Sunday, August 16, 2015

Improvisation on the Improv Tote

Quilt as You Go (QAG) is a favorite  of mine because of the many variables in design when doing it. It is quick and easy and if you haven't tried it, I think once you do, you will love it too.

When I first saw this easy quilting project from Jenny of MSQC and Vanessa of Crafty Gemini, I immediately started looking for a jelly roll to make one.  Of course you can use 2 1/2 in strips, but using the jelly rolls are really fun. I've posted their videos  at the bottom to show you how they quickly made these bags. They will also provide a list of materials you need, but what I love about the bag is the Bosal Foam. You can get it in various sizes, single sided fusible and double sided fusible.

For the tote I made, I chose a jelly roll and liner from the Low Tide Collection by Jane Dixon from Andover.  I also chose the foam with only a single fusible side.  You can buy it in various sizes depending on what you are making and the size you want. I also wanted a little contrast to this tote so I used a faux leather ( sorry, I don't know where I got it) for the straps and bottom.

You don't have to do this, but I separated the strips from the jelly roll into three different color values. I thought this would make it easier to choose as I sewed them to the foam.
Now the fun part: begin with two pieces of strips and sew them right sides together on top of the foam, along one side. You really can't make a mistake with the QAG method.  You don't have to start in the middle or on the end, you can start wherever you want to and use whatever size to start with. 

After I kept piecing and sewing, I pressed the pieces so they adhered to the foam. This is just so cool.
Keep on going' however you wish.
Here's a look at the back. Not the greatest site, but who cares? No one will see it anyway.
Keep on selecting your pieces, sew and press.  

When you have the entire piece of foam covered with strips, press it again and trim each of the sides. 

At this point, if you want to, you can add another quilt design. I decided to do an easy wave design in keeping with the ocean, wave,  and tide theme.
This picture isn't the greatest, but you can see the waves on the wrong side of the foam as well.  
Here is where I decided to add some additional improvisation to this project. I wanted to add a little more contrast to this project.  I cut the foam in half and sewed it right sides together at what I determined to be the bottom.
I then cut a piece of my faux leather and placed it equidistant on either side of the bottom seam. I topstitched it to the QAG and foam.
I also made the handle out of the faux leather by cutting them the length I wanted,
and folding them in and clipping them with quilt clips to hold in place. I didn't want to use pins because they would leave holes I didn't need or want. I  also used a leather needle for this material.
Oh No! My machine has been used so much this summer, it's in need of a tune up! Time to add some oil. :)

Back to the tote: I placed and sewed the handles of the bag where I wanted them.
My second improvisation to this bag is the addition of pockets on the bag liner. A woman cannot have too many pockets in her bags.  This is very easy to do, cut a piece of fabric the depth you want and the length of a side. Sew a line where you want to divide the pockets.
At this point you need to sew the sides and adjust the bottom corners of the bag. The videos I posted below do a much better job showing you this than I could, so check it out before sewing the lining to the bag as I have below. Be sure to leave an opening in a side of the lining because this is where you will turn it right side out.
After you sew the lining to the foam, be sure to trim close to your stitching line.
Now you can have some fun flipping the bag right side out through that opening in the liner.  
The third improvisation I made to the bag was to add a magnetic closure. Just a little extra protection for keeping the contents of the bag inside where they belong.

Top stitching is next. Once I pushed the liner inside the bag, I stitched through all layers around the top of the bag, including over the handles.
So what do you think? I like this bag because it is deep, has many pockets and looks interesting with the QAG design and pattern of the fabric. I've had so many really great comments about it. I'm definitely going to make more.  

Lessons Learned:
1. I'm glad a separated the different colors at the beginning. I think they are spread out nicely on the bag.
2. When I added the magnetic clasp, I forgot to put them on before sewing the lining and the outer shell together. I had to get the good old seam ripper out and take out some of the seams to get the magnets in. Next time it will be done right.
3. I used the foam on some Halloween Coasters  I made as a precursor to this project because I had never done QAG before. I can't wait to see what else I can use this great product for.

I can totally see a blog hop about what others have made using this foam. Have you used the Bosal foam for a project? I'd love to see  your ideas.

Thanks for stopping by One Twenty Seven.

This project is partying at : 

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