour and a half from cutting to the last stitch, including time to wind the bobbin, so sewing time was - well - not much more than one hour.) 

Supplies: 
5 fat quarters
batting equal to 2-1/2 fat quarters (scraps work great!)
cutting mat and rotary cutter
general sewing supplies such as sewing machine, thread, iron, etc.


 Before you start:


This tutorial assumes that quarters are generally 18 x 22 inches, give or take.   If yours are a different size, you may have to adjust the size of your bag slightly.  This will mostly involve adjusting the lining pieces to make sure the lining fits the outside of your bag.  This pattern is very forgiving, and will accommodate a lot of variation, as long as you keep your tape measure handy when you are ready to insert the lining.

You may wish to square up your fat quarters before you begin.

You may find it helpful to press your FQs before you start.

Be sure to cut off all selvages.

All seam allowances are 1/2" unless otherwise mentioned.

The amount of quilting you do will partially determine how much time this project takes.  I do not quilt these bags heavily; I just do enough quilting to enhance the design and hold the layers together.

Wind several bobbins before you start so you don't have to stop to wind the bobbin.

RST = Right Sides Together

Cutting:
FQ #1 (sides)


Lay your FQ on your cutting mat horizontally.  Cut in half.  You should now have two pieces approximately 11" x 18".

Cut each piece in half again, making 4 pieces approximately 5-1/2" by 18".

Set aside.

FQ #2 (center)


Lay your fabric on your cutting mat horizontally.  Cut two pieces 9" wide.  You should also have a 2" piece left over (not shown).

Set aside. 

FQ #3 (pockets and handles)


Lay your fabric on your cutting mat horizontally.  Cut a piece 9" wide.  Cut this piece in half vertically.  You should now have 2 pieces 9 x 9 inches.

From the other piece, which should be approximately 13" by 18", cut two pieces 3-1/2" wide by 18" long.  You will have a piece approximately 4" wide x 18" long left over. 

Set aside.

FQs #4 and 5 (lining and handles)

From each FQ -

Lay your FQ horizontally on the cutting mat.  Cut one 3-1/2" by 18" piece. 

Set the rest aside until you are ready to insert the lining.

Batting
Cut a piece of batting to fit each of the 4 pieces of FQ#1, the 2 pieces of FQ#2, and two of the handle pieces from FQ#3.


The Outside of the Tote:

Step 1:  Quilting



Match your 4 pieces of FQ#1, the 2 pieces of FQ#2 and 2 of the 3-1/2" by 18" pieces with their batting counterparts and quilt as desired.  I do not do much quilting here - just enough to hold the fabric to the batting and give it some strength. 

Step 2:  Pockets



Take one of the 9" by 9" pieces of FQ#3 and fold one edge over 1/2".  Press.  Fold it over again and press.  

 
Stitch close to the edge.


Fold the opposite edge over 1/2 inch and press. (Hint:  Do all the pressing all at once to save time moving back and forth to the ironing board.)



Lay the pocket piece on top of one of the quilted 9" by 18" pieces of FQ#2.  Place the single fold edge 2-1/2 inches from the edge of the quilted piece and pin in place.  



Stitch close to the edge.  Stitch again exactly on top of the previous stitching for strength.  You may wish to stitch up the sides close to the edge to hold your pocket in place.  (Hint:  Use your machine's thread cutter rather than reaching for the scissors to cut your threads - it's lots faster.)


On the other 9" by 9" piece of FQ#3, fold one edge over 1/2" and press.  Fold it over again and stitch close to the edge.


Fold the opposite edge over 1/2" and press.

With a water soluble or chalk marker, draw a line down the middle of this piece from the stitched edge to the folded edge.

As you did with your other pocket, place the pocket piece on the 9" by 18" quilted piece of FQ#2 and pin in place 2-1/2" above the edge of the quilted piece.  Stitch close to the single fold edge.  Stitch again exactly on top of the previous stitching for strength.  You may wish to stitch the sides close to the edge to hold it in place.



Now, stitch down the line you drew in the center of the pocket.  Stitch again exactly on top of the first stitching for strength.

