The Quilted Tote is a quick project for using up existing quilt blocks or for busting through your stash of fat quarters. You can gift it to another crafter (it makes a great project bag), pair it with a book or tablet (it’s also a cute, padded carrying case), or use it as gift wrap.
This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Materials for this post were generously provided by Baby Lock, Fairfield World, and Fiskars.
I’ve included instructions for piecing the quilt blocks for the bag front and back, but you can substitute existing 8.5” square quilt blocks for the front or back of the bag instead. I made my Quilted Tote small enough for my tablet, but you can adjust the basic parts of the pattern to make it larger or smaller. If you’re resizing, cut the lining and batting to the size of your finished squares for the front and back, and cut the bag straps to 2.5” (6.5 cm) wide by about 2.5 to 3 times the length of the front of your bag. It’s always better to make the straps longer than necessary because you can tie a knot or use a decorative pin to shorten them, but if the straps are too short, there’s not much you can do to fix the bag!
This is the eighth pattern in the Little Gifts Sew Along. Are you just hearing about the Little Gifts Sew Along? Get all the details here.
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- By the end of the SAL, you’ll have up to 25 handmade gifts.
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Sewing Pattern by Underground Crafter
The Quilted Tote is a quick-to-sew project you can gift to your favorite crafter (as a project bag) or to a techie or reader (as a padded carrying case for a tablet or book). You can also use it as gift wrap! This is the eighth of 25 free sewing projects by 12 bloggers in the Little Gifts Sew Along.
- Tote: 7.75” (19.5 cm) x 7.75” (19.5 cm).
- 100% cotton fabric.
- I used most of 2 batik fat quarters for my version, and some “ugly fabric” muslin for the backing. You could also use 3 fat quarters.
- Cotton thread
- Fairfield Poly-Fil Project Fleece Small or a small piece of batting (see measurements below).
Prepare fabric and batting
- Iron your fabric.
- Layer 2 fat quarters on top of each other with the right sides facing. Trim the edges so both pieces are the same size.
- Cut pieces for the quilt blocks, lining, and straps in the following sizes through both layers. With each cut, you will make 2 pieces, or 1 piece in each fabric.
- Lining fabric: 8.5” (21.5 cm) square.
- Strips for quilt blocks: Cut 2 strips to 3” (7.5 cm) x 18” (46 cm). You will have 4 strips since you are cutting through 2 layers of fabric.
- Bag straps: Cut 2 straps to 2.5” (6.5 cm) x length of fabric (approximately 22”/56 cm). You will have 4 pieces since you are cutting through 2 layers of fabric.
- For the backing, cut 2 pieces of 8.5” (21.5 cm) square. This will not be seen so you can use an “ugly” fabric, muslin, or scraps.
- Cut 2 pieces of 8.5” (21.5 cm) square from the batting.
Make quilt blocks for front and back of bag
- Note: If you are using existing quilt blocks for your version, skip down to “Quilting the blocks.”
- With the right sides together, sew the strips for the quilt blocks together along the long edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
- Press the seams flat on the strips.
- Trim strips to 8 pieces, each measuring 4.5” (11.5 cm) long.
- Place a trimmed strip with right sides facing perpendicular to another trimmed strip and sew together with 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat until you have 4 sets of blocks.
- Trim each block to 4.5” (11.5 cm) square.
- With a 1/4″ seam allowance and with right sides facing, sew 2 blocks together for the front and 2 blocks together for the back.
- Trim your new blocks to 8.5” (21.5 cm) square (or, to the same size if they are smaller or larger).
Quilting the blocks
- Make 2 “quilt sandwiches” for the front and the back of the bag.
- Layer the quilt blocks right side up at the top, put the batting underneath the block, and put the backing fabric underneath the batting.
- Quilt the blocks. I used the “hand-look quilting stitch” (#17) on my Baby Lock Jubilant and the Stitch Guide Foot from the Quilting Foot Kit and started by working a diagonal line across the center of the blocks.
- I used the Stitch Guide Foot’s ruler to create lines that were the same distance from previous quilt line.
- Trim the quilted blocks if necessary.
Make bag straps
- Position the strips for the bag straps right sides together and sew closed along each long edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
- Turn right side out.
- Press flat and trim straps to the same length.
- Position the quilted blocks right sides together and sew closed around 3 sides with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Turn right side out.
- Place the lining fabric pieces with the right sides together. Sew closed around 3 sides with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 4” (10 cm) opening on one of the side seams.
- Pin the short edges of the straps to the bag as pictured below. With the first strap, pin one short edge to the top of the front and the second short edge to the top of the front of the bag. Repeat with the other strap on the back of the bag, being sure to line up the straps.
- Using your machine’s free arm and with the right side of the bag facing up, sew a 1/4″ seam allowance along the top edge of the bag, sewing the straps in place. Remove pins as you work.
