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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Holiday Tutorial: 12 pocket bag from SewCalGal

Our third tutorial today in our Holiday Tutorials series!  Every Thursday into December we're having guest designers and bloggers share a tutorial that you could use as a gift this holiday season.  SewCalGal is sharing her fabulous bag that can be used in all sorts of ways.  I wish I had a tally on how many bags I've made!!  Love this version too, can't wait to try it out.  Check out SewCalGal for some inspiration on all things sewing, quilting, embroidery.  She shares her favorite products, designs, tools, etc..  Thanks so much for sharing with us today!

Hi!  This is SewCalGal.  For those that may not know me, I'm a blogger that focuses on research and sharing insights about those in the quilting, sewing and/or embroidery business, as well as events. On the internet, I prefer to be known as SewCalGal as I want the focus to be on those in the business and not on me personally (I live a boring life and am not that talented).

SewCalGal  host's the annual Golden Quilters Awards every Spring, which is like the Oscars for those in the Quilting business, as well as other events.  You can help to nominate and vote to ultimately give recognition to those in the business in a variety of categories (e.g. Best Teacher, Best Author, Best Designer, Best Product, etc.).

I'm currently hosting the 2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge where 12 FMQ Experts provide a tutorial every month.  I also host Fun Friday Giveaways which allow me to showcase a sponsor and their product(s).  And,  I'm currently working on plans for some fun events to be announced early next year.

I'm delighted to be here today on the Quilt Story,  and want to share a tutorial to make a very handy tote that also makes an excellent Christmas gift, as well as a bag for a Christmas gift.  But I use this pattern throughout the year for a variety of gifts and fundraisers.  I've shared the complete tutorial for this bag on my blog previously, so today I'm sharing a reduced version with more insights on how to take this design to make it your own, as well as ideas on how to use it.

Time to talk about this very easy &; fast bag that you can make for Christmas gifts, or for a variety of uses:

Here are my favorite ways to use this bag:

- make with Christmas fabrics and fill with a Christmas present

- make with garden theme fabrics and fill with a small potted plant, seeds, or gardening tools

- make with nautical or beachy fabrics and  fill with beachy things (e.g. beach towels, sunscreen, visors, etc) to give as a gift, or use at a fundraiser.

- fill with fruit or baked goods to give to someone as a thank you gift.

- fill with fabric, rulers and quilting supplies to give to a quilting friend.

I've also machine embroidered names on the outside of the bag to personalize it, as well as embroidered various designs to give the bag more interest.  There are so many fun fabrics that can make this bag look great, as well as make a special seasonal bag.    The above bag was made from fabrics in my stash and used in a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen for The Cure.  It was filled with various goodies, including a bottle of wine in a matching wine bag.  I remember how excited the winner was to receive it!

When using this bag at a silent auction fundraiser, where I need to to stand up firmly, with items inside, I will recycle cardboard boxes and place two large pieces on the inside of the bag, filling the space between with goodies to fill a gift basket, where it overflows.  I will then typically wrap the entire bag in cellophane and add a bow, to allow the gift basket (bag) to have good visual impact.  It always has a good ROI at silent auction fundraisers.

Do you have an idea yet for how you can use fabric in your stash, or buy fabric to make this bag for your use or for a gift?

With 12 pockets this bag is popular with quilters that take items to workshops and/or sew-cials, as well as grocery shopping.  It can be made in a variety of sizes and fabrics.  And, you may want to adjust the size of the pockets, or number of pockets, depending on your preference.  You can also adjust the size of the pockets depending on which fabric you want where.  The measurements in this tutorial are for the deeper pockets, but take a look at the photos of the bag with the black/darker colors and you'll notice I used smaller pockets.  I've made these bags with a variety of size pockets, but have come to personally like the deeper pockets, depending on what focal fabric I select for the pockets.

This is also an easy bag for experienced bag makers to add a zipper.  Again, there are many options to take this design and make it your own.

While I am not a professional pattern maker, I wanted to share my pattern with you. You have my permission to make bags using this pattern for your own use, for gifts, or fundraisers, but not for personal profit.

