Sunday, February 20, 2011

Patchwork Zipper Bag Tutorial, Part Two

First we made up the two patchwork pieces.

Now it’s time to assemble the bag.

1.  Iron the fusible fleece onto the back side of the patchwork pieces, leaving a seam allowance of approximately one-quarter inch all around.  I add a little bit of light quilting at this stage. 

2.  Take the two 2" squares that you had reserved the for the zipper gussets and iron them in half.  Then iron the two sides into the middle seam.  Iron closed.  Your remaining pieces should be 2" by 1/2".

3.  Trim off the excess zipper length just beyond the metal stop at the bottom of the zipper.

4.  Tuck the zipper end into one of the gussets and top stitch down along the edge.

5.  Trim the zipper length to 3/4" less in length than the width of your patchwork.  In this case, 7 1/2".  Be sure that you open the zipper so that you do not cut off the zipper pull.

6.  Add the gusset to the open end and then trim both gussets even with the zipper edge.

7.  I now add quarter-inch Steam-a-Seam tape to the top and bottom edges of the zipper, both front and back.

8.  Lay the lining piece right side up.  Remove the paper from the top back of the zipper and lay the zipper on top of the lining, leaving about 3/8" on each side.  Be sure the zipper pull is facing up.  Press to hold in place.

9.  Remove the paper from the top of the zipper and place the outer bag patchwork right side down on top of the zipper and lining.  Press in place. 

10.  Sew along the top edge of the bag.  A zipper foot will definitely make this easier.

11.  Press both the lining and the outer patchwork away from the zipper teeth.  Top stitch along the edge of the fabric.  In this case, an edge foot will make this neater. 

When you come up on the zipper pull, leave the needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot, squeeze the zipper pull under and to the back, lower the presser foot and finish stitching.

12.  Repeat for the other half of the zipper.  When you are finished, your bag will look like this from the front.

And like this from the back.  (You may notice that the lining fabrics don’t reach all the way to the edge of the patchwork.  That’s because I like to cut my linings with a little less depth so they don’t bunch up inside once the bag is finished).

13.  Now is a good time to make sure that your zipper is at least half way open.

14.  Fold the pieces so that the patchworks are face to face on one side of the zipper and the linings right sides together on the other.

15.  Pin the edges together being careful to match up the zipper seams carefully.  Sew all around the exterior of the bag leaving a 2 1/2" opening in the lining along the bottom edge.

16.  Trim the excess off all four corners.

17.  Turn inside out through the opening in the lining. ( This always reminds me of giving birth).  It looks pretty funky for a while.

18.  Use the opening in the lining to push out the corners and to iron everything nice and neat.

19.  Sew the opening closed.

20.  Tuck the lining inside the bag and enjoy your pretty new bag!

Patchwork Zipper Bag Tutorial, Part One

Part One: Making the Patchwork

Part Two: Making the Bag

Finished Size: 7 7/8" by 5 3/4"


  • Sixty-four 2" Squares for the patchwork and an additional two for the zipper gussets: for a total of Sixty-Six 2" squares
  • Lining fabric: Two 6 1/8" by 8 5/8" rectangles
  • Zipper
  • Fusible fleece: Two 8" by 5 7/8" rectangles
  • Pellon’s Quilter’s Grid On-Point fusible interfacing: Two rectangles measuring approximately 13 by 10 1/4"

The Patchwork

1.  The exact size on the fusible grid is less important than getting the number of squares you need.  I cut mine so that I had 8 full squares across, six full squares top to bottom, and then partial squares surrounding those.  This measured 13" by 10 1/4".

2.  Lay the fusible interfacing on a white ironing surface with the rough fusible side facing up.  Lay the two inch squares on the interfacing using the grid lines for placement.

3.  Lay a pressing sheet over the patchwork and fuse in place following product directions.  (Which is really just a fancy way of saying press with a hot iron).

4.  You’ll notice that there are little bits of raw interfacing hanging out around the outer edges. 

Trim those away.

So that your foundation looks like this from the front.

And like this from the back.  (See those little bits where the foundation doesn’t cover?  Not a problem – they’ll be trimmed off later).


5.  Fold over where patches meet, using the grid lines to give you an accurate fold.  Sew with a quarter inch seam.

At the beginning and end of the seam lines, there are squares that do not get sewn.  Start and end the stitch line right at the edge of those patches.

6.  After sewing all the horizontal seams, trim off just a little bit of the seam allowance.

7.  At all of the outer edge seam lines, snip the edge of the fusible foundation in one-quarter inch, to the edge of the seam line.

8.  This will allow you to press the inner seams open and leave the outer patches that were not sewn still lying flat.  Like this:

Here’s the back in full:

9.  Repeat these same steps sewing the remaining seams, once again trimming the edge off the seam allowance, cutting into the foundation around the outer edge, and pressing open the sewn seams.  After all that, your back will look like this:

Here’s a close-up of the outer edge:

And here it is from the front.

10.  Now it’s time to trim off the excess.  Simply line up your ruler so that the quarter-inch line runs along the seam intersection of the border squares.

Trim off the excess.  Isn’t that pretty?  Words to live by: “When in doubt, summon the French General.”

Make two.

I’m making a zipper bag out of these, but I think they are just the right size for little mug rugs as well. 

(And I’m just so pleased with myself that I got past the silliness of cutting off my needed seam allowances!)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Still Playing

Well, I wasn’t happy with how the wash-away applique foundation worked and it occurred to me – duh! – that I could try using wash-away paper foundation.  You know, the paper that was actually created specifically for this purpose?  Some of which I, of course, had sitting around.  So . . .  I drew up a grid in EQ and printed it off.

Glued the two sheets together and then folded along all of the printed inner lines, horizontal and vertical (though it’s hard to tell from this photo).

I applied little glue dots.

Then I attached all the little fabric squares.  (More Central Park because I had already gotten into that charm pack and it’s incredibly cute anyway).

I sewed using exactly the same directions that I gave in the previous entry.  Here it is from the back with the seams all sewn.

I didn’t trim the second set of seams since the paper was all going to dissolve anyway.  I’m rethinking that decision though since I had to go in later and clip the threads at the seam intersections in order to iron the seams open once it was all dried.  It’s a future experiment.  In any case, this is how well the paper dissolved away.

Yes!  Now we’re talking.  That is so so so much better than the wash-away applique stuff.  Which, of course, it should be. 

Here we are ironed from the back.

And from the front.

And made up into yet another zipper bag.


Conclusions on this one.  Well, I like this for when I want a softer quilt top.  The foundation is nice for mug rugs and bags.  The wash-away paper would work well for a doll quilt or something hand quilted.

And, because, I’m still playing around, I noticed this on the interfacing shelves at JoAnn’s: Pellon has fusible interfacing with one inch grids.  Both on the square and on the diagonal.  Hey!  How did I miss seeing this before?

I  picked up some of the diagonal to see how it would work.  So, here’s a little French General love.  It’s hard to see the grid in the picture but it’s there.

I ironed some two inch squares on and then trimmed the interfacing/foundation to the size I wanted.

Which is to say, I trimmed it to the size I thought I wanted.  It never ceases to amaze me that after all of these years sewing, I can still make some pretty silly mistakes.  So, what’s wrong with that picture?  Try seam allowances for the setting triangles! 

Which means that when I sewed it up, there was no seam allowance for those outer points.