Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Patch your Bag!

I like colorful and I like variety!  So my latest purse is a favorite!
Sidquilt's Patchwork Sheila Purse

I used the pre-cut squares from a quilt kit to make a Sheila Purse.  Whether you buy a Charm Pack or use your scraps, here's a quick tutorial on how to use patches to make a purse.

Charm Pack

You may be familiar with Charm Packs - pre-cut packs of 5" (or sometimes other sizes) squares of an entire line of fabric.  This allows you to have every print in every colorway at a better price!  They're named after the old "Charm Quilts" - which used only one of each fabric to make a multi-patch quilt.

Charm Quilt
A Charm Quilt

In this case, I received a quilt kit (for a baby-size quilt) that included a charm pack of really cool bright-colored squares.  I go for the brights!  

I set some aside for my Charmer Tote, which uses pre-cut squares, but that one's still not finished.  I wanted to use some to make my favorite everyday bag, the Sheila Purse.  Here's how you do it:

Basically, stitch enough square patches together for each pattern piece.  There's really not that much math involved, I promise.  For example, this pattern piece needs to be 7" x 8".  If your patches are 5", you can count on the finished size (after stitching a 1/4" seam allowance) to be about 4.5".  So stitching these four patches together made a big enough piece (9" x 9").  

You can make it even easier by using the.paper pattern pieces included in my PDF patterns.  Just keep stitching patches until you can tell there's enough to cover the pattern piece, plus some extra to trim!

A note about stitching charms together:
Most charm packs have pinked (zig-zag cut) edges so they don't fray.  Don't get concerned about your seam allowance - I use the "outside" points as my target for the 1/4" seam I use to join the squares.  The important thing is to be consistent.  When I'm trimming the patchwork to size for the purse, I always trim off the pinked edge for accuracy.

Before you trim, make sure and align one of the horizontal lines of your ruler with the seams.  It will make your patchwork look more balanced, even if you cut the patch "off center".

I like to make the pieces "off center" - that will make the patchwork different sizes, which is more interesting.  So trim a tiny bit off two adjacent sides, then turn the square and trim to size.

A larger piece (this was the flap lining) requires more squares (9) but you can still see I trimmed it "unevenly".

You won't need to worry about matching any seams or folding some of the pieces because they're all off center!

You'll end up with lots of little snippets that you can throw away!  Use one solid fabric for the lining, for strength.

After cutting all the patchwork pieces, fuse your interfacing the regular way (over any seams).  It works perfectly, and makes a really cute purse!!

 I even pieced the strap - just joined charms end-to-end to make them long enough and trimmed down to size.

By the way, did you know you can piece your fusible interfacing too?  Just cut to width and overlap about 1/8"!  Straps are a great way to use all those trimmed pieces of your fusible interfacing!

Tailore Tote
Tailored Tote looks great patched too!!

Why not patch a bag today?