By: Wendy Chow
Add a pop of color to your spring outfit with a quilted tote bag. The tote bag is the perfect size to run errands in, pack some snacks and a book to enjoy at the park, and many more outdoorsy activities. Wendy Chow of The Weekend Quilter will show you how to make this tote bag in this blog using her latest quilt block pattern, Garden Tile. The block is a FREE download from her website. The FREE download Garden Tile quilt block is derived from the traditional spool quilt block, and is arranged to form a star in a cross design. Collectively, the blocks are inspired by repeating painted garden tiles.
Throughout March 2022, National Quilting Month, The Weekend Quilter will be sharing a series of three blog posts on fabric.com. Each post shows different variations of the Garden Tile quilt block and how to incorporate it into other smaller quilted projects including, the FREE Garden Tile quilt block download, table runner, throw cushion and tote bag. Follow fabric.com and The Weekend Quilter on Instagram and subscribe to their newsletters for the latest updates on the different applications.
Now, what are you waiting for? Scroll down to learn more about how to put this tote bag together.
Be sure to read through all the directions before you start. Sew all right sides together with ¼" seam allowance, unless specified.
Tote Bag Size
Finished project measures – 17½" x 21"
Fabric quantities are based on 42" WOF (width of fabric). All fabrics in the project are by Art Gallery Fabrics and available from fabric.com.
|Fabric A||Deco stitch Coral Rose||½ yard (46 cm)|
|Fabric B||Soften the Volume Brushed Fibers Taupe||¼ yard (23 cm) or 1 FQ**|
|Fabric C||Open Heart Reflections Verdant||⅛ yard (12 cm) or 1 FE*|
|Fabric D||Boscage Tropical Tapestry||⅛ yard (12 cm) or 1 FE*|
|Fabric E: Lining Fabric||Boscage Jungle Berries||¾ yard (69 cm)|
|Fabric F: Bag Straps||Boscage Tropical Tapestry||⅜ yard (35 cm)|
* A fat eighth (FE) is an eighth of a yard of fabric that measures approximately 9" x 21".
**A fat quarter (FQ) is a quarter of a yard of fabric that measures approximately 18" x 21". It is made by cutting a yard of fabric in half lengthwise and vertically.
Other Tools and Materials Required
- Download The Weekend Quilter’s Garden Tile quilt block for FREE here.
- Basic sewing machine
- Rotary cutter
- Quilting rulers – preferably in 6" x 24", 12" x 6" and at least one with 45-degree angle mark.
- Cutting mat
- Fabric scissors
- Batting – There needs to be at least 4" overhang on the front and back of the tote bag. Thereby the minimum batting requirement for these two parts are, two 26" x 30" rectangles.
For the bag straps, you can get away with less batting. Minimum batting requirement for bag straps is one 10" x 28" rectangle.
- Sewing pins
- Coordinating thread, 50wt cotton – for piecing squares and rectangles together and decorative quilting stitches. •
- Basting spray (if spray basting) or safety pins (if pin basting)
- Hera marker or blunt butter knife
- Walking foot or dual feed dog (optional)
- Machine-washable fabric pen or pencil
In addition to cutting fabrics for one Garden Tile quilt block (download the block pattern here), you will also need to cut the following fabric quantities:
|Fabric A||Deco stitch Coral Rose||
|Fabric D||Boscage Tropical Tapestry||
|Fabric E: Lining Fabric||Boscage Jungle Berries|
|Fabric F: Bag Straps||Boscage Tropical Tapestry||
Read through all the directions before you start, sew all right sides together with ¼" seam allowance, unless specified.
Download The Weekend Quilter’s Garden Tile quilt block for FREE here.
Create 2 Garden Tile quilt blocks. Set blocks aside for Bag Exterior Assembly, Step 1.
On the wrong side of 16 Fabric D 2" squares, draw a diagonal guideline.
Noting the placement and orientation of the marked squares from the previous step, with right sides together, sew on the guidelines
- Place 2 marked Fabric D 2" squares on the top left and right corners 1 Fabric A 3½" x 12½" rectangle to create 1 Quick-Corner A unit.
- Place 2 marked Fabric D 2" squares on the top left and right corners 1 Fabric A 5½" x 12½" rectangle to create 1 Quick-Corner B unit.
Repeat this step to create a total of:
- 4 Quick-Corner A units
- 4 Quick-Corner B units
Trim a ¼" seam allowance to the outside of all the sewn lines. Press the seams open or to the dark side to complete the Quick-Corner units.
Bag Exterior Assembly
Complete the Bag Exterior unit by laying out 2 Quick-Corner A units, 2 Quick-Corner B units, 4 Fabric A 3½" x 5½" rectangles and 1 Garden Tile Block. Then sew the units to form 3 rows and sew the 3 rows together. Press the seams open or to the dark side as you go.
Repeat this step to create a total of 2 Bag Exterior units.
Basting and Quilting
A quilt sandwich usually consists of three layers: quilt top, batting and quilt back. For this project, the sandwich is made up of two layers: the Bag Exterior unit (created in the previous step) and a layer of batting. This is because the quilt back (in this instance, the Bag Lining) is attached at a later step and there is no binding involved.
Create a total of 2 Bag Exterior sandwiches. Each cushion sandwich consists of the following layers:
- Bag Exterior unit (from the previous step)
- Batting 26" x 30" rectangle
The batting goes down on the basting surface first. Followed by the Bag Exterior unit, wrong side touching the batting.
Spray or pin baste the two layers together, and quilt as desired.
