For the third year, a small quilting group I belong to has done a fun challenge and swap combination project. Around September or October we each bring a piece of fabric (fat quarter or larger) to a meeting and place it in a brown paper bag. One by one we each pull out a piece of fabric and try to guess who put that fabric into the bag. We are surprisingly accurate! We then take the fabric that we pulled out and make a gift for the person who originally put the fabric in the swap. It can be anything sewn, and there is usually a wide range of projects that come out of this challenge and swap.
This year the fabric I pulled out of the bag was a cute rectangular dot print on a light green background. Since the green is so light, it almost read as a neutral. It looked good with so many different colors! In the end, I loved the line and dot effect of the black and white batik with the dot print.
I decided to make a project bag with pockets around the outside to hold supplies and notions. The lower half of the bag has a structure of Annie’s Soft and Stable so that it will stand easily on its own. The bag is fully lined so there won’t be a chance of having a work in progress catching on any seams or picking up unwanted threads. I thought the orange was a fun, unexpected pop of color, and it is also a favorite of the swap recipient!
For the second year, one of the sewing groups I belong to did a swap. This swap has a twist: Each person brings a fat quarter of a favorite fabric from their stash to put in a bag. Then, we all take turns pulling out a piece of fabric and guess who it belongs to. We are a small group, so we are typically pretty successful in guessing the owner of the fabric. We each take the fabric away and come back a couple meetings later with an item made from the fabric we pulled from the bag to give back to the original person.
I pulled this cute Tula Pink cat print from the bag of fat quarters. It happened to be a fabric that I love enough to own, too! The person who brought the fabric enjoys hand applique and embroidery, so I thought she may like a bag that will keep all of her pieces flat and visible until it is their turn to be secured to the block.
I used a fairly heavy, clear vinyl for the front of the pouch. The primary fabric is the cat print, and for the back of the pouch, I chose to make a nine patch from a charm pack from the same Tula Pink fabric line. I sandwiched and quilted the fabric layers with a piece of soft and stable to make sure the pouch would lay flat while maintaining flexibility.
The binding is also from that same line of prints. I machine stitched it to the front and folded it around to the back for hand stitching. This allowed for hand finishing on the fabric portion of the pouch. The bag finishes a bit over 13″ square, so a lot of quilt blocks could actually lay flat in the pouch. I wish I had made one for myself when I was in a couple of bees- it would have been perfect to transport blocks!
As I was wrapping gifts on Saturday it occurred to me that a reusable bag would make more sense for several of the items I was about to wrap. I don’t usually purchase a large amount of any single fabric, but I did have some plain canvas on hand. Since the canvas has more body and substance to it than a standard quilting cotton, it didn’t even require a full lining.
The Christmas-y fabrics I had on hand were also very limited, but I did have enough to use as a facing on the top of the bag to add a bit of color and create the drawstring casings. Awhile back I had ordered 3/8″ grosgrain ribbon in a variety of colors to have on hand for various projects, and it worked perfectly for this project. It was purchased from cheeptrims.com (not an affiliate) which has great prices, but does have a minimum order, so you may want to pool orders with a friend.
To calculate the size of each bag, I loosely wrapped a fabric measurement tape around the gift, leaving a few inches excess to allow for seam allowance and ease. Half of this measurement was the width of the bag. For the height I also wrapped the measuring tape around the gift vertically and divided the measurement in half. I made sure to add 7-8″ to each half to allow for the gathering at the top of the bag and for the ruffle at the top. The corners are also boxed out to give the bag a bit more dimension.
These bags work great, and I’ll be making more to gift in future years!
The Open-Out Box Pouch was the star of a recent sew-in I participated in. This adorable pattern is designed by Comfort Stitching. We came to the sew-in with the bag pieces pre-cut and interfacing pressed into place, so I was able to get two sewn in a few hours.
The pouch with the llamas is the one I was making for myself, so I did each step on it before working on the second pouch. That way I was hopefully making any mistakes on my own pouch instead of the one I was planning to gift. The matching zipper helped hide some of the first-time-making-a-pattern-awkwardness! For the folded tab, I chose cork for both bags.
This bag looks similar to a lot of zippered pouches at first glance, but this one has a separating zipper that allows the bag to open into a boxed shape. It is great to be able to see everything in the bag, and it sits open without any effort. Inserting the gusset was a little tricky, but after trying one, the next went really smoothly.
For the second pouch I chose a triangle print in a blue ombre with green lining and orange zipper. Blue and orange is my favorite complementary color scheme! This pouch ultimately became part of the gift exchange at the holiday party for one of my guilds, and I think it went to a good home!
This year for the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild we did an end of the year gift swap with a mix of handcrafted and purchased items. We drew names at the November Meeting, and the person I chose had been eying the Road Trip Case by Noodlehead. My partner likes Autumnal colors and Alison Glass designs, so I selected a palette of her batiks and prints.
There are several different pockets and pieces of trim, so it was fun to choose where each fabric would go. The pattern suggests batting for the quilted case exterior, but I switched it out for Soft and Stable foam, and I’m really pleased with the result. I incorporated a few lines of walking foot quilting on the exterior using 28wt Aurifil.
There are two options for the fabric pockets in the bag; two long or four short. I wasn’t sure which to go with, but I ended up choosing the shorter pockets since it will most likely be used for sewing notions. The pocket flaps with hook and loop tape (velcro) closures seemed useful to help contain smallish notions. I often don’t care for hook and loop tape closers since the hook side can pick up so much fuzz. I briefly considered replacing the tape with magnetic snaps. Ultimately, I decided that the velcro allowed more leeway in where the pocket flap could close depending on how full the pocket was. Hopefully it will work for my partner!
The case itself went together fairly easily, and I’m sure if I were to make more it would go quite quickly. Like most bags, I felt like it took as long to cut out and interface the pieces, as it did to do the actual construction. The vinyl pocket has the potential to be finicky, but I was pleased how well my machine handled this fabric especially since I don’t have a teflon foot. I didn’t even end up needing to lay tissue paper over the vinyl while sewing.
The Road Trip Case looks like a great bag for small sewing projects, and would be a fabulous art kit for kids. This would definitely make a fabulous holiday gift!