I’ve been chipping away on a couple of new Frankenbags over the last few days. Tonight I finished one and got the panels quilted for another one.
Here’s the front view of tonight’s finish.
It’s made from all KFC fabric scraps, except for one black and white fabric on the back — the one that’s set on the diagonal in the big block.
And here’s the back.
I decided to use one of my FAVORITE KFC fabrics for the lining — Paisley Jungle Tangerine. It’s so fantastic!!!
Hey! And look! It’s on the top of that wonky block on the front of the bag!
I’ve also been working on a bag made from the fabrics left over from this quilt. I finished piecing the panels last night and got them both quilted tonight. These fabrics are all KFC in the contrast colorway, except the jumbles aren’t contrast. And the swirly white background is not KFC.
These panels have taken some time to make because I’m somewhat limited on the scraps I have. It was tricky to make the blocks out of the limited longer strips I had available. But I made some fun ones.
One of the large blocks is a simple star block.
One smaller one is a not very perfect log cabin with a fussy cut center.
This other small block is free form and wonky with a fussy cut center.
And the larger block on the other panel is a sort of log cabin kind of thing.
I have a few crumb pieces left but not enough to make another tote. I’ll have to think about what I can make from them.
It was another nice day here in Portland. We had nice sunshine most of the day. The boys were happy when I stepped away from work for a game of frisbee.
I visited my herding teacher at her sheep ranch Saturday and got to hang out and smooch on some lambs for an hour. It was a gorgeous sunny day full of lambs that were just hours old.
These little lambs had been born the night before. They were so tiny and so amazingly cute. Do I look happy? It was so fantastic!
I also learned a lot about what lambing season is like for a sheep ranch owner. I’m really glad I don’t have a sheep ranch of my own! But it’s really nice to have friends who do.
After seeing lambs my friend and I went to another friend’s place and did some sheep herding, followed by a nice hike with my boys on BLM land.
What a gorgeous spring day! Nothing like a sunny spring day in the Pacific Northwest.
I didn’t do any sewing last night because I had to be up ridiculously early today to head to Olympia, Washington, for a sheep herding trial. We were in the car and on our way at 5:15 this morning. By the way… I am NOT a morning person.
Rico did a great job at the trial and we were done nice and early. I was back home by noon. I took a little nap and then hit the sewing room and assembled the Frankenbag panels I started on Friday.
I got them both quilted and ready for assembly tonight. I used the same matchstick and wavy line quilting as on the other two bags I’ve made. I like the matchstick quilting at the top of the bag as it ads some additional structure to keep the shape.
After I started quilting I regretted that I hadn’t checked my bobbin to make sure there was enough thread to finish one piece. Well, I did run out part way through, but it happened right at the end of a row!
I didn’t finish the bags tonight because I’m pretty tired and was afraid I’d make a mistake. So I pulled out my KFC contrast color way scraps from my first Ruffled Feathers quilt and started putting together crumb blocks. Here’s a pile of the first chain pieced crumb pieces.
… and a nice stack of blocks of varying sizes that will be put together like puzzle pieces later.
I wanted to see how these would all look as larger piece so I laid some out side by side.
I think this will be a fun one! I will have to make a few accent blocks out of some rectangles that are left over since I don’t have any orphan blocks on these fabrics. Haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do for those blocks but I will be limited a bit by the sizes of the scraps. I’ll probably toss some low volume black and whites in there.
I’m so glad the weekend is here and it’s gonna be a fun one! Tomorrow I’m meeting a friend down at my herding teacher’s farm to visit her lambs! I haven’t had my hands on lambs for a couple years and I’m so excited! I just love lambs. One of my favorite things about spring.
That’s me with a brand new lamb back in 2017. Look how happy I am!
After we see the lambs we’re going to a different friend’s place to do some herding training.
Then on Sunday, Rico is entered in another sheep herding trial up near Olympia, Washinton. Later on Sunday I have a Zoom call with my siblings and nephews. We haven’t done that for a few months so that will be fun.
I’m feeling a real surge of creativity in sewing right now. I had so much fun making my two crumb and improv pieced totes bags earlier this week and I can’t wait to make more.
I’ve been working on organizing my scraps and creating some random blocks and crumb blocks the last couple of evenings.
