Charm Square Quilted Tote Tutorial & a Surprise!

Ah, Friday – I am so happy to see you!  I know y’all are excited to see what my surprise is, but you know I like to build some suspense.  :p  Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from scrolling to the bottom to see what it is!  I’ll give you a hint – it’s a giveaway and it involves this post and some organization.  More about that at the bottom!  Right now, let’s take a look at how to turn charm squares into a quilted tote.  Don’t worry, I’ll tell you what a charm square it too – in case you don’t know!

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What is a Charm Square?

Did you know you could buy pre-cut fabric to help you get a head start on your quilt?  This is a great way to whip up a quilt top or smaller project (like this bag!) in no time flat!  A charm square is a 5″ x 5″ piece of fabric and they come in packs of about 42 pieces usually.  I recently bought 2 Alison Glass charm square packs and I’ve divided them up into 3 different pattern sets.

All of these prints were in one pack!  Today I’m going to show you how to turn one colorway into a quilted tote.  It only takes 18 of these to make a nice size tote.  You will need batting, thread, and one charm pack for this part.  I will show you how to add the lining and handles in Monday’s post.  By the way Craftsy is has their kits and supplies at up to 50% off this weekend!

Square Layout & Sewing

The first thing I do before sewing quilt pieces together is lay them out so I can decide how I want it to look.  A good tip is to take a picture and look at in black and white.  This will help you balance darks and lights better.

This one reminds me of drafting class!  Since I’m doing two sides I have both sides stacked on top of each other.  This will make sewing go a little faster.  Fold one piece over on the next piece along one row.

Now I will sew along the right side of all the squares in the row, using a 1/4″ seam.  I’ll do this continuously, like a chain, to keep from using as much thread and make the process faster.

Now open them up and stack them back into formation!

Flip the next row onto the sewn pieces.

Sew them along the right side just like the first ones.  After sewing this row, I’ll take them to the ironing board for a press before I cut them apart.  Pressing means you hold the iron in one place for a second or two before moving.  I like to “finger press” everything open before pressing with the iron.

Stack everything back up and fold the top row over the middle row.  Be sure your seams line up!  Use pins or clips if you need them.

Sew the rows together, then sew on the bottom row.  After pressing you should have something that looks like this:

Cutting Corners and Adding Batting

To make this into a tote, we’ll need to cut some corners!  I’m using my gridded quilting ruler and rotary cutter to cut 2″ squares out of two corners.  Stop a little before the corner to prevent over cutting.  Then snip the rest with some scissors.  You could also trace a line to cut with the scissors.

Cut a piece of batting about 1″ bigger than the bag half.  I like to use spray basting to hold it together.  You could use straight pins or safety pins as well.  I don’t know what’s going on with my pictures lately!  I save them and then when I open them back up they look a little crazy.  If anyone knows why, please let me know!

Once everything’s stuck together it’s time to make it permanent with quilting!  A bag like this is really good to practice quilting on, especially if you’re new to quilting.  I may do a post on some quilting techniques at a later time.  Since I’m still learning some of that, I’ll just show you what I did!

It’s a little hard to see the quilted pattern here, but you can see it better on the back in the next part.

Sewing the Bag Together

Once both sides are quilted to your liking, trim off the excess batting and lay them face to face.  Sew down both sides and the bottom using a 1/2″ seam.  A larger seam is better for sewing garments and accessories together.

Now it’s time to sew the corners together.  This part can seem a little tricky, but it’s all about matching the seams!  I like to clip them together to make sure they stay together.  I also add another line of stitching about 1/4″ away to help reinforce it.

Turn it right side out and admire your work!

Here’s the side ~>

As I mentioned previously, I will show you how to add a liner and handles on Monday – 1/30.

Now for the fun part!  I will be giving away this tote to one lucky reader!  OR maybe you would like one in one of the other pattern styles!  All you have to do is tell me which is your favorite by picking from the list below and leaving me a comment.  There’s a picture of the other fabrics and how they will be arranged.

Drafting Patterns ~ The bag in the tutorial.

Dot to Dot ~

Floating Floral ~ 

But wait!  There’s more!  I’ll be filling the bag with some things to help you with starting your own planner, but you’ll have to come back Monday to see what it is.  I’m such a teaser!  :p

Hope y’all have a great weekend and don’t forget to vote on your favorite to be entered to win.  The choices are:

  • Drafting Patterns
  • Dot to Dot
  • Floating Floral

P.S.  Sign up for Teadoddle’s Newsletter and get an extra entry!  And don’t forget to check out the latest Ultimate Bundle before it’s gone!

Countdown for the Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle!



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