Bluebird Patchwork Tote Bag Tutorial

Would you like to make a patchwork tote bag? I put together this fun tutorial to practice your quilting skills and create a beautiful yet practical project. The shapes used to make the bird motif are squares, rectangles, half square triangles and quarter square triangles.

bluebird patchwork tote bag

This project was originally included in our Monthly Fabric Club. I thought I’d share it here, so that you get a flavour of what we get up to in the Club. This project is suitable for confident beginners and intermediate crafters.

What you will need:

You will need 4 fat quarter fabrics in different designs for this project. You can choose which fabrics you prefer, but I used the following:

  • Fabric 1 – Light blue plain solid
  • Fabric 2 – Beige linen look
  • Fabric 3 – Dark blue floral vine
  • Fabric 4 – Dark teal plain solid

You will need a scrap of the following:

  • Fabric 5 – Mustard plain solid (you only need 3¼” square)

You will also need ½ metre for the front panel and lining:

  • Fabric 6 – Blue ditsy floral

Cutting Guide

Click here to download the free PDF Cutting Guide for this project.

Creating your Bird Block

  • All seams are ¼”
  • Dotted (broken) lines are sewing lines
  • RST = right sides together
  • HST = Half square triangles
  • QST = Quarter square triangles

Cut out the pieces detailed on the Cutting Guide.

HST and QST construction diagram

Start by creating your HST (half square triangles) as shown above, placing RST. Open out and press flat.

Then create the QST (quarter square triangles), placing RST. Open out and press flat.

sewing rows together on the patchwork panel

Lay out all your pieces. Sew pieces together in rows and then sew each of the rows together, as shown in the diagram above.

adding borders to patchwork panel

To complete the block, sew the two 2” border squares to either side of the top border piece. Repeat for the bottom border. Sew the side panels to the main panel and finally add the top and bottom borders.

Creating your Patchwork Tote Bag

Cut the following:

Cut (1) 15” x 15” for the back panel. I used the beige linen look fabric (fabric 3).

Cut (2) 15” x 15” panels for the lining. Use the ½ metre fabric (fabric 6).

Cut (2) 21” x 2½” handles. I used the dark teal fabric (fabric 4).

laying out lining fabric

Place your 2 lining fabric panels RST. Sew along both sides and the bottom edge, leaving a 3” gap in the centre of the bottom edge. Trim off the excess fabric on the bottom corners.

sewing front and back panels together

Place your front panel and back panels RST. Sew along both sides and the bottom edge. Trim off the excess fabric on the bottom corners and turn right side out.

bag handles

Take one of your handle pieces and fold in half longways, iron in place. Sew along the long length. Turn right side out. Press flat. Repeat for the second handle.

attching bag handles

Pin your handle onto the top front panel, making sure the open ends of your handle are 1½” off the edge and 3½” from each side corner. Repeat on the back panel with your second handle.

bag handle attachment diagram

You can see the spacing clearly, in the diagram above.

attaching outer bag and liner

Place the outer bag inside the lining bag with RST, pin in place. The open ends of the handles will be sticking out as seen in the photo.

Sew all the way around the top edge, sewing in place your handles and joining the lining and outer bag.

bagging out

Turn right side out through the gap you left in the bottom of your lining fabric. Take care to remove the pins that you used to position the handles. Press.

sew line for tote bag handles

Sew along the top edge on the front of the bag shown with red dots on the photo. Taking care to stich in the ditch. This seam will also go over the open ends of the handle that are now encased inside your bag. This reinforces your bag handles.

sew line on tote bag top

Sew along the top edge back panel (1½” down from the top edge), just like you did on the front. I changed the colour of my thread so that you don’t see the stitches as there is no ditch to stitch in.

finished bluebird patchwork tote bag

All that is left to do is sew up the hole in your lining and give it all a good press. Now your patchwork tote bag is ready to take out with you on your next trip to the shops.

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