Thursday, November 14, 2013

picnic quilt tote

Ok BMQG Ladies this is for you, I will be demonstrating this at the November meeting, I will be referring you back to my blog for picture details if you are a visual learner.  I have now made 4 of these quilt totes starting with this lovely quilt commissioned by an etsian, those 2 quilts blogged both have gussets, this sounds complicated but it just a matter of adding 2-4" strip of fabric to your zipper before you apply it to the quilt.  This is necessary if your quilt is fluffy or large, which both of those were.  The plus quilts I am demonstrating are only 67" square and fairly thin so they fit with just the zipper.  Speaking of must use a zipper that is heavy duty and sturdy for it will be getting some wear and tug, you want to shop for one that is also wide because the wider the zipper edge the more space for your folded up quilt and a much easier zip when folding up.  The purchasing of the zipper will be your most challenging part of this project!  If you are lucky enough to happen upon a "sleeping bag " zipper at the fabric store grab it, they are 100" long, which is too big but the are wide and sturdy, otherwise you need to head over to the upholstery section and buy a zipper by the yard or an upholstery cushion zip.   You will probably need somewhere around 48" It is a good idea to finish your quilt and fold it and measure before you buy your zipper...unless you strike gold with the sleeping bag one.  

7 Easy Steps and 21 Pictures to your Quilt Tote!  
  1. Your quilt: If making a new quilt you may bind three sides if you wish and leave the binding free for the side with the zipper or wait until the last step to bind.  If you are using an existing quilt, on one side pull out the stitching and free the binding from the quilt as below

2. How to measure for the zipper: Lay quilt out and depending on size you will fold in half or thirds (A.) Then bring the ends to the middle (B.) At this point you will measure from your fold in the middle around the outside edge, down the fold and back to the middle edge.  That is the length of your zip, when you open up the zipper to apply it will then go around all 4 sides. Another way to think about measuring the zip is to measure the circumference of the folded quilt and divide by 2.


3. Prepare straps: Flip the folded quilt over and you will have your working surface for applying the handle(s) and zip.  You will have to determine the length of your own strap to your preferences and if you would like 1 or 2, or if you want to get fancy with an adjustable strap (if you cut them off of duffel bags before you toss them like I do then you can cheat a bit) or embellish any ribbing, jute webbing, nylon strapping, make your own with fabric and a stabilizer....get creative.
If using one strap, take measurements of the top of the tote (along the binding) find the middle and then center for one side and evenly space the straps, do the same for the second strap.  Stitch them on by going over stitching multiple times, making sure the ends don't fray you may zigzag too. You may then bind your quilt, keeping in mind you need an open place for zipper ends but I would rather rip out an inch of stitching later to keep the flow nice and smooth. Then refold the quilt to have (C) facing up to continue.



4. Prepare Zipper: Lay zipper out on folded quilt (D.) leaving a few inches hanging off the end, measure around 3 sides and add 2" for safety. Cut zipper at top (make sure the pull is below cut) 
Cut a piece of fabric 2 1/2" X 2x the width of zipper plus seam allowance
i.e. my zipper is 1 1/4 wide so I will cut fabric 2.5 X 3"
you will then fold right sides over the end of your measured zipper (E.), stitch along the bottom edge encasing the zipper, be aware of the zip part and use the wheel to lower your needle one stitch at a time so you don't break a needle, then run a stitch as close to the zip side without catching the zipper. Pull stitched fabric right side out (F) trim if too long and fold raw edges in and top stitch (G)





5. Attaching Zipper: (H) Open zipper up and lay right side down, this part is too tricky to explain so I will refer you to the pictures. (I) starting in the center of your folded quilt start pinning the zip with the teeth facing inward. (J) run the zip over your straps along the edge of the binding. Being careful at the corners to round them out and pin well but do not lip corners,( it will seem tight for now but will be perfect later)
(K) Pull the stitching now from your binding and insert the top ends of the zipper, I pin one side at a time and then make sure its all even then insert the tips into the binding (K) (L,M) is the pinned zip ready to stitch.




6. Stitch the Zip: Open the quilt flat and attach your walking foot, insert the quilt and align the needle to the outer edge of the zipper and position the teeth on the left outer side of your foot,(N) slowly stitch. When you have stitched the zipper all the way around, replace the top stitching over your zip ends. (P)



7. How to fold and zip:
Depending upon your quilt size if you folded in thirds or in half twice its still the same basic fold, (Q)Lay flat with handles at top, fold up (R,S) and fold into the center (T) then zip (U)