New travel knitting bag – quilted duffle bag
I have been using a gorgeous little quilted handbag I made for my friend Mel to carry my knitting to work (just until I had a chance to give it to her of course!). However I must now hand it over – so I decided my next project would be to create a proper knitting bag – and as I loved how the quilt as you go handbag came together, I decided to use that technique again.
My grandma gave me a knitting bag years ago – which was a hexie quilt duffle bag – long and thin to fit the needles lying flat, and with rounded ends and two soft long straps. Unfortunately the colours are not really my style, and the zip has broken, so I wanted to make a new bag up from scratch. I decided to follow a similar style in terms of the basic shape though, and started looking on Pinterest for pattern inspiration.
In the end the pattern I came up with was an amalgamation of several tutorials – this Ruffle Duffle Tutorial had great pockets between the straps, whilst this Boxed Make Up Bag Tutorial had a really straight forward pattern that I could easily measure up just based on the length of my zip, which I knew was just a bit longer than the right length for the length and depth of bag I wanted.
I quilted up a large rectangle (the length of my zip, by just shy of the length as the width – so an almost square) on cotton batting using 2 1/4 ” strips of my chosen fabrics, using the sew right sides together and flip quilt as you go technique, and just did a simple straight line quilting stitch at 1/2 inch intervals all the way along.
I then sewed up my straps using this very clever tube turning tip – fold your strip of fabric right sides together in half length-wise, and sew a line 1/4 inch seam allowance at the far end – but sew the end of a piece of wool into that seam, and then run the rest of the wool along the inside on the folded edge, careful not to catch it as you sew up the side edge all the way along the length. Then you can simply pull gently on the wool and ease the fabric inside out, so that you end up with your tube the right way out – and the wool will rip out easily and cleanly from your end seam with a little bit of a tug!
Square up your quilted rectangle, using cutting board and rotary cutter, cutting off any excess batting and uneven edges from your fabric strips.
Pin the straps into place – making sure you have no twists in your loop. I measured mine 9″ in from either end. I then measured up for my pockets (NOTE: I made my pockets too tall – ideally they would sit just below the fold when the bag is made up).
I cut the batting a bit bigger and used the same QAYG technique to make up the pockets, sewing a rectangle of plain fabric to the back with a 1/4 ” seam for the lining, and binding the top in matching fabric to neaten and re-enforce the pocket opening. Then slide the pocket piece into position under the straps and pin into place.
Then top stitch all around the outside of the straps from the top of the pockets down, leaving the top free. Do a square and X pattern of top stitching in the pocket join at the top where the straps attach to re-enforce the join. Then sew a line across the middle of the pocket from strap to strap, where the bottom of the bag will be, to make the bottom seam of both side pockets.
Next I got to use my new zipper foot (a present from my lovely husband!). Pin your zip right sides together along the top long edge of your rectangle, and sew it into place. Then fold the zip back, and top stitch as close as possible to the edge of your quilting to hold it nice and flat around the zip. Make sure you leave just enough room for the zip to run smoothly in the trench.
Open up the zip and pin right sides together on the other long edge, and sew into place in the same way as above, starting from the open end of your zip.
Now , wrong sides together and zip fully closed, pinch the bag tube flat with the zip in the center (not at one end) and sew up the bag at the open end of your zip. Open the zip half way (so that you can turn it later, and sew up the other end in the same way.
Now to box the corners, pinch each corner so that the seam lies flat in the middle of a triangle, and measure the depth of your bag across the triangle, at a 90degree angle to that seam. I draw the line with my fabric pen to make it easier, then transfer to your sewing machine and stitch across. Then cut off the excess triangle leaving a good 1/4 ” seam. Do this for all four corners.
Now turn the bag the right side out and you see the finished exterior an what your bag will look like!
Take a rectangle the same length as your main bag piece was but with an extra inch either side in the depth. Then fold that extra inch inwards on either side and iron. Now fold those edges in to make a long thin almost tube, leaving a gap between the two ironed folds where your zip will go. Sew the ends up straight across to hold. Then box out the corners of your lining as you did with your main bag.
Ok so turn the main bag back inside out, and wrong sides together place the lining around the outside of the bag, and pin in place all along the zip.
Now hand stitch along the seam next to the zip to attach your lining, leaving enough room for the zip to slide in its trench.
Turn the bag the right way out and pat your lining down into place inside, and use your fingers to push out the corners on your bag. You are all finished!! 😀