I have owned Amy Butler’s “In Stitches” for some time now and thought it would be fun to try a quilted box bag.
I selected the “Patchwork Handbag With Zipper Charm”. I thought it would be a good use of scraps and a fun first quilting project. The project requires a number of pieces of main fabric, lining, backing fabric and batting. The main pieces and lining could be cut from 1/2 yard or less of fabric. I had the luxury of selecting color coordinated scraps from the scrap bin at Contemporary Cloth. But you could use your stash or try your luck with one of the scrap bags.
The pattern is written in a very descriptive style. I stumbled during the quilting section because I did not understand that an entire piece was quilted and then cut in two for the two sides. I had started by cutting out the dimensions listed in the book, things did not add up and I set the bag aside, convinced I would not finish it. I later decided to simply make horizontal strips. It’s not as visually interesting, but it was simpler for this first-time quilter. (You’d never know that I completed three years of college-level math, including differential equations!)
The pattern calls for making a cardboard insert for the bottom of the bag. I simply couldn’t see how this would make the bag sturdy enough – at least for my taste. So when making the lining, I attached Timtex, a fairly sturdy sew in stabilizer, that is great for bags and totes. This added wonderful shape to the bag – so much so that I did not need to add the cardboard. Even after adding my wallet and several other items the bag held its shape.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the bag. I learned how to make a box-shaped bag. And next time, I will be a bit more adventurous in my quilting!