I think I have enough crumb pieces to make two bags. I’ll need to make a few bigger blocks to fill it all out and make them interesting.
I have so many ideas running around in my head. It’s so funny to me that I can get so excited to make something new and can almost be obsessed about it. But I’ve had more fun making these bags than I’ve had making anything else for awhile. Maybe because they’re small and finish up quickly. But I think part of it is that they’re so free form and creative. At any rate, all I can think about is the next bag I’m going to make.
In going through my KFC scraps I found a bunch of scraps from my first Ruffled Feathers quilt made from all contrast color way fabrics. I’m pretty sure there’s enough to make one of these tote bags. It promises to be chaotic but probably fun! I’m giving some thought on what to combine with those fabrics to make it interesting.
My friend offered the other night to send me some of her scraps and I told her no. Well, I called her today and told her I needed her scraps! I don’t have enough scraps to match up with my ideas!
I’ve been thinking about black fabrics recently. I’ve been looking at a lot of them on Pinterest and have some ideas percolating for a quilt. So I went online the other night and ordered some black and white fabrics. I had a few pieces already, but not enough to make a black and white quilt interesting.
I just love graphic black and whites combined with bright colors. So many ideas running around in my head, but this may all go toward some kind of zig zag quilt. I have a pattern I’ve wanted to make for a couple years and my friend loaned me the required template.
I’ve been worried that my trusted iron is on the way out. My mom gave me this iron when I graduated from college back in 1983! It’s got a lot of miles on it and it’s a great iron. It makes me so sad to think it’s life might be coming to an end.
It LOOKS like it’s got a few miles on it.
I don’t want to end up without an iron because that would mean I can’t do much sewing. So I went on Amazon tonight and ordered a new one. It will be here on Monday. And guess what. I bought another Sunbeam Steam Master! I hope the new one is as good as this one.
I had so much fun making that quilted bag last night that I decided to make another one. I decided to document how I made it and share it here so you can make one of your own.
I’m calling this my Frankenbag because it’s made from a lot of spare parts! I dug into my orphan KFC blocks and crumb blocks to incorporate them here.
I think I like this one better than the first one I made! It’s about 13 inches high and 15 inches wide at the top edge. It’s a generous bag, but not TOO big. And it has a nice deep gusset. It will hold a lot of stuff.
Let’s dig in and make one! And a note to you… I’m writing this assuming you know basic sewing and construction techniques. But hopefully it will work for sewers of all skill levels.
Here’s the materials you need for this bag:
Scraps or fabric to make the front and back of your bag. I made mine with crumb quilting and orphan blocks. You can use any technique you want to make your scraps into a panel, or use blocks you already have. You could even cut up a quilt to make one. This is a good opportunity to try something new!
1/2 yard of fabric for the lining. I love a lining that does my pieced panel justice! A nice pop of color or print in a lining is so much fun! Don’t skimp on the lining!
1/2 yard of fabric for the backing for your quilt sandwich when you quilt the front. This can be essentially any fabric as it will be hidden inside the bag. It’s a great way to use up larger scraps or fabric that you can’t imagine what made you buy it five years ago.
1/2 yard of fusible fleece or batting.
Cork fabric that is large enough for you to cut 2 pieces at 3×18 inches each.
Make the Handles
Fold the cork fabric in thirds lengthwise and clip.
Stitch a line of top stitching along the long edge on each side of the handle.
(I have added some notes on different handle materials, handle length and placement for a shoulder bag at the bottom of this post.)
Make the pieced panels for the front of the bag:
(Note: I used my time machine and went into the future and made a bit of a tutorial showing how I make these pieced panels. You can find it here.)
Make a pieced panel of your choice. I used crumb piecing and some orphan blocks, bordered them with fabric and combined them in a really random way. You can use blocks you have on hand, or make some new blocks for this. You can do improv piecing, paper piecing, anything that floats your boat. This tutorial is written for a 17×17 inch square panel.
If you want to do some crumb pieced blocks, check out my blog post that includes some info on how I make mine. Or go to Youtube and search for “crumb block tutorial” and you’ll get some good options.
These panels are really the fun part for me! It’s a great opportunity to make something that you’ve always wanted to try. Just make sure that yours end up 17 inches square.