- Place the quilted part of the bag with the right side out inside of the lining. The lining should still have the right sides together/wrong sides out. Pin in place.
- Using your machine’s free arm, sew a 1/4″ seam allowance along the top of the lining, sewing the quilted part of the bag with the straps in place to the lining. Remove pins as you work.
- Turn the bag right side out, pulling through the 4” (10 cm) opening in the lining.
- Sew the opening in the lining closed.
- Put the lining back in the bag. Leave some of the lining (about 1/4″/0.5 cm) visible at the top.
- Working on the right side of the bag and using your machine’s free arm, make a seam using a decorative stitch. I used the “hand-look quilt stitch” and the J presser foot on my Baby Lock Jubilant.
- Trim threads and enjoy your tote.
I’m joining Emily from Life Sew Savory again this year for her annual Summer Fun Series. This week’s theme is back to school. When I think of back to school, I always think about getting new clothes. Updating your wardrobe comes with two challenges: deciding whether to repurpose, pass down, or donate the old clothes, and figuring out how to keep your new clothes in good shape for as long as possible! With both of those things in mind, I came up with today’s tutorial for a bike pant leg cuff made with upcycled denim. You can use up some old jeans while also protecting your new pants from getting caught in your bike’s chain.
This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Materials for this project were provided by Cricut, Fairfield World, Fiskars, and VELCRO® Brand.
I didn’t want to go with plain denim, though, so I decided to fancy up these cuffs with some foil iron-on. At the same time, I wanted to create a project that was quick and easy, so I didn’t make these with the same care as I would for an heirloom quilt. I actually simplified the process by using iron-on fasteners and binding the cuff with the backing. This is a straightforward, fast sewing project that you can make even if you’ve never “quilted” (and, I use that word lightly here) before.
Semi-Quilted Upcycled Denim Bike Pant Leg Cuff
Sewing Tutorial by Underground Crafter
Wearing a bike cuff is a great way to keep your pant leg out of your bike’s chain so you can avoid damaging your clothes or having an accident. This simple, lightly quilted project is easy enough for a sewing or quilting beginner. (The instructions are long because I wrote out all the details for a newbie sewist, not because it’s a complex project. You can make several of these in an hour or so.)
- Cricut Explore with Cricut Design Space and Cricut Access.
- StandardGrip cutting mat (I used the one from the Cutting Mat Variety 3 pack).
- Cricut weeder, trimmer, and scissors (I used the ones from my Cricut Gold Tools and Trimmer Set).
- Cricut Foil Iron-on (I used part of one 12” x 12” sheet from the Spring Meadow Sampler).
- Bicycle cut file in Cricut Design Space.
- A pair of jeans destined for the scrap pile. (I used parts from the front leg piece of two different pairs of jeans so I could have contrast between the front and the back pieces, but you could use just one pair of jeans.) For best results, machine wash and dry the jeans before starting.
- Fairfield World Poly-Fil Low-Loft Quilt Batting (I cut a piece from this 45” x 60” package).
- Fiskars 45 mm Easy Change Ergo Control Rotary Cutter, Fiskars 18″ x 24″ Self-Healing Rotary Cutting Mat, and Fiskars 6″ x 24″ Acrylic Ruler; OR Fiskars fabric shears, ruler, and a fabric marking pencil (and lots more patience).
- An iron and an ironing board or other iron-safe surface.
- Non-stick pressing sheet.
- VELCRO® Brand Iron On 1 in x ¾ in Rectangles – 12 Sets – White.
- A sewing machine or sturdy, hand sewing needle (to work through the denim) with cotton thread.
- Basic sewing supplies (i.e., fabric scissors, seam ripper, pins, fabric pencil/marker, etc.).
Cut foil iron-on embellishment
- Open the bicycle cut file in Cricut Design Space. I only used 5 bicycles for the final project, but I cut twelve because they’re adorable and I will use them for another project later. You can remove any bicycles you don’t plan to use (or add more) and your Cricut will automatically position them to minimize cutting space.
- Prepare your Cricut Foil Iron-on on your cutting mat with the liner (colorful, shiny) side down and the clear, carrier sheet side up.
- Set your Cricut’s pressure setting wheel to Custom. Choose “Foil Iron-On” from the drop down menu. I didn’t select “Mirror Image for Iron-On” for my version because I wasn’t concerned about the bike’s direction.
- Choose “Go” and follow the instructions for cutting.
- Once your iron-on sheet is cut, remove it from the mat.
- With your trimmer or scissors, trim the iron-sheet down. Set aside uncut piece of iron-on for another use.
- With the weeder, gently remove excess iron-on to expose your bicycles.
- Set aside your weeded iron-on and cut fabric.
- With Easy Change Ergo Control Rotary Cutter, cutting mat, and acrylic ruler, cut 2 pieces of denim as follows.