Step 3:  Outer panels

Place a quilted 5-1/2" by 18" FQ #1 piece RST along both sides of the center pocket panel you just created in Step 2 and sew.  Repeat for the other center pocket panel.  You should now have 2 pieces that look like this:


Your outer panels are finished!


Now, place the two outer panels RST and sew the side seams. 

Stitch the bottom edge together.  Stitch again exactly on top of the previous stitching for strength.  (HINT:  when stitching twice, don't lift the needle - turn the fabric around and just sew in the opposite direction.)





 Snip the corners to reduce bulk and fold the seams in opposite directions.


Match the bottom seam to the side seam, forming a point, as shown.  I roll the seams between my fingers until they match exactly.  Pin along the seam line to hold it in place.


Measure up 1-3/4" from the point and draw a straight line across the corner.  (I forgot to take a picture of this process on the outside panel, but the process is the same for the lining, so this photo will have to do.)  Stitch along this line.  Repeat for the other corner.


Your bag should now have a bottom and corners that look like this.


Step 4:  Handles


Take one of the 3-1/2" x 18" quilted pieces and match it with one of the 3-1/2" x 18" unquilted pieces.  Sew lengthwise down both sides.

Turn right side out.  This piece was wide enough that I didn't need a safety pin or tool to turn it.

Press flat.  Repeat for other handle.


Top stitch both sides of each handle 1/4" from the edge to prevent the handle fabrics from twisting in use.



With the quilted side down, center the handle over the center panel seam on the outside of your bag.  (I do this by folding the handle piece in half and placing the fold over the seam line - thus, no need to measure!)  Pin in place.  Pin the other side of that handle piece to the other center panel seam on the same side of your bag. 

Stitch handle to bag with a 1/4" seam.  Stitch again for security.  Repeat for all four handle ends.

Step 5:  Lining

Measure the outer bag from side seam to side seam.  Add 1 inch.  If necessary cut each of your lining pieces to that width.  Set any left over scraps aside.

Sew the sides and bottom of the lining as you did for the outside of your tote using 1/2" seams. 

Snip the corners and fold the seams opposite directions.  Match the side seam to the bottom seam and pin together.

Measure up from the point 1-3/4" and draw a line across the point.  Stitch on the line.  Your bag lining should now have a corner that exactly matches the outside of your bag. 

If you wish to press your seams, now is the time.

Step 6:  Finishing



With the bag lining wrong side out and the bag right side out, place the bag inside the lining matching the side seams.  Pin the bag and the lining together at the side seams.

Pin around the raw edge from the inner corner of one handle all the way around to the inner corner of the same handle on the opposite side of the bag. 

Using a 1/2" seam, stitch the bag to the lining from the inner corner of one handle all the way around to the inner corner of the same handle on the opposite side of the bag.  Leave the area between the  two edges of the handle open for turning.

Reach inside the bag through the open area and pull the bag right side out.  Stuff the lining down inside the bag.  Press.  Turn the raw edge under and pin the open area closed.

Beginning at one side seam, top stitch all the way around the bag close to the edge.

Beginning at the same side seam, top stitch all the way around the bag again 1/4" from the first stitching.  (Hint:  Don't pull the fabric out from under the needle or cut your threads, just move the fabric over 1/4" and do the second stitching, then cut your threads all at once.)



Congratulations!  Your bag is finished.  I guarantee you it took me a lot longer to write this tutorial than it did to make the bag.  I have tried to document the process accurately, but if you notice any errors, or if something isn't clear or doesn't make sense, please let me know.
 
Thanks for following along with me.  I hope you enjoy it.  If you make one, please let me know.  I'd love to see photos.



3 comments:

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  2. Your bag is adorable! I'm so excited to see it was made from the cute Pink Dazzled fabric line from ADORNit. The gray fabric with the large circles is my favorite. Debbie Raymond, ADORNit editor!

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  3. You need to quit your job and hold sewing classes. Cute bag. I'm envious but not enough to sit down and do it. Merry Christmas Wendi- - Love Katie

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