For my Frankenbag, one panel was all crumb pieced and the other one included some orphan blocks with crumb piecing. Here’s both panels:
The panel on the right is all crumb piecing. The one on the left includes two orphan blocks. Here’s all the pieces I had available to use in this orphan panel:
I chose the pineapple block and the small log cabin block. I put the black and white jumble border on the larger pineapple block, and a red guinea flower border on the smaller log cabin block.
This picture shows part way through putting this panel together. The next step was to sew the crumb piece at the bottom to the top part. As I put these together I kept in mind that 17 inch square I needed and put these pieces together with that in mind.
Once it was all sewed together, I trimmed it to 17 inches square.
Quilt your pieced panels
I used fusible fleece for my bag, but you can use any batting you like. The fleece was cut to about 18×18 inches and fused to the back of the pieced panel. If you’re using fusible fleece, be careful when using your iron on this. Keep your iron on the panel fabric and don’t get too close to the edge and melt the glue exposed glue on the fleece.
Then I cut a 19×19 piece of the fabric for the back of the quilt sandwich. I used two batik fat quarters that I’ve had laying around forever. Remember, the print on this fabric doesn’t matter because it will all be hidden inside the bag. It just adds some stability to your quilting.
Make your quilt sandwich with the backing fabric first, then the fleece and panel on top. I like to have the backing a little bigger than the fleece/batting, and have the panel a little smaller. This helps make sure that things don’t shift away from the edge as you’re quilting and you can be confident that all of your quilting will have batting and backing behind it.
I used some spray basting to adhere the backing to the fleece.
Quilt your panel in any way you like. I used my walking foot and did some matchstick quilting on the top 1.5 inches of each panel, and then used wavy horizontal lines for the remainder of the panel.
Use your favorite method, or try something new! It’s just a 17×17 inch piece of fabric! Nothing to lose if you mess it up!
Once you get your two panels quilted, trim away the extra batting and backing. Keep these as close to 17×17 as you can.
Next, cut out a 2.5 inch square from the bottom corners of both panels. This will become the gusset which makes the bottom of the bag flat.
Attach the handles to the quilted panels
I actually did this after I sewed the side seams on my bag, but it would be easier to do this prior to sewing the sides together.
On the wrong side of the panel, locate and mark (on the wrong side) the center of the top edge of each panel. Then measure 3 inches over on each side of the center and mark with a pen.
With the handles on the right side of the panel and the ends of the handles facing up, line up the handle inside the 3 inch mark. Leave about 1/4 inch of the handle edge sticking up beyond the top of the bag, Pin the handle securely in place. I use two pins.
Make sure your handle isn’t twisted. The same side of the handle should be against the panel on both sides. If you have the front side touching on one side and the back side on the other side, your handle will be twisted. Take some time to flip your handle up after you pin it to see if it looks right.
Stitch the handles onto the panels. I just sew one long line from one handle to the next, making sure to go back and forth across each handle end a few times to reinforce it. Make sure that all of this stitching will be inside your seam allowance so it won’t show.
Sew the sides and back of the panels
Put the two panels right sides together and pin the sides and bottom, and then sew along all three edges. I used a seam allowance of about 3/8 inches. You can use any seam allowance you like… quarter inch, or something larger. Just be sure to use the same seam allowance on all of the bag seams so your lining will fit the outside of the bag.
Press these seams open. I like the 3/8 inch seam allowance because it’ makes it easier to press these seams open. These panels are pretty thick, so pressing the seams open helps reduce bulk at the top of the bag.
Make the gussets
Push the side and bottom of the outside of the bag together until the side and bottom seams match and voila! You have a gussett! Make sure you have right sides together.
Line up the seams and pin the gusset. Sew it with the same seam allowance you’re using elsewhere. Be sure to back tack at the beginning and end, and be careful sewing over the seam allowances. It’s bulky and can be a needle breaker! Go slow!
Look at that beautiful gussett!
Make the lining and pocket
Take your half yard of lining fabric and cut the whole thing to 17 inches wide. Cut off the selvedge, cut a 17 inch square, and leave the section on the fold intact — this will become the pocket.