- Front piece: 16” (40.5 cm) x 2.5” (6.5 cm). This will be trimmed down to 15” (38 cm) x 2” (5 cm) later.
- According to this tutorial, here’s how you would customize the length to fit a smaller or larger leg: With a pair of pants on, measure the circumference of the part of your lower leg where you would wear the cuff. Add 5” (13 cm) to the length of your measurement. Cut the piece of denim to that length. The final piece will be trimmed down to your measurement plus 4” (10 cm).
- Back piece: 18” (46 cm) x 4.5” (11.5 cm). This will be trimmed down to 17” (43 cm) x 4” (10 cm) later.
- If you customized the measurement of the front piece, cut this piece to be 2” (5 cm) longer than your front piece. It will be trimmed down to your measurement plus 6” (15 cm) later.
- Cut 1 piece of batting to the same measurement as the front piece of denim.
Iron on your embellishment
- Set the front piece of your denim on the ironing board.
- Position your Foil Iron-on on the front piece of your denim with the liner side up (so the colorful bicycle image is facing you):
- Center the width of the bicycles within the center 2” (5 cm) of the front piece.
- Leave at least 1” (2.5 cm) at one short edge and at least 5” (13 cm) at the other short edge unembellished. (In other words, do not apply iron-on there.)
- Set your iron on the cotton setting.
- Place the the non-stick pressing sheet above the Foil Iron-on. Press firmly for about 30 seconds. Remove the iron. You will be able to see the iron-on removing itself from the liner. If it still seems firmly affixed to the liner, repeat holding the iron over the pressing sheet for another 30 seconds.
- Remove the iron and the pressing sheet and let the liner cool. Once it is cool, remove the liner and your bicycles will be affixed to your denim.
Iron on your fasteners
- Set the back piece of your denim on the ironing board.
- Position your VELCRO® Brand Iron On fasteners with the “loop” (soft) side up on the back piece. (This is actually not what is shown in the picture but I realized later that since the back piece is the side that touches your pants, it would be best to use the “loop” side instead of the “hook” side.)
- Center the fasteners within the center 2” (5 cm) of the back piece.
- Leaving at least 1” (2.5 cm) at one short edge, remove the adhesive backing and position the fasteners in a 2 x 4 layout as shown below.
- Set your iron on the cotton setting.
- Place the the non-stick pressing sheet above the VELCRO® Brand Iron On. Press firmly for about 90 seconds. Remove the iron and let the piece cool.
- For the front piece of denim, position your VELCRO® Brand Iron On fasteners with the “hook” (textured) side up on the front piece. (This is actually not what is shown in the picture as noted above.)
- Center the fasteners within the center 2” (5 cm) of the front piece.
- Leaving about ½” (1.5 cm) at the short edge opposite the bicycle iron-on, remove the adhesive backing and position the fasteners in a 1 x 2 layout as shown below.
Quilt layers together
- Assemble a “quilt sandwich” as follows:
- Place the back piece of denim face down (so that the side with the VELCRO® Brand Iron On is facing away from you).
- Center the Fairfield World batting on top of the back piece of denim.
- Center the front piece of denim on top of the batting with the right side facing you.
- Be sure that the VELCRO® Brand Iron On on the back piece of denim is not on the same short edge as the fastener on the front piece of denim.
- Pin pieces together.
- Starting with the back piece of denim facing up and using a straight stitch, sew through all three layers along the outer edge of the fasteners to anchor the piece.
- Turn so the front piece of denim is facing up. Using a straight stitch, sew from the lower edge of the front piece to the top edge of the front piece between each bicycles, going through all 3 layers.
- Continue working across front piece in this manner, spacing out stitches after ironed on bicycles as shown below.
Trim to final measurements
- Mark the the front piece of denim to the final measurements described above, being sure to leave at least ½” (1.5 cm) clearance around the VELCRO® Brand fasteners on the edges.
- Trim the front piece of denim and the batting to the final measurements.
- Mark the back piece of denim to measure 1” (2.5 cm) larger than the front piece on each side. Trim to final size.
- Starting with one of the long sides, fold the side of the back piece in half, pressing down with your fingers. (If your denim is unruly, you may want to iron these edges once you fold in half.)
- Fold the half piece in half again, so that the folded back piece folds over the front piece. Pin into position as shown below.
- Continue to prepare each side until the leg cuff is pinned on all 4 sides. Be sure that your fasteners on each side are not covered by the backing.
- With the front side facing up and using a straight stitch, sew through all layers of the binding, being sure to secure it to the front piece. Backstitch in the corners to secure. (I used a Quarter Inch Presser Foot to do this, but you could use another foot while keeping the seam narrow.)
- Trim off loose threads and wear!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. You can find more back-to-school projects by following the links below.