Your choices for Halloween treat bags are many and varied: paper pouches, hard plastic pumpkins, even the old-standby: a pillowcase. But none of those is as cute as our reversible fabric tote. The easy patchwork pattern is bright and fun, but still filled with your favorite Halloween icons, like bats and spiders and moons. The heavy-duty webbing handles mean your little goblins can fill up with lots of tasty treats. And, it's a Green Halloween alternative to all the traditional throw-away decorations.
Our project is based on using a "charm pack." This is a bundle of pre-cut squares from within one coordinating fabric collection. It's a great way to go when you have something that calls for patchworking. You save time with the pre-cut squares and the bundles are very inexpensive. One of our favorite online outlets for charm packs is Fat Quarter Shop.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Jem Gold 3)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 18 5" x 5" fabric squares: we used Sanae's Spooktacular charm pack
- ½ yard of 45" wide black lining fabric: we found a plain black cotton in the remnant bin
- 2½ yards of black nylon webbing for handles
- All-purpose thread in black
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Pinking shears or rotary cutter with pinking blade and mat
- Tape measure or seam guage
- Straight pins
- Iron and ironing board
- Place 18 squares in desired order on large flat surface to form one three-square x three-square patchwork pattern for the front of the bag and one three-square x three-square patchwork pattern for the back of the bag.
NOTE: If you are using a charm pack, the squares you will get are random, so you may or may not be able to exactly duplicate our pattern. Simply mix and match to create a pleasing design, alternating darks and lights, patterns and solids, bolds and petites.
- From the black lining fabric, cut one rectangle 14" wide x 26" long. This is just slightly larger than needed; we'll trim to fit exactly later in our steps.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Collect the three squares you want in your first row. Pin the first two squares, right sides together, along one side.
- Sew together, using a ½" seam. Iron seam flat.
- Take the third square in your sequence, and pin it, right sides together, to the completed two-square piece.
- Sew together, using a ½" seam. Iron seam flat. You now have one completed three-square row.
- Continue in this same manner until you have six equal three-square rows.
- Pin one three-square row to its neighboring three-square row. Be very careful to match your seams so you end up with nice square corners.
- Sew together, using a ½" seam.
- Continue in this same manner, adding one new three-square row each time, until you form the completed three-square x six-square patchwork rectangle. Remember, at each seam, pin and stitch carefully to keep your seams aligned so your final intersecting corners will be exact. Iron all seams flat.
- To place the black webbing for the handles, start with one end positioned three squares down and centered along the seam. Pin in place.
- Run up the seam, make a 15" loop to create one handle, then run the webbing back down the other seam line all the way to bottom. Pin as you go. Make another 15" loop for the second handle, then run up the original seam line to your starting point. Trim the webbing so the two ends are flush and butt together. Make sure all the webbing is securely pinned in place.
IMPORTANT: To correctly attach the webbing to the patchwork, you must both start and stop your seam lines ½" from the patchwork's raw edges. This is necessary because you will be stitching the patchwork to the lining along these raw edges and so need ½" free for your seam allowance.
- Edgestitch along both sides of the webbing. Do not sew along the handle loops.
- Lay the patchwork over the black lining fabric. Trim the black lining fabric rectangle to exactly match the patchwork rectangle. It should trim to approximately 13" x 25".
NOTE: We recommend laying it out and trimming it in this way (as opposed to measuring and cutting it 13" x 25" to start) because the webbing may pull a little at the fabric after sewing, and you want the two pieces to be exactly the same size so the lining fits inside the bag just perfectly.
- Separate both pieces and set aside.
- Working first with the patchwork panel, fold it right sides together, matching all raw edges, and sew up both sides with ½" seam. Leave the top open. Finish top raw edge with pinking shears.
- Then, take the black lining piece, fold it in half right sides together, and as above, sew up both sides with a ½" seam. Leave the top open. Finish top raw edge with pinking shears.
- At each bottom corner of both the patchwork "bag" and the lining "bag," measure in 1½" and draw a diagonal line across the corner.
- Sew across each corner on its diagonal line.
- Trim excess fabric from seamed edges with pinking shears.
- Turn lining bag right side out. Keep patchwork bag inside out.
- Place lining bag inside the patchwork bag. The two bags should now be right sides together. Be careful to tuck the handle straps down towards the inside of the bag so they don't get caught in your seam.
- Pin the raw edges of the two bags together at the top, matching raw edges and lining up inside side seams.
- Going slowly, and being particularly careful along the top by the straps to make sure you don't catch them in your seam, sew a ½" seam allowance around the top of the bag. Leave a 3"- 4" inch opening for turning bag. Be sure to backstitch (back-tack) at both sides of the opening to keep the seam from ripping open during the turning process.
- Turn the bag right side out. Push out all corners with your finger or a blunt edge tool, like a large knitting needle, so all your corner points are nice and sharp.
- Push lining down inside the bag and top stitch all the way around the top of the bag. This will close up the opening used for turning and give you a nice finished edge. You will be stitching across the webbing.
- Press. Fill with candy.
Hints and Tips
It's always important to start each new project with a new needle, but it's particularly important with this project. Webbing (used for the bag's handles) can be tough to stitch through so you want a fresh, sharp, heavy-duty needle. For more about needles, read our tutorial: Quick Tip: New Project, New Needle.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Michelle Pacheco