Learn more about Rebecca Roach of Frybread Quilts & Cuterie in her introduction. Rebecca designed this Pocket Full O’ Geese Tote for her recent QuiltCon adventures, and today she shows you how to make one of your own!
Pocket Full O’ Geese Tote by Rebecca Roach of Frybread Quilts for Sew,Mama,Sew!
This project started out with my yearning to make a new bag for QuiltCon; I wanted to make something that not only looked nice, but also seemed very quilt-ish. (Is that a word? It is now.) I mean, if any other quilter looked at it, then they would immediately know I’m a kindred spirit!
Anyways, I learned about dimensional flying geese quilt blocks quite some time back, and it dawned on me that I could turn them into something functional. My brain started churning, my hand started drafting, and the Pocket Full O’ Geese Tote was born. Enjoy!
- Standard sewing supplies– Rotary cutting tools, sewing machine, iron, marking tool, thread, etc.
- School glue
- Freezer Paper
- 1 yard of fabric for outside
- 1 yard of fabric for inside
Rotary Cutting Prepwork
Outside Fabric: Cut an 18” x 36” strip, one 18” square, four 4.5” x 7.5” rectangles, and one 8.5” x 8.5” square. Set these aside.
Inside Fabric: Cut two 18” x WOF (width of fabric) strips. Set one strip aside and cut an 18” square out of the other strip to make the pockets.
1. Fold the 18” square of inside fabric in half with wrong sides together and press the crease well. Place the Template on the fold (making sure to leave enough room for a second one) and use the guidelines to cut out the Pocket Piece. Move the template over on the fold and use it to cut out another Pocket Piece.
2. Sandwich a Pocket Piece between two 4.5” x 7.5” rectangles of Outside Fabric with right sides facing in. The straight edge should be on the right side.
3. Sew a quarter inch seam down the right side.
4. Open the unit and finger press the triangle. Gently tug on the bottom of the triangle to make the top point very sharp.
5. Flip the pocket over and press the seam open to reduce bulk.
6. Match up all of the edges and pin into place, then sew a quarter inch seam around the pocket. Take care to backstitch at the sides of the triangle because this is where the most stress will occur.
7. Sew a second seam about an eighth of an inch below the bottom seam for even more strength.
8. Repeat Steps 2 – 5 to create a second pocket.
9. Line up the top edge of one Pocket Piece with the triangle bottom of the other right sides together and pin into place.
10. Flip everything over so you can sew a quarter inch seam on the wrong side of the triangle from the right crease to the left crease. (You can mark the creases if it helps!) Press the seam away from the triangle.
11. Line up the top edge of the 8.5” x 8.5” square with the second triangle bottom right sides together and pin.
12. Sew and press these together the same way as Step 8.
Freezer Paper Template
1. Make sure the edge of your Freezer Paper roll is straight and true, and then fold the left corner up to make a 45 degree angle. Crease this fold well.
2. Measure up .5” from the edge and use this line to cut off your template from the roll.
3. Unfold your template and flip it over to the write-able side of the Freezer Paper.
4. Line up your ruler a quarter inch to the right of the crease and draw a line for your seam allowance.
5. To define the boundaries of your flying geese design, draw a line 1.5” parallel to the left of the crease line and then draw another line 1.5” from the left edge of the template.
6. Rotate the paper around 180 degrees to start drawing in three Flying Geese Units. Remember that all five of the Geese– including the pockets– will need to fit onto this template.
7. Place the pockets on the bottom third of the template and then draw in the corresponding seam lines to make them fit on the panel.
8. Draw in the other geese units any way you like and mark them Top, Middle, and Bottom.
Piece These Geese
1. Start with Bottom Geese Unit and cut a strip of Outside Fabric that’s approximately an inch taller than the triangle and about half as wide as the entire template.
2. Cut a strip of Inside Fabric that is about an inch bigger than the triangle on all sides.
3. Fold under the edge of the Outside Fabric to match the angle of the template and press the crease with your fingernail. Make sure there is an equal amount of fabric above and below the triangle.
4. Holding the Outside Fabric in place, lift up the creased angle and carefully slip the Inside Fabric underneath so that it evenly covers the entire triangle.
