Evening bag

Materials

  • A selection of colour co-ordinated fabric scraps of silk and taffeta
  • 30cm of fabric for the lining (this can be hand-pieced if preferred)
  • 30cm of 2oz wadding
  • 30cm of calico for the crazy patchwork foundation base
  • 30cm of muslin for the ‘quilt sandwich’
  • Selection of threads to complement the fabrics
  • Beads and hand-made flowers for the embellishment
  • One pair of aluminium handles
  • One button for the fastening

Finished Size

20 x 25cm (8 x 10in) approximately

Skill Level

Advanced

Suppliers

Ann’s husband made the handles using 2.4mm aluminium welding rod wound round a stake to make the curve. You could use other slip on handles or fabric handles instead, but check that the bag tabs will be in the right place before you cut out the pattern

Packs of beads and flowers suitable for embellishment are available from Antique Crafts for £5 (plus p&p) a pack, various colours available, call 01494 447514 or visit Antique Crafts.

Selecting the fabric

Ann prefers to work to a colour theme when choosing fabric and wanted this bag to be made from plain silk, taffeta and polyester fabric. However, patterned fabrics of different colours and types should work equally well. You can use thicker fabrics too like velvet.

Embellishment

Before you begin

  1. To coordinate the bag, make sure that your scraps are big enough to have the same fabric on both the front and back of the bag.
  2. The lining can be made from one piece of material, or hand-pieced using some of the material from the crazy patchwork. Make this decision before buying your material.

Making the Crazy Patchwork

  1. Cut a piece of calico 60 x 30cm. This is the foundation fabric. You can start to sew crazy patchwork from either a corner or from the centre of the base fabric. Ann prefers to start from the corner. The work can be stitched by hand or machine.
  2. Take the first piece of fabric ‘a’. Place this RS up onto the foundation fabric and pin. Cut the next piece of fabric ‘b’. Turn one side in and pin into place. See Figure 1. Repeat to cover the next area ‘c’. Excess material can be trimmed off. Pin into place.
  3. Repeat until the whole piece of fabric has been covered. You may sew the pieces into place as you go.
  4. Tack all the pieces in place. Use a thread that contrasts, as it is easier to remove later.
  5. Press carefully, particularly if using synthetic fabrics. Using a variety and stitches, machine all pieces into place. These pieces may be handstitched into place if preferred. Remove the tacking stitches.
Figure 1: Sewing the crazy patchwork
Figure 1: Sewing the crazy patchwork

Quilting the crazy patchwork

  1. Make a ‘sandwich’ using the muslin as the base layer, a 2oz wadding layer and then the finished crazy patchwork piece and pin together using safety pins.
  2. Now you are ready to quilt. Ann chose to quilt each section separately, using a mixture of free machine stitching andplain and decorative stitches on her machine, but this is a matter of preference.
  3. Once the quilting is complete, use the templates provided and measurements to cut out a bag front, bag back and gusset from the piece of crazy patchwork. Draw a bag pattern following the diagram. If your handles are different make sure on the paper pattern that they will fit correctly before you cut into your fabric.
Figure 2: Sewing the tabs and loop
Figure 2: Sewing the tabs and loop

Preparing and assembly

Figure 3: Attaching the tabs
Figure 3: Attaching the tabs
Figure 4: Sewing the lining to the bag
Figure 4: Sewing the lining to the bag
  1. Cut the following pieces from the lining fabric:
    • Bag front and back
    • One piece 5 x 60cm for the gusset
    • Four bag tabs using the pattern provided
    • One piece 8 x 1 1⁄2cm for the bag loop
    Ann prefers to stitch the beads on before assembling the bag but it can be done once the bag is finished. Note: Ann only beaded the front of the bag.
  2. Using the mark on the pattern and with RS together, pin the gusset to the front of the bag and back of the bag and sew in place. Make the lining in the same way but leave a gap to turn through in one of the seams.
  3. To make the four tabs, fold each one along line indicated on the pattern, RS together. Sew along the seam line opposite the fold line to create a small tube. Turn the right way out. Make the bag loop by cutting an 8 x 1.5cm strip. Fold in 0.25cm on the two long sides and press. Fold the whole strip in half and topstitch the edge to give a thin strip 8 x 0.5cm. See Figure 2.
  4. Pin the tabs and bag loop into place on the RS of the back of the bag. Tack and then machine in place taking an 1⁄8in seam so it won’t show later. Pin the tabs on to the RS of the bag front.Tack and then machine in place as before. See Figure 3.
  5. Turn the patchwork bag so that the RS is inside and turn the lining so that the RS is outside. Place the lining inside the bag, so that the lining and the bag are RS together.
  6. Machine along the line shown in Figure 4. Do this on the bag front and bag back. Turn the bag and press carefully. Fold Tab A and Tab C in half and press. Fold and pin the lining fabric in place to cover the end of the tabs and stitch with a hemming stitch.
  7. Attach the handles through Tab A and Tab C. Note: This must be done before closing the gap at Tab B and Tab D (your handles may differ and be able to slide in place when the tab is sewn but it would be a bit fiddly).
  8. Fold Tab B and Tab D in half and press. Now fold each tab through the handles. Pin into place before closing the gap in the same way as for Tab A and Tab C.
  9. Complete the bag by adding a button and any other embellishments. Ann made the button and flowers using voile, felt and a soldering iron but that's another story!

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 14 Number 5 - May 2006