Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Alison's Bag

Firstly, chickens are great. I love my hens, for lots of reasons. They make a pleasant contented sound, they give me eggs everyday, they poo a lot which is fantastic for the compost bin and ultimately the garden and allotment. They look in at me through the back door and make me smile so much.They also follow me around the garden which is great when you're feeling a bit unloved. I have three, Jean Lucy and Honey. I recommend them highly.

I made my Alison Bag yesterday, for my good friend in work, - to put her lunch in, as she always admires mine. I bought these lovely fabrics at The Festival of Quilts in August, and in Quilters Quest in Belfast. They are all  by Makower UK.

I chose to use all nine fabrics but for this project you could use fewer, two even and alternate the stripes. 

You will need nine pieces 2 inches by 20 inches.

Sew these 9 together to give one piece 14 by 20.
Iron the seams to one side at the back. 
Cut in half to give two pieces 14 by 10.
Add a 11/4 inch by 14 inch piece of fabric to the top of each piece.

The bag is box shaped so you need to add a piece of fabric 5 inches by 14 as the base.

Place on a piece of wadding that is an inch bigger all around and quilt as you wish. I went for straight lines as you can see below.

In my own bag I quilted it with a flower design. Echoing the flowers in the fabric.

Trim the excess wadding, fold the fabric in half and match up the corners. Then sew a quarter inch seam down both side.

To box the corners fold the bottom corners as shown below and mark a 2 inch line. This will be the sewing line and the excess ear bit will be cut off. 

To make the lining cut a piece of fabric 25 by 14. Fold in half, sew up both sides, again with a quarter inch seam and box the corners in the same way as the outer bag.

For each handle you need a piece of fabric 3 inches by 20 inches , and a piece of wadding 11/4 by 20.
I chose two different fabrics for each handle.

Iron a quarter inch seam the length of the fabric, then wrap the wadding so the turned under edge folds over last. Pin and sew close to the turned edge. Sew two other seams down the edge of the handle a quarter inch from edge. As below.

Pin each handle to each side of the bag, centring them about 41/2 inches apart. Sew in place with a 1/8th (or slightly bigger) inch seam. 

Putting it all together!

Turn the main bag inside out tucking the handles to the inside. Then place the lining inside the bag, right sides together as above.Sew a quarter inch seam around the top edge.

This is what it will look like. All the loveliness in the inside.

Unpick a small amount of the lining seam, probably about 4 inches. Then pull the bag through this gap.Sew the gap up again. 

I do this by machine because you're not really going to see it. If you are a Fuss Pot do this by hand and the stitching will be more discreet.
Now all you need to do is sew a seam around the top edge to keep the lining nicely tucked down into the bag. 

There you go. Isn't it a very simple little lunch bag?
You could keep your hand sewing in it. Or your knitting. 
You could use your machine's decorative stitches to quilt it, or edge the top.
If you didn't box the corners of the bag it would make a good Book Bag.
Scale the dimensions up or down.
Lots of possibilities.   

And do think about giving a few battery chickens a happy retirement.


  1. hi, love the photos of the love some ex battery hens as well but there is a fox who regularly visits our garden...dont think they would last too long! thanks for the tutorial about the bag, ali

  2. Thank you Ali. The chucks are the best. They're so funny. Well you are quite lucky to have a visiting fox. They're beautiful animals. I see them on the hospital site early morning sometimes. ( well twice) .

  3. Right I think my son has fixed me up now so I can comment ! This is one of the best blogs yet!

  4. Glad you like it Pamela, thanks for your comment. X