5. Apply a thin line of School Glue to the underside of the creased angle and lay it back down into place. Press with an iron to set the crease and dry the glue.
6. Open the fold and sew a seam along the crease; you may have to mark the crease to make it easier to see. Trim the seam allowance back to a quarter inch.
7. Repeat these steps for the other side of the triangle, except substitute this pieced unit for the triangle.
8. Mark a dot at all four corner intersections on this row.
9. Line a ruler up a quarter inch outside of the top two marks and triangle point, then use this line to rotary cut the excess fabric for a straight row. Repeat for the bottom two marks.
10. Repeat Steps 1 – 7 for the both the Middle and Top Units.
11. Piece all three rows together.
12. Cut a piece of Outside Fabric large enough to cover the top of the template and piece it to the rows of geese.
13. Cut pieces of Outside Fabric that are large enough to cover the template on either side of the Geese Pockets and use a .5” seam to sew them on.
14. Piece this Pocket section to the rows of Geese to complete the panel.
15. Use the Freezer Paper template on top of the panel as a guideline for trimming; you may need to rotate it a bit to make sure everything fits correctly.
16. Iron the template down onto the fabric so that it stays in place.
17. Trim the overhanging edges on both sides of the panel using the template as a guide… But not the bottom edge!
18. Mark the line along the bottom of the Freezer Paper template.
19. Use scissors to carefully trim the excess fabric WITHOUT CUTTING THE POCKETS! This is key!
20. Unpick about a quarter inch up the two side seams on the pockets to allow room for joining the panel to the 18” x 36” strip.
21. Place the pieced panel on top of the 18” square of Outside Fabric and line up the edges. (The bottom should hang down by .5”.)
22. Sew the two pieces together from corner to corner and press. Trim the seam allowance to a quarter inch.
23. Pin back the pockets on the panel and line up the bottom edge with the 18” X 36” strip of outside fabric. Pin into place.
24. Sew together and press away from the pockets.
25. This newly completed strip should measure 18” X 54”. If your measurements went awry while piecing the panel, then it’s fine to add extra Outside Fabric to the strip to make it the correct length!
Constructing the Outer + Inner Bags
1. With the Outer Bag fabric lying right side up, fold up one of the short ends 18”. Pin the right side into place.
2. Sew with a .5” seam. Backstitch at the start.
3. Box this corner by using the 45 degree angle line on a ruler and line it up with bottom of the seam. Slide it down until it measures 4.5 inches across the corner and mark this line.
4. Sew on top of the drawn line and trim the seam allowance down to .5”.
5. Turn the fabric around and repeat Steps 1 – 4 for the other short end of the fabric strip.
6. Secure the last inch of seam allowance at the V intersection on both sides of the bag by applying School Glue and pressing it with a hot iron to dry. This will prevent shifting later.
7. Use a ruler and mark the seam line at the V intersections on the wrong side of the fabric.
8. Flip the bag right side out and press the seams.
9. For the Inner Bag, if your 18” x WOF strip of Inside Fabric is less than 54”, then you’ll need to add fabric from the second strip to make it the correct length. Mine was actually 56”wide, so I had to trim it down to size.
10. Repeat Steps 1 – 8 to construct the Inner Bag.
Sewing the Bags Together
1. Flip the Outer Bag inside out and place the Inner Bag inside of it; the right sides should be facing each other.
2. Starting at the V intersections, match everything up and pin the edges into place all around the top edge.
3. Mark a 6” – 8” opening on the side catty-corner from the Flying Geese units.
4. Starting at the edge of the opening, sew all along the top of the bags with a .5” seam. Backstitch at the beginning and the end.
5. Clip the V intersections.
6. Flip the bag right side out through the opening.
7. Fold under the seam allowance in the opening and press the seams flat all the way around.
8. Apply School Glue in the opening and press with a hot iron to hold it shut.
9. Tuck the inner bag inside and press the seam all along the top edge. Pin into place.
10. Top stitch all around the edge to finish.
Securing the Handle
1. Overlap one of the handles over the top of the other and pin to hold in place.
2. Mark a 1” square with an X through the center.
3. Sew double lines on top of the marked square and sew over the top stitch lines that overlap the other handle to secure.
Yay– You’re done!
Enjoy your new tote!