Use quilt as you go techniques (or QAYG) while making a beautiful bag! This medium sized tote is perfect for using as a purse or for carrying books, projects, or class materials.
Easy bag construction methods make assembling the tote a breeze once the quilt as you go is done.
In addition to the blog post, this sewing pattern has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here.
Foam stabilizer is used as the quilt as you go foundation, so the bag will have a nice sturdy shape that stands on it’s own.
In my last Studio Chat video, I showed you the Mod Log Cabin Tote in person. See it here.
The bag straps are embellished with lines of topstitching. Use contrasting thread to really make it stand out!
You will need:
1/2 yard navy fabric
1/4 yard pink fabric
1/2 yard neutral colored fabric for the lining
1/2 yard foam stabilizer such as ByAnnie Soft and Stable (60’’ wide)
fabric marking pen or pencil
pins or Wonderclips
Cut the required number of pieces from each fabric as indicated below. Carefully note the length and width of strips required.
From the navy blue fabric, cut:
1 square 9 1/2’’ x 9 1/2’’
2 strips 1 1/2’’ x 13 1/2’’
2 strips 1 1/2’’ x 21 1/2’’
2 strips 2 1/2’’ x 13 1/2’’
2 strips 2 1/2’’ x 17 1/2’’
2 strips 6’’ x 23’’ (straps)
From the pink fabric, cut:
2 strips 1 1/2’’ x 9 1/2’’
2 strips 1 1/2’’ x 17 1/2’’
2 strips 2 1/2’’ x 11 1/2’’
2 strips 2 1/2’’ x 15 1/2’’
Wait to cut the lining fabric pieces until after the quilt-as-you-go is done. From the foam stabilizer, cut:
1 rectangle 18’’ x 26’’
2 strips 1 1/4’’ x 23’’
Use a 1⁄4” seam allowance.
1. Mark a 9 1/2’’ square in the center of the foam stabilizer rectangle (4 1/4’’ from the long edges and 8 1/4’’ from the short edges). Place the 9 1/2’’ square of blue fabric over the marked square.
2. Sew the two 1 1/2’’ x 9 1/2’’ pink strips to the ‘narrow sides’ of the log cabin as seen above.
3. Finger press (or use a warm iron) to press the strips away from the center.
4. Topstitch on the pink strips close to the seam.
5. Sew the two 2 1/2’’ x 11 1/2’’ pink strips to the ‘wide sides’ of the log cabin as seen above.
6. Finger press (or use a warm iron) to press the strips away from the center.
7. Topstitch on the pink strips close to the seam.
8. Sew, press, and topstitch round 2 of the log cabin in the same way using the two 1 1/2’’ x 13 1/2’’ blue strips and the two 2 1/2’’ x 13 1/2’’ blue strips.
Note: always sew on the narrow strips in each round first.
9. Continue the QAYG until all 4 rounds of strips have been sewn on, pressed open, and topstitched.
10. Trim the extra foam stabilizer away from the QAYG piece, squaring up your quilted piece at the same time. It should be approximately 17’’x25’’.
Cut the Lining Fabric
1. Lay the quilted piece face down on the lining fabric and use it to cut a lining piece the same size.
2. From the remaining lining fabric, cut a 12’’ square for slip pockets, if desired.
Cut Out the Bottom Corners of the Bag
1. Fold the quilted piece in half with the shorter ends together.
2. With the raw edges at the top, mark rectangles at the bottom corners where the fold is. The rectangles should be 1 1/2’’ wide measuring from the side edge and 1 1/4’’ tall measuring up from the fold.
3. Cut out the marked rectangles on both bottom corners.
4. Repeat this step with the lining piece so that it matches the quilted piece.
Make Interior Slip Pockets (optional)
1. Fold the 12 1/2’’ square of fabric in half with the right sides together. Stitch around the raw edges with a 1/4’’ seam allowance, leaving 3’’ open for turning on one side.
2. Clip the corners and turn the piece right side out. Press the pocket flat. Also press the pocket in half to make a crease down the center.
3. Topstitch along one long edge – this will be the top edge of the pockets.
4. Pin the pocket to one side of the lining fabric piece, as seen above. The pocket should be centered and 3’’ below the top edge.
5. Stitch around the sides and bottom of the pocket to secure it to the lining and close the opening at the same time. Then create a divided pocket by sewing a vertical line along the fold that you pressed in step 2.
Make the Straps
1. Fold the two 6’’ x 23’’ strips in half lengthwise and press. Open and fold the raw edges to the center and press again.
2. Open the fold on one side and insert a 1 1/4’’ x 23’’ strip of foam stabilizer inside the fold.
3. Re-fold the strip to make a 1 1/2’’ x 23’’ strap. Hold in place with pins or clips.
4. Topstitch along both sides of the straps 1/8’’ from the edge.
5. To make straps with lots of topstitching (like mine) topstitch again down the center of each strap, and then two more times between the center and edge topstitching.
Tip: Using a walking foot on your sewing machine makes it much easier to sew a straight strap without the fabric pulling on either side.
Assemble the Mod Log Cabin Tote
Use a 1⁄4” seam allowance.
1. Pin the ends of the strap to the top edges of the bag as seen above. Each strap should be 4’’ from the closest side of the bag. Stitch the ends of the straps in place 1/8’’ from the edge.
2. Lay the lining piece on top, right sides together and pin the top edges of the lining to the top edges of the quilted exterior, sandwiching the ends of the straps in between.
3. Sew across both top edges of the bag (the pinned edges) with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Press the seams open.
4. Arrange the bag so that the quilted exterior is right sides togehter, and the lining is right sides together. The seams that you sewed in the previous step should be verical in the center. Pin along the top and bottom edges, which are the sides of the bag and lining.
5. Sew each seam starting the cut-out corner on the quilted exterior and and stitching all the way to the cut out corner on the lining. Leave a 5’’ opening in the lining portion of one side. Press the seams open.
6. Sew the corners by flattening the side of the bag against the bottom, with the side seam in the center. The cut out rectangle should line up perfectly. Pin in place.
7. Stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.
Repeat for the two exterior corners and the 2 lining corners.
1. Press the raw edges at the opening to the inside. Hand or machine- sew the opening closed.
2. Gently press the top edge of the bag, smoothing the lining to the inside.
3. Topstitch around the top edge 1/4’’ from the edge.
4. If desired, sew tacking stitches to secure the bag lining to the bottom of the bag at the corner seams.
Wasn’t that easy! What will you use it for? Tell me in the comments.
As always, I’d love you to show me what you make with my patterns and tutorials by uploading a picture to Instagram and tagging me @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. 🙂