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 simple fabric tote. The easy patchwork pattern is bright and fun, and the heavy-duty webbing handles mean your little goblins can fill up with lots of tasty treats. Plus, it’s a green Halloween alternative to all the traditional throw-away decorations.
Our project is based on using a standard charm pack. This is a bundle of 5″ pre-cut squares from within one coordinating fabric collection. It’s a great way to go when you have something that calls for this type of simple patchwork. You save time with the pre-cut squares and the bundles are an inexpensive to sample an entire collection. One of our favorite online outlets for charm packs is Fat Quarter Shop.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 18 5″ x 5″ fabric squares: we originally used Sanae’s Spooktacular charm pack
- ½ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton: we used black
- 2½ yards of 1″ webbing for handles; we used black polyester webbing
- All-purpose thread to match fabric and webbing
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Pinking shears or rotary cutter with pinking blade and mat
- Tape measure
- See-through ruler
- Seam ripper
- Seam gauge
- Straight pins
- Iron and ironing board
- Place 18 squares in desired order on large flat surface to form one three-square by three-square patchwork pattern for the front of the bag and one three-square by three-square patchwork pattern for the back of the bag. This is known as a traditional 9-patch block.
NOTE: If you are using a charm pack, the squares you will get are random, your best option is to mix and match to create a pleasing design, alternating darks and lights, patterns and solids, bolds and petites.
- From the 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. Press the seam allowance open and 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. Press 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 six row rectangle. Remember, at each seam, pin and stitch carefully to keep your seams aligned so your final intersecting corners will be exact. Press 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.
- Edgestitch along both sides of the webbing. Do not sew along the handle loops.
IMPORTANT: To correctly attach the webbing to the patchwork, you must both start and stop your seam lines ½” in from the patchwork’s raw edges – top and bottom. This is necessary because you will be stitching the front patchwork to the lining along these raw edges and so need ½” free for your seam allowance.
- 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 patchwork can cause some shrinkage and the webbing may pull a little at the fabric after sewing. 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 final upper 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 so all your corner points are nice and sharp. A knitting needle, chopstick or point turn are all good options.
- 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 upper edge. You will be stitching across the webbing.
- Press. Fill with candy.
Hints and Tips
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Michelle Pacheco