Category Archives: machine quilting

Panel bag

I have quite a few panels at the shop. They are great for quick quilts, especially chidren’s quilts. Some of the panels are made up of smaller pictures and these can be cut up and made into cushions, table-runners and placemats and I like to make them into bags.

I thought that I would share with you how I make a panal bag.

At the moment I have the ‘Promise of Spring’ panel which is super cute with bunnies in teacups.

I chose two of the panels and 3 of the coordinating  fabrics, you could choose 4 if you wanted different fabric for your handles.

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Fabric amounts :                                                                                                                                                 2 panels                                                                                                                                                                  1 Fat Quarter for bag sides.                                                                                                                             1/2 metre for bag top, bottom and handles ( if you want a different fabric for handles – a long quarter for handles and a fat quarter for bag top and bottom)                                                  1/2 metre for bag lining.

I work with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Cut the pieces for the bag sides – measure the height of your panel this will be the length of your strip (my panel measures 12″) Cut a 3 1/2″ wide strip and cut to the length of your panel. You’ll need 4 strips. (Take care if your fabric is directional.)

Sew these strips to each side of your panels.

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Measure the width of your panel now -including the added strips.                                                  For the bag bottom – cut a 3 1/2″wide strip and cut two pieces the same measurement as your panel.                                                                                                                                                            Sew them to the bottom of each panels                                                                                                     For the bag top – cut a 2″ wide strip and cut two pieces the width of the panel.                         Sew these to the top of each panel.

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Layer the panels on top of a piece of wadding that is slightly bigger than your panel.

Quilt the panel as you wish.I quilted around the edge of the panel ‘in the ditch’ and around the bunnies, followed the lines in the stripey fabric on the top and bottom and a bit of ‘free-motion’ on the sides.

Make your handles – cut two 4 1/2″ wide strips from the width of fabric.                                     Fold the strip in half length ways and flatten the fold. Open the strip out again and fold the  edges into the middle using the crease as a guide. Fold back in half and sew along the folded edge about 1/8″ in from the edge. Sew down the opposite edge. Repeat with the other strip.



You now have two handles – you can cut them to your desired length. I like mine slightly longer because I like to slip them over my shoulder, but you might want shorter ones, just remember to add an extra 1/2″ to your desired length for seam allowance.

Sew the handles to the top of the panels measuring 4″ in from the side edge.

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Place the raw edges of the handle against the top edge of the panel. Sew a rectangle at the top of the strap and sew across the diagonals to give extra strength, about 1/2″ deep.              Repeat on the remaining 3 strap edges.

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Join the two panels together along the bottom, place right sides together and sew along the bottom edge.

Cut the lining fabric – the same size as the two panels sewn together.Place the lining rights sides together with the panels.

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Sew the lining across the top of the bag, encasing the handles, 1/2″ down from the raw edges.

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Take the two top seams and line them up together, so that the lining is right sides together and the panels are right sides together.

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Sew down from the top to the bottom on one side.

On the other side, sew along the edge but leave about a 4″ gap in the middle of the lining edge.


Box the corners – take the corner and flatten out so the seams and fold of the bottom are lined up and it forms a triangle – measure 1 1/2″ down from the point of the triangle this will give you a 3″ line from edge to edge, draw along the line, then sew along the drawn line and trim 1/4″ away from sewn line, cutting the triangle off.

Do this on all 4 corners.

Pull the bag through the gap in the lining and poke the corners out.                                               Hand sew the gap closed.

Oversew the top edge of your bag, sewing about 1/8″ in from the edge.

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Enjoy your bag and all the compliments you’ll get from having such a gorgeous bag 🙂

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Sunshine and Sales….

with the temperatures soaring last week we took drastic action and took our class room outside! If you don’t know The Corner Patch it’s  in the corner of an arcade of 5 shops – the building was previously a garage before it was converted into the arcade. It’s a single brick building with a corrugated roof and so it’s a fridge in the winter and in the summer it’s  like a green house, we do everything we can to try to cool it down with fans but as the day gets warmer the classroom upstairs becomes more like a ‘sweat shop’!

So I bought a couple of gazebos and carried the tables and machines out into the ‘garden’ at the back of the arcade.

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It proved to be a great hit with my ladies, they loved it! it was a little tricky when the breeze got up and there was a little chasing of pieces around the garden but it was worth it, to be a bit cooler. So much more comfortable than upstairs – I think some of the ladies would like it to become a permanent fixture.

Carrie is one of my ‘Absolute Beginner’ ladies and she has made this lovely babies ‘playmat’ for her friend who’s baby is due soon, with the leftover bits from her first quilt, she dropped in on Wednesday to get a bit of help with the binding and the result is lovely.

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Carrie’s playmat ready for the hand sewing bit.

Thursday saw Chris teaching the last ‘Block of the Month’ before we break up for the Summer (we give Chris a rest through August) ….

Sheila also brought in a bag she has made for her friend using the Thimble Pleasures panel

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Lucky friend, I say.

Do you remember me talking about showing Barbara how to do foundation piecing and I showed you the unit she made – well she made 3 more and brought in the completed block – it’s so pretty

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and whilst all this fun in the sun was going on I was folding and sorting fabrics ready for the sale that started on Saturday. We had a busy day and lots of people came and got some bargains. But don’t worry if you weren’t able to make it on Saturday, the sales on all week and there are still lots of bargains to be had.

Have a lovely week and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts, knowing the British weather it’ll be raining again soon.

Quilt as desired…

three words that can send a chill through some patchworker’s heart.

The very thought of the quilting brings some of us out in a cold sweat.

I remember being quite scared the first time I quilted my first quilt. I’d spent such a lot of time choosing fabric, designs and then carefully cutting and piecing my quilt top – I was so worried I would ruin all my hard work. (I think we put so much love and emotion into our patchwork )

It takes practice; Chris and Barbara both say 10 minutes a day is much better than half an hour once a month. Make yourself a ‘scribble cloth’ – two pieces of calico with a piece of wadding in the middle and just doodle (with thread) on it.

I find it helpful to doodle my ideas on a piece of paper before I even start on my quilt, it seems to get my brain used to the pattern (Chris calls it ‘muscle memory’) then I always make myself a scribble cloth in similar fabrics as what I’m going to quilt and have a little practice with threads and patterns to get the effect I want.

Yesterday Chris was teaching the basics of Machine Quilting at the shop, the ladies had been learning straight quilting, slight curves, following a pattern and the dreaded ‘free-motion’ quilting and they have all survived.

Some lovely results for a first try at machine quilting. Chris will be teaching a similar class again on Thursday 29th September.

So give it a try, don’t be frightened, even the ‘experts’ had to start somewhere and practice, practice. practice and as Chris says ‘just remember to breath!’

Until next time,                                                                                                                                                   Happy Quilting x