To make the pocket press the fabric to remove the fold. Fold the piece in half the other direction with right sides together.
Sew around three sides of this folded piece, leaving an opening large enough to turn the pocket right side out. Clip the corners and turn the pocket right side out. Gently push out all the corners and press the pocket, making sure to fold the seam allowances under at the opening. Topstitch across the top of the pocket. You get to choose the top! Your pocket should be close to square, or it may be a slight rectangle. Just decide which side you want to be the top.
Now cut a 2.5 inch square out of the bottom two corners of the lining pieces.
Take one piece of the lining and mark the center. Place the pocket on the right side of this fabric. Make sure it’s centered, and place it about 3 inches down from the top of the lining.
Pin it in place and stitch around the sides and bottom of the pocket. Back tack at the two top edges.
Honestly, no one will ever know if your pocket is crooked, but you’ll feel better knowing it’s not on a slant.
Place the two lining pieces right sides together and pin. Sew the bottom seam and the two side seams, LEAVING A SIX INCH OPENING IN THE MIDDLE OF ONE SIDE SEAM. This is very important! This opening will allow you to turn the bag right side out after you attach the lining to the bag front. (It’s a good idea to press back the seam allowances on that opening now while the lining is flat. It will make closing it up later much easier.)
Press the seams open. Then make the gussets the same way you made the gussets on the outside of the bag.
Attach the lining to the bag front
You’re so close to being done!
Turn the bag front wrong side out and the lining right side out. Place the lining inside the bag. Your pieces should be right sides together at this point. Match and pin the side seams, and then pin all the way around the top edge of the bag, matching the top edges.
You can see the ends of the handles sticking up above the top of the bag. Don’t freak out. This is supposed to happen.
Your handles should be BETWEEN the outside of the bag and the lining. If they aren’t, stop now and figure out what the hell is going on!
Sew a seam all the way around the top of the bag. Back tack at the beginning and end of this seam. Be careful of all that bulk where the side seams meet and at the handles. . Speed kills at this point. And it eats needles!
Reach through the hole in the side of the lining and gently turn the bag right side out. Put your hand inside and push out all the bottom corners.
Line up the sides of the opening in the lining and pin it carefully. Stitch the opening closed very close to the edge, making sure you’re catching both sides.
Push the lining into the bag, smoothing and pushing the corners into the corners of the bag front.
Press the top of the bag so the seam is at the very top. Take a few minutes here to make sure this looks nice. This careful finishing makes a big difference in your bag.
Top stitch about 1/4 inch from the top of the bag. It’s a good idea to go back and forth at the handles again to reinforce them. it’s also a good idea to be mindful of all that bulk at this stage. Back tack at the beginning and end of this top stitching.
AND YOU’RE DONE!!! I hope you end up with a bag you love! I’d love to see a photo of your bag if you make this. You can email me at email@example.com
Leave me a comment if you have a question, or if you find an error.
NOTES ADDED ON 4-4-2021 TO ALTER THE HANDLES
The first four Frankenbags I made had cork handles. And that was all the cork I had. So I went online and found some at Fabric.com. When it arrived I realized it was really thin and didn’t feel like it would hold up with use. So I went online and looked for other options.
I sat down after work tonight and decided to start working on a bag made from the crumb panels I made last night. It went together really easily and it turned out so cute!
It’s a nice generous size and I put a slip pocket in the lining.
I trimmed the two crumb panels to 17 inches square and made a quilt sandwich out of each piece. I used my walking foot and started out with matchstick quilting and I liked doing it, but I realized it would take a week to get this all quilted with that narrow spacing. So after about 1.5 inches of matchstick, I switched to an organic wavy line.
The section with the matchstick became the top of the bag.
Here’s a photo of the wavy quilting.
I decided to make the handles out of some cork fabric that I’ve had for a while. It was really lovely to sew on and I like the way the handles turned out.
My cork was 18 by 12 inches, so I was limited on the length of handles I could make. 18 inches is fine for regular handles, but not long enough to put over your shoulder. I’m going to keep an eye out for cork that comes in larger sizes for more flexibility.
I cut the cork 3 inches by 18 inches and folded it lengthwise in thirds. I clipped it all in place and top stitched down both sides.
