Quilt As You Go (QAYG) Tote with Pom Poms – easy sewing tutorial


Have you fallen in love with Quilt as You Go yet? It’s a fun technique for quilts, of course, but I’m having lots of fun using it for pouches and tote bags too.

I love the dimension and special touch that it adds. On this tote I decided to try adding pom-poms in between each quilted strip. Such a fun experiment – it turned out delightful!

I felt inspired to start with these sweet Promise of Spring panels by Cori Dantini for Blend fabrics. It was the music notes in this panel that made me want to make a new bag for my girls to carry their books to piano lessons. And then I added the pom-poms because they remind me of notes too! Funny how one thing leads to another.

I used tabs with rectangular rings to tie on a soft and wide strap. You could also use the clip on handles that I showed how to make last month or attach straps directly.

The finished tote bag is approximately 13” tall x 13” wide and 4” deep.

So let’s sew a tote bag!

QAYG Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial

You will need:

  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the bag lining

  • scraps and strips of fabric for quilting the exterior

  • 1/2 yard of thin cotton or cotton/poly blend quilt batting

  • quilt basting spray such as SpraynBaste (optional, but helpful)

  • 1/4 yard fabric for the strap

  • about 6 yards of pom pom trim

  • 2 rectangular rings or D-rings (round rings would be cute too)


For the exterior, cut:

  • 2 squares 10” x 10” from your main fabric

  • 10 – 14 strips 2 1/2” x 10” or longer (you’ll cut them to the needed length as you use them)

  • 2 pieces of batting 18” tall x 20” wide

For the lining, cut:

  • 2 rectangles 16” tall x 18” wide

For the strap and tabs, cut:

  • 2 rectangles 3” x 4”

  • 1 long strip 6 1/2” x 40” (or width of the fabric without selvages)

QAYG on the Exterior

1/4” seam allowance allowed.

1. Use the basting spray to attach a 10” square main fabric to one of the batting pieces, centered and about 3” below the top edge. You can pin instead of using basting spray, if desired.

2. Quilt all over the 10” square as desired. I usually sew straight lines for this kind of thing, about an inch apart, but this time I decided to free motion quilt swirls on one side. On the other side I stitched around the cute hand-drawn figures (see it in the pictures at the top).

The strip is printed side down, really! It just looks right side up.

2. Baste the pom pom trim to the top edge of the square. Then cut a strip of fabric the same length or a little bit longer and stitch it to the top edge, right side down. If it is tricky sewing the seams with pom pom trim underneath, try using a zipper foot.

3. Open the strip and press it flat against the batting. Topstitch along the seam and sew more lines of quilting along the strip. My lines are about 3/4” to 1” apart. Sew more lines, if you wish.

4. On the next side, baste a row of trim that extends along both fabric pieces. Cover the edge with another strip of fabric and sew it down.

5. Open the second strip and quilt it just like the first.

6. Add two more pieces of pom pom trim and strips of fabric until you have a square again.

7. Then add three more pieces of pom pom and fabric strips around the sides and bottom only.

Notice that I didn’t extend my pom pom trim over near the bottom corners. That’s because it would be cut off or caught in the seam anyway.

Repeat this QAYG process to make the other side of the bag.

Sew the Tote

3/8” seam allowance allowed.

1. Trim up the QAYG pieces to make a 16” x 18” rectangles. Use a small ruler to mark 2” squares at the bottom corners. Cut away the squares in the bottom corners only.

2. Place the two quilted exterior pieces right sides together and sew along the sides and bottom edge with a 3/8” seam allowance.

Press the seam allowances open.

3. Flatten the corners with the side seams lined up against the bottom seam. Stitch the corner openings closed.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 above with the lining pieces (cutting 2” squares from the corners, sewing the side and bottom seams, boxing the corners) except leave a 5” opening at the bottom of the lining for turning the bag right side out.

5. Fold the 3” x 4” tab rectangles with the 3” edges together, press. Open and press the 3” edges to the center. Fold again and press to make a 3” x 1” strip. Topstitch along the long edges. Make two tabs.

6. Fold the tab strips around a ring and sew to the top side edges of the bag, centered over the side seams. Stitch them in place 1/4” from the edge.

7. With the bag exterior right side out and the lining inside out, place the lining over the bag exterior and pin all around the top edge. Sew all the way around the top with a 3/8” seam allowance.

8. Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining. Sew the opening closed either by machine or by hand.

9. Gently press the bag, turning the lining edge to the inside. Topstitch around the tote 1/4” from the top edge.

Make the Strap

1/4” seam allowance allowed.

1. Fold the long strap rectangle in half lengthwise, right sides together. Pin and sew along both short ends and long edge, leaving a 3” opening for turning.

2. Turn the strap right side out. Press it flat. Topstitch around all sides of the strap 1/8” from the edge, closing the opening at the same time.

Tie the strap ends to the rings on the bag.

There you go… Show me how yours turns out by tagging me on Instagram @sewcanshe!

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