I bought a set of funky, vintage-inspired Moda fat quarters a couple of years ago. I think the collection was called “Faded Memories” or something similar. I loved looking at them, but I really had no idea what to do with them. Somehow, they didn’t seem very quilty.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Carol sent me this Martha Stewart link for a tote bag made out of a pillowcase.
A great idea, isn’t it? Unfortunately, any older pillowcases hanging around our house are not candidates to become anything but cleaning rags. So I thought I’d adapt the pattern and use four of my fat quarters instead. Worked out great! I loved the slouchy, relaxed feel of the bag. It was perfect for taking along to Chicago last weekend.
Let’s see if I can recreate the process here:
-- Put two coordinated fat quarters with right sides together, and stitch quarter-inch seams along both long (22”) edges. You’ll have a wide tube.
-- Do the same thing with a second pair of fat quarters.
-- Stack the “tubes” on top of each other and make one diagonal cut through all four layers (see the Martha Stewart pillowcase instructions). You’ll have two pairs of wedges, each with a seam down the middle.
-- Put those wedges right sides together, and stitch quarter-inch seams along each diagonal edge. Handle the bias edges carefully. Leave the long, straight edge open – this will become the bottom of the bag. Turn and press.
-- Fold each lined wedge in half again, and follow the Martha diagram to see how to overlap and fit them together. Stitch close to the bias overlapped edges on each side, being careful to keep each side separate. Turn the bag inside out and stitch straight across the bottom (you’ll be going through about eight thicknesses of fabric by this point, so use a sturdy needle.) I also zig-zagged over the raw edge to keep fraying to a minimum. Turn right side out.
-- Martha’s pillowcase instructions just have you tie the pointy ends together, but the fat quarters don’t give quite enough length for that. I just overlapped the pointy ends by about an inch, zig-zagged the overlap a few times to secure it, and then finished it off with a coordinated tie about two inches wide. This gave me plenty of length for slinging over my shoulder.
Besides the basic travel essentials of wallet, lipstick, glasses and cellphone, this bag had plenty of room for my small knitting project and various purchases at the airport during my layover – some Body Shop lotion, a pair of flip-flops, “spa socks” for my daughter, a banana and a Newsweek magazine. No wonder I didn’t mind my flight delay!