Bring in spring with a quilted patchwork bag

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This is a birthday present for my mother’s 55th birthday. Congratulations mom! She requested a bag made of red, yellow and green because it is going to be summer soon and I happily obliged. I love to work with bright colourful fabrics. The plan was to make her a bookbag such as the turtle or punk ones I made before to carry her book or tablet. However, when I drafted the pattern I was apparently very tired, so when I put the pieces together it turned out way bigger! But no problem, now my mom can carry around a book and lots of other stuff if she wants too. This bag is made by machine and made from scraps. For example, the light green used as lining and back is an old tablecloth.

Pattern and quilting

I found this pattern on Sewhooked browsing the internet. It is called the rainbow cascade and is part of a sew along she is hosting. On Sewhooked there are a lot of awesome paper piecing patterns. Often patterns like that allow for more complex patterns and tinier pieces. I am going to use that website a lot in the future. This particular pattern really intrigued me and I was eager to try it. I especially liked the use of colours in the pattern, which I tried to mimic in my rendition. Also had no patience to wait until I had time and fabric to join the SAL itself. The pattern works very well for this bag as well. What do you think? For quilting, I used the stitch in the ditch technique, which means you sew in the seam on the front where two fabrics meet, aka ‘the ditch’. When done well this technique makes the quilting invisible.

The handles are made by drawing a triangle shape as a template on cardboard paper, and using scraps of this scrap bag (yes they are endless, one could spend a lifetime sewing with scraps). For this, I did not use a particular order, because I like to add a bit of randomness in my quilts and bags.

Patchwork spring bag front
Patchwork spring bag front

Unfortunately, I did not have enough scraps to make a second rainbow cascade for the back. Instead, I used the light green fabric also used for the lining and mimicked a part of the pattern in the quilting. Each part of this back has two layers. Both for strengths and to ‘hide away’ the seams between the two layers. To finish the bag I attached a light green border on top. The handles are placed inside, and the border is folded over twice to hide the seams. This is secured with a simple machine stitch.

Patchwork spring bag back
Patchwork spring bag back

Here is a close up picture of how the border is attached to the inside.

Detail picture patchwork spring bag
Detail picture patchwork spring bag

A finished bookbag

And that’s it! I gave the bag last weekend and my mother was very happy with it. I gave it together with the book you see in the picture – a bag made to carry around books should have a book in it when you give it. It is a book about the history of quilting in the Netherlands and has a lot of beautiful pictures of old quilts. It was very inspirational and also interesting to read about the history of quilting in my own country. For example, quilting did not start as something poor people did. It was rather a pass-time for wealthier people because they could afford to buy nice fabrics. Fascinating the different origin quilting has in countries. Therefore I have a question for you all, I am curious to find the answer to:

– What is the origin of quilting in your country?

Quilted patchwork spring bag
Quilted patchwork spring bag

Would you like to see more quilted or patchwork bags?

See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blogpost every Sunday or Monday.


  1. That’s a lovely bag! What a great present!

    And a thought provoking question! As it turns out the history of quilting in Australia is a mix of the techniques used by Aboriginal people to sew skins together, something that was done by convict women to occupy their time on the long journey to Australia and the need for inexpensive but warm bedding! Thankyou for the new knowledge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😀 both for the compliment and your story. That is a fascinating background story of Australian quilting . First I read ‘human skin’ when you were talking about skin, but I guess you meant animal 😅.


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