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Crazy quilted bags

sewphaedra | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

I am just finishing a tote bag like the ones in the most recent issue of Threads. Although the article was pretty sketchy and I have never quilted before, I decided to dive in. I wasn’t sure if they made crazy quilting for both sides of the bag or only the front, so I made both sides because I was having so much fun! I did lots of machine embroidery and then a bunch of yarn couching like in the pictures. I have to say the bag looks spectacular! Very grown-up and and all constructed from my scrap pile bits. I used black wool piping and black/white silk check for the gusset. Great project!


  1. Jean | | #1

    Please post a picture so we can all see!!

    1. sewphaedra | | #2

      I will try to get a picture up. I did some extra things, like adding some stippling and using the Bernina font to write some stuff on it. Then I backed it with iron-on thin batting before lining. I wanted it to be more of a tote bag to carry my knitting. Today I have to get the handles on it.

      1. stitchmd | | #3

        Please tell us how the iron on batting worked out. I had bought some to use on a bag, then read a post somewhere about it being difficult to use with poor results, so I used interfacing instead. My bag is felted wool and really would look better with a fuller, softer backing, so I'm considering redoing it to give it more "body".

        1. sewphaedra | | #4

          I used it before on a serger cover with good results. It sticks pretty well, but then I anchor it in a seam or quilt it afterwards, so I'm using it more like temporary adhesive than something permanent. The thickness is great to work with, it doesn't compress, and adds body without a lot of bulk.

  2. HNYMAMA | | #5

    Oh I am wanting to make one of those bags,  that was such a great article.  I think the crazy quilting would look the best on both sides like you did yours. 

    1. rjf | | #6

      I've seen one of those bags in real life and it does look better with both sides quilted.  Besdies, if you've got the scraps out, you might as well use them all up.   And it looks better than in the pictures!                      rjf

      1. HNYMAMA | | #7

        They looked great in the pictures,  so better wow.  This is definetly my must do project from the last issue of Threads,  I try my bet to do at least one per issue,  of course I ususlly find so many great ideas.  I wll definetly crazy quilt both sidea of mine,  thanks:)

    2. sewphaedra | | #8

      Today I went to the fabric store and asked about buckram for backing handbags. They sell it by the yard. I didn't know about this, and it looks like a better choice than the iron-on batting that I used. My bag is soft and holds its shape just fine for the knitting I carry in it. But for a purse that would have heavier and bulkier things in it I think the buckram would make it firmer. I'm going to make another with the buckram to test. Lots of scraps to use!

      1. carolfresia | | #9

        Hello, crazy quilters! I'm so glad you got excited by the Barbara Randle article. I worked with her on that story, and was one of the editors who participated in the workshop. It truly was one of the most enjoyable sewing experiences I've had. She's got a great sense of color and fun, and really believes that anything goes--as long as it's not too little!

        Here are a couple of details that might be helpful. Barbara uses fusible Acro to stiffing the bags; she fuses it to the gussets as well as to the side panels, although for some styles of purses she omits it to get a softer shape. There's also a piece of that plastic needlepoint canvas stuff stuff into the bottom to keep that stiff; it's not fastened in place, but just kind of stays in position between the lining and outer fabric once you load up the purse.

        On most of her purses, the quilting is on both sides; Barbara usually sets up "kits" that include two matching stacks of fabric scraps, so that the two sides are similar, but when you do the piecing you can switch them around any way you like. You'll notice all the little wall bins in a couple of pictures--those are all filled with fabric swatches cut to size: wandering around her studio is like being a kid in a candy shop.

        My purse has become a very treasured possession. It's quite unlike anything else I own, and I admit that for now, I use it to store some fabulous novelty yarns I haven't decided what to do with yet. Someday, when I'm not always stuffing leaky sippy cups and half-empty boxes of raisins in my purse, I will carry it every day--and never have to think about accessories again!


        1. sewphaedra | | #10

          What is "fusible Acro?" Is it stiff?

          1. carolfresia | | #11

            Yes--it's a type of quite stiff interfacing, amd I'm almost positive I've never seen it at Joann's, though perhaps at a tailoring supply place...anyway, it's woven, sort of buckram-like. It not only stiffens the sides, but also takes a good press, so if you press a crease into the gusset, it will hold that shape nicely and make a cute, boxy, structured purse.


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