Trim excess batting, and square up all Bag Exterior sandwiches. Take extra care when square up. Each Bag Exterior sandwich must measure 18½" x 22½" rectangle.
Set Bag Exterior sandwiches aside for Bag Assembly, Step 1.
Lay 2 Fabric F 3" x 21" rectangles on top of 1 Batting 10" x 28" rectangle, wrong side of Fabric F touching the batting, and baste using preferred method to temporarily secure the layers.
Edge sew the longer sides of the 2 Fabric F 3" x 21" rectangles to permanently secure the layers and complete Strap sandwiches.
Trim excess batting and square up both Strap sandwiches. Take extra care when squaring up. Each Strap sandwich must measure 3" x 21" rectangle.
With the wrong side facing up, eyeball approximately ½" and fold raw edge on one long edge of the Strap sandwich toward the center of the sandwich.
Repeat this step with the second Strap sandwich and the remaining 2 Fabric F 3" x 21" rectangles. The purpose of this step is to hide the raw edges.
With right sides together, line up unfolded raw edges on the long edges of 1 Strap sandwich and 1 Fabric F 3" x 21" rectangle. Sew ½" away from the raw edge to secure the pieces.
Repeat this step with second Strap sandwich and Fabric F 3" x 21" rectangle.
Fold Fabric F rectangle over so the wrong side of it is touching the batting of the Strap Sandwich, and the folds created in step 4 remains folded.
Press and using a coordinating thread, edge sew both long sides to secure the layers in place.
Repeat this step with the second bag strap. Set bag straps aside for Bag Assembly, Step 7.
With right sides together, match the raw edges of 2 Bag Exterior sandwiches from Basting and Quilting, Step 2. Pin the two longer edges and one shorter edge together, leaving an opening on one shorter edge.
Repeat this step with 2 Fabric E 18½" x 22½" rectangles for the bag lining.
Set pinned Bag Exterior sandwiches aside for Bag Assembly, Step 4.
On the wrong side and pinned shorter edge of bag lining, use a fabric marker to mark approx. 7" opening.
Starting from the top right corner of the bag lining, sew ½" away from the long raw edge, turn and pivot the bag lining, and sew along the shorter edge, and stop at the marked guideline from the previous step. Then start at the second guideline, sew along the shorter edge, turn and pivot the bag lining, and sew along the longer edge. Leave the top shorter edge open. The small opening at the bottom of the bag lining will be used to turn the bag right side out at Bag Assembly, Step 11.
Also, don’t forget to reverse stitch at the start and end of each seam for additional enforcement. Set bag lining aside for Bag Assembly, Step 5.
Similar to the previous step, ensure sewing machine seam allowance is set at ½". Sew together Bag Exterior sandwiches from Step 1 – starting from the top right corner of the Bag Exterior sandwich, sew along the two longer edges and one short edge.
Lay the Bag Exterior and Bag Lining flat, keeping them turned the wrong side out. With a quilting ruler and fabric marker or pencil, mark a 2" square on both the bottom corners of each the Bag Exterior and Bag Lining (Bag Exterior used in photographed example).
With a pair of fabric scissors, carefully cut the marked squares from each bottom corner.
Open up one of the corners. Bring the side and bottom seams together, matching the seams. Pin and sew ½" away from the raw edge. For additional enforcement, reverse stitch at the start and end of each seam (Bag Exterior used in photographed example).
Repeat with the remaining cut out corners of Bag Exterior and Bag Lining. Set Bag Lining aside for Bag Assembly, Step 6.
Turn Bag Exterior right side facing out. With a fabric pen or pencil, at the bag opening (top shorter edge of the Bag Exterior), mark two guidelines, 4½" away from the top corners. These guidelines are used to determine Bag Strap (from Bag Straps, Step 6) placement.
Repeat this step on the second side of Bag Exterior.
Using the marked guidelines from the previous step, pin and sew (½" away from the raw edge) 1 Bag Strap on each side of the Bag Exterior. Take extra care when pinning and sewing. Ensure the Bag Straps are not twisted and reverse stitch at the start and end of each seam for additional enforcement.
Take Bag Lining from Step 6, wrong side facing out. Slide Bag Exterior inside Bag Lining. Therefore, right sides of Bag Exterior and Bag Lining are facing each other.
Start at one side of the bag, line up side seams and raw edges. Pin Bag Exterior and Bag Lining together. When pinning, ensure the side seams on the Bag Exterior and Bag Lining are open to reduce bulk. Repeat with the second side of the bag. Then, pin in between the sides to hold the Bag Exterior and Bag Lining in place.
Sew ½" away from the raw edge to secure the Bag Exterior, Bag Lining and Bag Straps.
At the bottom of the Bag Lining, use the hole to carefully flip the bag right side out.
Go back to the sewing machine, with a coordinating thread, edge stitch to close up the hole at the bottom of the Bag Lining.
Insert the Bag Lining inside of the bag. At the top opening of the bag, pin Bag Lining to Bag Exterior, and use coordinating thread to sew approximately ⅛" and ½" below the top opening. These seams will provide additional enforcement and prevent the Bag Lining from coming out of the bag.
Trim loose threads to complete the project.
Share your progress and completed cushion on social media by tagging: #gardentiletotebag #theweekendquilter @the.weekendquilter
About the Author
Wendy Chow is an Aussie modern quilter and designer based in New York City. The founder of The Weekend Quilter and author of Urban Quilting, she aims to bring a timeless and fresh perspective to one of the oldest forms of needlework with her bold and distinct modern quilt designs.