Building A Better Bag - Easy Quilting

Kris Poor Building a Better Bag

Let’s keep going with the better bag series; a series of blog posts that takes a basic bag and levels it up. We will add details to the bag as we go along. Time to get started! We are using the “A Novel Approach” bag pattern. This bag was designed to use those small novelty squares in the pockets. It is a quilted tote – pretty basic, but pretty useful! If you are following along, you can use the techniques that we show here to any bag!

I am using QT Fabric’s On Painted Wings panel combined with the Euphoria line. Love the bright and fresh factor of these fabrics! 

This week, let’s talk about quilting with Bosal In-R-Form Plus. Last week we talked about fusing the  double sided fusible foam and this week, we’ll talk about quilting it. 

First off, what needle should be used when quilting with foam? In our case, we are quilting through the main outer fabric, as well as the lining and the foam. I would go with a size 90 needle, either a Microtex Sharp or a Topstitch needle. Both needles will ensure that you get good stitch formation.

For this project, I am using a walking or even-feed foot. Even though you have fused everything together, a walking foot ensures better results. A walking foot has a set of feed dogs on the bottom, and on the top. This helps to grip the fabric and move it through the machine more evenly, which is especially helpful when thicker layers.

How to mark the design? For this project, I used 1-1/2” blue masking tape. It’s a simple and re-useable option. Let’s get into it! I am quilting an on-point cross hatch design. You can also use this same technique to create loads of other designs. Start by laying a long ruler across the fused piece, aligning the 45-degree line with the bottom of the piece. Lay a piece of masking tape beside the ruler and you have started marking your design.

With your walking foot attached, stitch right beside the masking tape. I lengthened my stitch to 2.8-mm, this is my personal preference, because I want to see the quilting. I used a 40-wt thread here.

Now stitch a line ¼” away from the first – I love the double lines of quilting. 

Repeat this process on the other side of the tape, and then reposition the tape beside the last row that was quilted. 

Quilt across the entire fused piece. I can get one side of the tote done with one piece of tape (and yes, it gets a little fuzzy at the end!!).

Here is the piece quilted in the first direction:

Repeat this process, quilting in the opposite direction. Lay the ruler out on the piece, this time align the 45-degree line with the side of the piece, so that you are creating that cross-hatch. So classic!

Repeat the quilting so that you have quilting in both directions. Here is a close-up of the quilting.

And here are the front and the back of the Novel Approach Tote – all quilted and ready for pockets and straps. We'll tackle that next week!

Quilting Take-aways: 

  • Use a walking foot for even feed and beautiful stitches. 
  • Lengthen your stitch; stitches that are too short may create a stiffer feel. 
  • Masking tape is a reliable way to create quilt designs – and no marking to remove!
  • Apply this technique to other quilting designs: think chevrons, diamonds, channel quilting - the possibilities are endless!

Next week, we’ll talk about making straps and putting pockets on this tote! Thanks for stopping by!   -Kris

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