PROJECT IDEA: ART QUILTED TOTE BAG

I was most fortunate to be able to attend a hands-on class with quilt artist and teacher, Gloria Loughman from Australia in 2018. I already owned 3 of her books, had attended a lecture she presented at a local Quilt Guild and was super keen to experience her teaching first hand. I signed up for her Radiant Landscapes class where she teaches her unique tiled background technique which forms the back drop for beautiful landscapes. Please refer to Gloria’s website and her books for more information about her quilting art and techniques. I chose to do an African sunset with Acacia thorn tree silhouette and my favorite elephants.

Today I want to share my enthusiasm about Gloria’s tile technique  – I ended up cutting  even more fabric and assembling another backdrop in shades of yellow and orange.

Instead of this becoming another landscape wall hanging ( with oddly upside-down flowers?) , I decided to make a practical tote bag ( you can never have too many of these, right?). The shades of yellow and orange made me feel happy so I have called this my “happy” bag. Flowers also make me smile, so what a perfect addition to my happy tiled backdrop?! The flowers were fussy cut from fabric in my stash after I had fused fusible web onto the reverse side of my floral fabric. After positioning the flowers on both sides of my tote bag, I was sure this would be just the project to banish winter and welcome in Spring and summer of 2019!

Using the fabulous new Janome HP2 foot which combines the incredible straight stitching of the HP foot and needle plate with the proven benefits of the Janome Acufeed Flex foot. Here I am adding jelly roll strips to my tiled background with a quilt- as- you – go technique. The HP2 foot gives me the advantage of perfect 1/4 piecing with feeding multiple fabric layers at the same time.

Here is how this project made it from Gloria’s class to toting stuff around:

Next up was to fuse my fussy cut flowers to both sides of my bag and then zig-zag with 2 different variegated cotton threads around the roses. I adjusted the zig zag stitch as I did not want a tight satin stitch – just a small zig zag to secure the edges of my roses. I used the Janome appliqué foot AP, invisible appliqué stitch and invisible thread for the 2 buds.

And the other side of the bag. Don’t flowers make you smile – but especially after a long and snowy winter? After fusing, I appliquéd the flowers using a variety of appliqué stitches, threads, and Janome feet.  In this pic, I used variegated cotton thread, the blanket/appliqué stitch and the Janome F2 open toe foot so that I could see exactly where I was sewing to position my stitches along the edges of my flowers.

Next up was to trim the bag and sew the side seams. I chose to straight stitch using the Janome Acufeed Flex HP2 foot first and then neaten with yellow thread on my Janome serger. I also sewed the “box” shape for the bottom of my bag and neatened that edge with my serger as well. See pic below.

 

The handles were next: I sewed 2 jelly roll strips together along the long edges. I pressed the seam to one side and then pressed a 1/4 seam under along one long edge – to the wrong side. Long skinny strips of batting scraps where laid down the strip , the edges folded in with the pressed fold over 1/4 inch on top. Stitch through all layers with appropriate thread colored thread in both needle and bobbin ( you will see the bobbin thread!)I used my favorite serpentine stitch. Press. Tip: to reduce bulk on the ends of the straps where you will turn under the raw edge and sew to the bag, leave approx 1/4 inch on the ends without the batting.

Use a jelly roll or other strip of fabric for the binding for the top edge of the bag. Fold in half & press. Attach to the wrong or inside of the bag, sew in place checking first the width of the seam. It should cover your stitching when flipped over to the right side or outside of the bag. Sew as you would for a binding on a quilt and join the ends of the binding with your favorite method.

I like to use Clover clips for holding my binding in place while I stitch it down. I chose in this case to use a decorative stitch – the star or daisy stitch. See below.

Now attach the straps or handles to both sides of the bag. Measure and pin in position so that the straps are evenly spaced. I stitched a square and diagonals to secure well.

Lastly, I added a button hole and button to the centre top of my tote. I like to secure the opening in a simple, easy to use way to prevent my stuff falling out or the bag gaping open. Both the button hole and button were sewed on my Janome sewing machine using the buttonhole foot R and button sewing foot T.

And the other side of the bag…….now what shall I put into my tote and where shall I go?? I think I may add a bit of quilting to the top section above my tiling and have already added a decorative button since taking the photo – just to cover the stitching for the button which came through all the layers.

About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
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8 Responses to PROJECT IDEA: ART QUILTED TOTE BAG

  1. Louis & June Perreault says:

    Hi Liz

    It is beautiful, you are so talented.

    June

    Like

  2. Julia says:

    Love your landscape wall hanging and your tote. Also, like the colours for both projects.

    Like

  3. Judi says:

    That’s a really pretty tote, thanks for sharing your technique!

    Like

  4. Rosalind McGarrigle says:

    I really enjoyed your article but I was disappointed that every picture had to be accessed via a link. Embedding links is not user friendly. I would have preferred that the pictures be in the body of the article.

    Rosalind

    >

    Like

    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Rosalind,

      I will investigate this more fully when I return to Canada. However, I did check the published post on my phone, iPad and 2 computers and all the pics came up embedded in the text as they always do when I publish on this Word Press platform. I’m not a computer geek but I wonder if your computer settings might not be reading this format correctly. They should not be appearing as links.

      Liz
      JNAOME CANADA

      Like

  5. Sonia says:

    very, very lovely

    Like

  6. Linda says:

    Love! Liz, I think you might be the only person I know who makes more bags than I do. It is almost always what I do with projects from technique classes!
    Awesome!

    Like

  7. Sherrie Johnson says:

    This is such a beautiful tote. Love the colors you’ve used. And the technique is gorgeous. I checked out Gloria Loughman’s books on Amazon and may just have to order myself one. So, so pretty.

    Like

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