Archive for the ‘Small quilting projects’ Category

I’ve made lots of bags decorated with machine quilting (actually, I only make bags to show off the fabric embellished with my free machine quilting!).  I started making machine quilted bags many years ago when I started teaching – they were a fun and practical way to show off my passion.

Here are some of my first bags.blue bag 5589

I love thGreen 6877e rounded shape and the shoulder strap ties.





I taught a workshop to make this bag, but the workshop was two days long – with *homework required* in between the two days.

I decided I needed a simpler bag.



Later,  I needed a special occasion bag for myself, and made this bag out of silk sateen.


I designed the bag to be easy to quilt, and to show off the machine quilting, but it lacked a bit in the area of sturdy construction details.





I discovered Lisa Lam’s website and blog, and learned the finer points of bag construction from her books and patterns.

I made a bag based on one of her patterns to carry an iPad, and then I had lots of fun (and spent lots of time…..) making a ‘fancy’ bag that I love to carry.

bluebag-front-4302 bluebag-back-4303








Then I put all that I had learned together….   Stay tuned for the rest of the Machine Quilted Bag story!


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It has been too long since I have written!

I finished my silver silk wall hanging for the Lowell Quilt Festival in August.  I promised a photo of the finished quilt, so here it is…

I used many different colors of silk thread to make the silver silk sateen top look iridescent, especially in the densely quilted area outside the feather border.  I used trapunto in the center chinese character, ‘tao’ (meaning the path, or the way) and in the feather border.  I’ll post some more photos soon!

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I always get so excited when I finish a project.  (That’s why small projects are so fun!)  I finished the small bag for my niece – I am really pleased with the way it turned out.

Finished small bag

The bag is made of solid cotton sateen, layered with wool batting, and quilted with silk thread.  bag-closure_7974I used a fun printed fabric for the back (which you see when you open the bag) and also in the braided strap and fabric button / tassle.

I spent the longest time trying to decide how to complete the bag with some type of closure.  I wanted the top flap to stay down, and I needed something easy – no buttons or toggles or things to fuss with – Julia is just 7 years old, after all!  And I  just couldn’t bring myself to sew a magnet (or anything else … velcro? ) under the flap.

So I made a fabric button (of sorts) and tassle, and the weight of it keeps the top flap from flying open.   Perfect for a little girl I think.

Although my daughter watched me making the bag, it wasn’t until it was finished and she realized what I was making that she became interested in it.  After I explained that it was for her cousin, I asked her if she would like one.  (What kind of question was that?)  Of course she would like one!  What color?   hmm … the usual color, of course … pink.


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My brother and his daughter visited from Singapore last month.  I hadn’t seen my 7 year old niece in over 5 years, and we had a great time during their stay with us.  My niece’s birthday is at the end of August, so I thought I would make her a small bag.  I adapted a feather I designed for one of my classes, and used a stencil for the flower.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish it before she left, but its getting close.  I am experimenting with the bias strips to make the handle/strap for the bag.

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I had great fun making a carrying case for Baltimore Album (or other) blocks this weekend.  I’ve wanted to make this project for years, as I have watched friends carry their applique blocks in these beautiful and sturdy cases.

Large case holds up to 18" blocks

Large case holds up to 18" blocks

I was pleased to have the opportunity to take a class (taught by my friend Karen Pessia at the Quilted Crow in Boxborough, MA) which made putting the case together a snap!   The case is made out of fabric-covered foam core boards cut to size, and some of the construction is a bit tricky.  We received great directions and tips that helped us all speed through the sewing.   Half of the class had their cases finished by the time they went home.

Smaller case on back holds up to 12" blocks

Smaller case on back holds up to 12" blocks

The basic pattern for this block carrying case is available in Baltimore Elegance, by Elly Seinkiewicz.  The sample in the book has an embroidered monogram and suggested applique embellishments to the case as well.  I decided it was a perfect opportunity for some machine quilting instead.  I made a small quilted (and trapunto’d) monogram in a solid  fabric which I added to the front of the case.


I made the smaller case (sewn to the back of the large case) out of a solid sateen fabric — to show off the machine quilting of course!  I adapted a stencil for the quilting pattern here:

Quilting on cover of small block case

If I make another case, I would add more machine quilting to this smaller case, for additional stability.

The next time you are working on a project that calls for embellishment, consider machine quilting as an alternative to embroidery or applique.    Small machine quilting projects like these are excellent practice, easy to quilt and fast to finish, and a great way to show off your love of machine quilting!

Now I need to start working on some blocks so I can use this case!


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