I’m curious to see how the cork wears and washes. It has a nice soft feel and is comfortable.
I dug into my drawer of larger pieces of fabric to see what I wanted to use for the lining and selected this gorgeous Philip Jacobs Snow Leopard design. It’s called Padma. And it’s perfect!
I just love a bold and surprising lining to a bag. In my mind, the lining is not the place to skimp!
I wanted a nice deep gusset on this bag, so I cut out a 2.5 inch square from each of the bottom corners of the lining and bag front.
You can see the pocket on this lining piece.
I love making gussets this way! They come out beautifully every time.
The paisley fabric you see was used as the backing for the quilting. I left the wrong side out so it wouldn’t be as dark. I knew it would eventually be covered by the lining, but wanted to add some stability to the quilting.
I had so much fun making this and am so happy with how it turned out… I’ll definitely make more of these!
I took a little diversion tonight and continued taming some of my KFC scraps. All these little pieces came together in crumb blocks.
I kept some scrap strips aside to complete the starburst blocks I’m making. But I actually used up almost all the other KFC small scraps that I’ve saved. This is all I have left:
I made a few nice size panels that will make a fun project. I’m thinking I’ll use the two larger panels on the right in this photo to make a medium size tote bag.
The one on the bottom right measures about 19 inches square.
I’ve been wanting to try some matchstick machine quilting and will probably do that on this bag. I’m thinking I’ll make a deep gusset on the bag as well, one single handle long enough to go over my shoulder and maybe a couple pockets on the inside. It’s all up in the air, but that’s what I’m thinking.
When I make these crumb blocks I chain piece them and it goes pretty fast. It’s amazing how quickly all those tiny pieces turn into larger panels.
I do enjoy making crumb blocks. Improv piecing like this truly is my happy place. It’s nice to just let each piece be what it wants to be.
Took a photo during our afternoon walk today. So many trees in my neighborhood are blooming and the aroma in the neighborhood is so lovely. I came across a winter Daphne today that smelled so incredible! And some apple trees were so lovely.
My forsythia is in such gorgeous bloom right now. It’s at it’s peak.
This is just it’s third bloom. It’s grown crazy fast. It was only about 18 inches tall when I planted it two years ago. It’s going to get a serious trim when its bloom is done. I like them to be all sprangly rather than shaped, but this is a little thin. I’m hoping trimming it back will encourage it to thicken up and fill in.
We have a couple more days of rain and then a stretch of really gorgeous weather coming up. This is usually a very rainy time of year here in Portland, so this will be a treat and everything will come to life and explode with blooms!
I have no idea what I did today that took up all those hours! I slept in a little. Got up and had a leisurely breakfast. Then I sewed a few blocks for my sunburst quarter log cabin blocks.
I need 17 more of these for the main body of this quilt top and got 15 of them made today. Then I’ll need to make a few more larger ones that will be cut in half for the setting triangles.
I did take just a few minutes this morning to replace the muslin on my ironing board. I’ve needed to do this for awhile now and it feels good to have it all clean and nice.
I used a double layer of muslin and attach it to the ironing board with elastic clips. It works really well.
It was supposed to be rainy today but we were able to get out and take a nice four mile walk in the early afternoon and we didn’t get any rain at all. We had the roads and trails pretty much to ourselves. I think everyone was thinking it was going to rain.
Then I lost a couple of hours. I honestly don’t know what I did with all the hours today. So after apparently daydreaming away a couple hours I had an early dinner.
Then I hit the sewing room and continued making sunburst blocks. I wrapped up my sewing by taking a pile of smaller KFC scraps that have been collecting as I sew the sunburst blocks… and sewing them into some crumb pieces. It felt good to get this pile cleaned up and a little more organized.
A friend of mine gave me some daffodils the other day and I tried something I’ve been wanting to try. I put red food coloring in the water. If you do this when the daffodils are just opening up, they will draw up the colored water and the color will appear on the petals.
You can just barely see the touches of red on the edges of the petals. This is after just one day. It will be interesting to see if more color appears over the next few days.
I dug in this afternoon and pinned and sewed the final three horizontal seams for this bright quilt and can now count it among my finished quilt tops in the last year — number 16.
I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. And I can’t believe I waited so long to make one.