SUPPLIES NEEDED • Fabric A: Fat quarter for lining

• Fabric B: Fat quarter yard print for bag

• Fabric C: Fat quarter for stabilizer (*)

• Fabric D: ½ yard for large pockets

• Fabric E: ½ yard for small pockets

• 3 ¼ yards web for straps

• thread to match web


o Fabric A: 2 pcs 18" x 18" (lining)

o Fabric B: 2 pcs 18” x 18” (bag)

o Fabric C: 2 pcs 18” x18” (stabilizer)

o Fabric D: 2 pcs 22" x 18" ( large pockets)

o Fabric E: 2 pcs 16”x18” (small pockets)

o 2 pieces of web for straps, each 58 1/2” long

(*) Stabilizer is optional if Fabric A and/or Fabric B is stiff. I sometimes use canvas for Fabric B, or vinyl for Fabric A, and then I do not use stabilizer for Fabric C. But If both Fabric A &; B are lightweight fabrics, such as cotton, I will use a stiff stabilizer for Fabric C. And definitely when I decide to embroider on Fabric B, I use a heavy weight stabilizer.


1. Stack Lining &; Bag fabrics together (A&;B), with right sides of fabric facing each other.

2. Stack stabilizer on top of bag fabric (B&;C).

3. Sew one side of fabrics using ¼” seam with right sides of (A,B,C)

4. Repeat steps 1 thru 3, to create the other side of the bag.

5. On flat surface (I prefer my cutting mat) open where print side of fabric is facing up (A&;B), in an open fashion (not stacked).


1. Fold pocket fabric print in half crosswise: pocket should now measure 11 x 18 (D). Place folded D fabric on bag print fabric (B) with fold towards top.

2. Fold pock fabric print in half crosswise; pocket should now measure 8x18 (E). Place folded E fabric on top of large pocket (D) with fold side towards the top and cut sides lined with bottom of bag print (B).

3. Pin to hold in place.


1. Measure and mark 5"-6" form each side of body unit: repeat for second body unit.

2. Cut web strap into two pieces, each measuring 58 ½” long.

3. Pin 1 piece of web strap inside marking starting at lower left edge looping web over top and continuing down right side.

4. Topstitch web in place starting from bottom edge of unit up to 1" below top. Repeat for second body unit. I like to topstitch my web strap down, using a ¼ inch foot with a straight stitch on each side of the web strap.


1. Place both bag sides together, with front fabrics facing each other.

2. Match points together where straps meet, pockets meet, top of bag meets and lining meets.

3. Pin to hold together at match points, corners and as appropriate.

4. Sew a seam on three sides, leaving an opening at the top end of the lining {visualize a pillowcase}. I use a ¼” straight stitch seam, followed with a zig zag seam on the edge. But you could use a serger, as well as a 5/8” seam.


1. Box corners of the bottom of the bag, to help it stand flat when used. I mark the corner the same on each side, typical 2-3” from the point.


2. Turn the bag where the bag fabric is on the outside and lining is on the inside of the fabric.

3. At the open end of the lining (the end of the pillowcase) you will sew and close by pressing a ½” seam, with the folded fabric of the lining going inside, towards the seam. Once pressed, pin the two sides of the lining together and sew ¼” seam to close up the lining.

4. Push the lining back down inside of the bag.

5. At the top of the bag, pin the lining down inside of the bag. Sew a ¼” seam around the top of the bag, holding the lining down inside of the bag.

Congratulate yourself. You’ve just made a bag following instructions of a non-professional pattern maker.



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Farm Gate Creations Incorporating Hummingbird Quilting said...

Great tutorial, Thanks for sharing.

Jack Cruz said...

Very nice bag. I should try it up. Thanks.

Gift Ideas for Women

Dana Gaffney said...

What a pretty bag and well thought out tutorial. I'm going to make at least one for an auction in an upcoming fund raiser. Thanks so much!

Pam said...

thanks for sharing will make nice gifts for my nieces

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Great bag and super tutorial. Thank you for sharing.

Joanna said...

Nice tutorial. Thank you. I can see using it for shopping or the farmer's market. Something I can use and enjoy.

Julie Cefalu said...

I love a good bag with lots of pockets and this one fits the bill! Thank you for a great idea and tutorial!

Snoodles said...

I've got your bag bookmarked, and you reminded me of it! I love this because of all the great pockets. I hope to make one for a Christmas gift. Thank you for a super tutorial!

Barb said...

I need to pin this for future use...thanks so much, wonderful tutorial!

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

Neat bag and thanks for a great tutorial!

I Quilt Scarlet and Gray said...

Great tutorial, now I just need to make time to try it out!!!

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