Because of the mistakes I made the last time I worked on this, the final assembly was a little harder… I had a harder time keeping track of how the rows should go together. I had to do a lot of checking and rechecking as I prepared to sew the final seams. But It’s all correct and my previous mistake didn’t cause any terrible issues with the design.
Here’s some eye candy…
And the obligatory close ups because these fabrics are so amazing!
When this was done I decided that I needed to get organized and ready to finish the scrappy KFC starburst half log cabin quilt that’s been on my design wall for months. I’ve decided to gift this quilt to my brother and his wife for their bed and needed to figure out how many more blocks I need to make.
They want the finished quilt to be 84 x 104. I have 88 blocks done and need to make 17 more full size blocks. I’ll also need to make around 15 additional blocks that are a little bigger for the setting triangles. See this blog post to see what I decided to do for setting triangles.
My design wall isn’t big enough to accommodate this entire quilt, so I’m using the Styrofoam extension that I made a few months ago and am laying the quilt out sideways. I plan on putting several borders on this to get it up to the size I need. Unbelievably… I’m almost out of my KFC scrap strips. I’m hoping I have enough to finish the blocks I need.
Once I made the notes I needed to wrap this up, I took all these blocks off the design wall and put them away.
Then, to wrap up my time in my sewing room I took all my Ice Storm blocks and put them up on the design wall.
I’ll look at this for a couple days before I start sewing it together. Tomorrow I plan to work on some of my new Ruffled Feathers blocks and will probably crank out some sunburst blocks.
I’m starting to think about the next quilt I’ll start. I pulled out all my Brandon Mably Jumble fabrics the other day and stacked them all up together. They are so pretty!
I’m thinking of combining these with a bunch of the more whimsical low volume fabrics I’ve purchased recently. Thinking it might be another fun trip quilt.
I did go online and order a few color ways of the jumble that I’m missing. I’ll wait to decide what to do with these until I get that order.
I took the boys for a nice long walk this morning before the rain started. We walked five miles and ventured into a neighborhood we don’t typically walk in. It was nice to have some new surroundings.
I felt really confident that I would finish this Scrappy KFC trip quilt top this evening. I had a quilt guild Zoom meeting and pinned and sewed the final three rows of blocks while I listened.
I would have completed this tonight except that I sewed two of the rows together wrong, which meant that they wouldn’t work with the rows they were supposed to be next to. Rather than pick them apart I was just able to move the top row to the bottom of the incorrectly sewed two rows and it will all work.
See that single row across the middle? That was supposed to be the top row.
I think it will be fine to sew it together this way. But I will turn that top section of two around the other way to see how it looks before I sew it all together.
I walked into my sewing room at one point in the evening when part of this was sitting on my cutting table and it was just so pretty!
It’s definitely prettier close up when you can see the variation within each fabric.
I decided it was better to put this aside and wait to finish it, rather than plug on and make more mistakes. I should be able to finish this up tomorrow night and then put the Ice Storm blocks up on the design wall.
Here’s my boys from our afternoon walk today. They were very excellent posers… even Rico!
And such a beautiful sky tonight as the sun was going down.
It’s done! I sewed the final four horizontal seams after our walk this evening. This is my 15th finished quilt top since the pandemic started a year ago.
I had another webinar this morning and took the computer into my sewing room so I could get the ten rows for this quilt top pinned in pairs as I listened and watched. I actually got all ten rows pinned and the five pairs sewn during the webinar … and managed to join in the conversation online! It was a productive hour!
Here’s the five sets of two rows all sewn together and pressed.
It feels so good to have this done and it seems like it went together really quickly.
Here’s the two final sections all pinned and accordion folded… ready to sew the final seam.
As I was pressing the final seam I was admiring all the beautifully pressed seam allowances on the back. It’s really pretty when it comes together nicely!
Here’s a close up of the quilt top. These blocks are so pretty when they’re all sewn together. I’m so glad I finally got brave enough to make a sixteen patch. And now I can’t force myself to make a quilt that isn’t made from 2.5 inch strips!
Our walk this evening was the first one we’ve had this year that took place in daylight… and it was wonderful!!!
This is our last nice day before the rain settles back in for the next ten days. It was wonderful while it lasted.