2 easy ways to make an embroidered snap bag

Yesterday on QUILTsocial we talked about using WonderFil’s Eleganza thread for wool applique. I found the Eleganza threads to be lovely to work with and the colors of the Sue Spargo threads were amazing!! On Wednesday we used the Eleganza thread for Sashiko embroidery. So now that we have these two embroidery samples finished, today I’m going to show you 2 easy ways to make an embroidered snap bag.

What is a snap bag you ask?

I first saw the snap bag technique at one of our guild meetings where a fellow guild member was showing how to use an old metal tape measure to make a bag with a rigid opening that would “snap” back into position when closed. These bags are great for gifts, craft shows and for storing anything from rotary cutters to make-up!

Adding the borders

The first step for the Sashiko bag is to sew borders onto the Sashiko panel. I trimmed the panel to 8″ x 10″. Next I picked the fabrics that I wanted to use for the borders, back and lining of the bag. Since the panel was made with one of Northcott’s ColorWorks solids, I auditioned a few of the ColorWorks Concepts fabrics to use for the borders.

Auditioning border fabrics

I cut two side borders that were each 2″ x 8″ and sewed them to the two sides of the panel. Next, I cut two borders that were 3″ x 13″ and sewed them to the top and bottom of the panel. I cut one piece on fabric for the back of the bag that measured 11″ x 13″ and sewed it to the bottom border.

The borders and back of the bag are sewn onto the sashiko panel

Making a snap bag

I made the following video to show the basic steps of making a snap bag. Please watch the video before you follow along with the rest of the steps.

How to make a snap bag – YouTube

In this video, Christine Baker of Fairfield Road Designs shows step-by-step how to make a quilted snap bag for QUILTsocial.com.

I cut a piece of batting 13″ x 21½” and layered it with outside of the bag. As I mentioned in the video if you are making small bags you don’t need to do any quilting to secure the layers, but since the bags we are making today are going to be quite a bit bigger, I used one of my WonderFil Konfetti threads to do a bit of topstitching around the Sashiko panel and across the back of the bag.

Quilting through the outside of the bag and the batting

I cut the lining of the bag from the white ColorWorks fabric 13″ x 25″ and centered the outside of the bag on the lining with the wrong sides together. As shown in the video, I folded and pressed the excess fabric from the ends of the lining over the ends of the bag front.

The edge of the lining fabric is double folded over the edge of the outside fabric

As I showed in the video the two edges of the folded lining is top-stitched to make the channel for the tape measure to slide into. I bought a dollar store metal tape measure and cut two lengths that were each 12¼” long and rounded the edges as shown in the video. Always use OLD SCISSORS to cut the tape measure – NOT your good quilting scissors! If you are concerned with the sharpness of the ends of the tape measure, wrap each end with some duct tape to protect your fabric. When you cut your tape measure, make sure that you reattach the metal end using some scotch tape to make sure that the rest of your tape measure doesn’t retract back into the case – never to be seen again!!

Make sure to tape the end of the tape measure back on to prevent the tape from going all the way into the case

Following the directions in the video, the bag is folded in half with right sides together and stitched about ¼” from the edge. I trimmed the edge and then zigzagged the raw edge to make the seam neat. The next step was to insert the tape measure lengths into the two channels with the unmarked side towards the outside of the bag.

The tape measure section is inserted into the channel with the unmarked side towards the outside of the bag

The second side of the bag is stitched closed, trimmed and zigzagged like the first side.

If you want your bag to have a squared bottom, you line up the center line of the bottom with one of the sides of the bag and then sew a line across that point. You then sew a second line across the other bottom corner.

A seam is sewn across the point of the bag bottom

If the bag is tiny, you can just leave the excess triangle of fabric on the inside of the bag. Since my bag is fairly big, I decided to trim the excess fabric and zigzag the raw edge like I did for the sides of the bag.

The point is trimmed off and then the raw edge is zig-zagged

The bag is turned right side out and voila!! The cutest Sashiko bag ever!! You can see that I sewed a fabric label into the side of my bag when I sewed the side seam. I ordered these great labels from a website called “It’s Mine Labels”. They have a bunch of different sizes and designs and you just enter all of your info online, proof the finished image and then order them. Before you know it your labels arrive and you can start sewing them into your handmade creations!

The finished shashiko snap bag

No batting needed

For the wool applique bag I decided that I really didn’t need to add any batting as the wool background gave the bag body enough substance. Since my wool background was 10″ x 20″ I cut my lining 10″ x 23½”. My tape measure was about ¾” wide so if you have a wider tape measure, you may need to add more than 3½” to the length of your lining.

Cut the lining fabric 3½” longer than the outside of the bag

From there I followed the exact same steps as with the Sashiko bag. And here’s the finished wool applique snap bag – I just LOVE it!!

The finished wool applique snap bag

Happy New Year!

As this is my last QUILTsocial blogging week for this year, I’d like to thank you for following along with my quilting adventures over the last 12 months using both Northcott Fabrics and WonderFil threads. I just love having the opportunity to work with these and share the projects I make with you. In 2017 we’ll have lots more quilting fun and I hope you’ll keep tuned and keep sharing our website with your quilting friends. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about WonderFil’s Eleganza thread this week and especially the 2 great ways to make an embroidered snap bag – hopefully, you’ll find some time soon to make one for yourself.

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4:  Using WonderFil’s Eleganza thread to enhance wool applique

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Donna Simpson January 8, 2017 - 9:45 pm
These are so cute! Never seen anything like them before. Thank you for the tutorial.
Pauline Perry January 6, 2017 - 7:39 pm
Great tutorial. thanks
Naomi January 4, 2017 - 8:35 pm
Like the snap bag and the tutorial
Christine Baker January 5, 2017 - 8:27 pm
Thanks! Glad you liked it!
Linda Webster January 4, 2017 - 8:24 pm
Very cute bag! Thanks for the tutorial.
Christine Baker January 5, 2017 - 8:28 pm
You're very welcome! I'm glad you liked it!
Rachel January 4, 2017 - 7:39 pm
Very pretty! I'm trying some sashiko for the first time this year, and it's lovely to be coming across so many great ways to use pieces of it! Thanks for sharing!
Christine Baker January 5, 2017 - 8:29 pm
You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed the info.
Laura January 4, 2017 - 5:57 pm
Always interesting posts. I might have to dig in the guys' junk bin in the shed to see what's there...
Christine Baker January 5, 2017 - 8:30 pm
Good luck!! I was going to raid my husband's workshop but he wouldn't let me. That's why I had to visit the dollar store LOL
Lori Morton January 4, 2017 - 1:02 pm
Thank you for all this sharing on how to make a Snap Bag!! These are AWESOME!! The video is Super!! And Tutorial is great! I am going to be making many!!! giggle... (Husband better keep close watch on his tapes!! lol)
Christine Baker January 5, 2017 - 8:31 pm
Thank you so much Lori! They were so fun to make and I'm glad that you found the video informative!
Ruth S. January 4, 2017 - 12:41 pm
Your tutorias on the blog are very helpful. Thanks for sharing your ideas.
Christine Baker January 5, 2017 - 8:32 pm
Thanks Ruth - I'm glad you found them informative!
Quilting Tangent January 4, 2017 - 10:30 am
Thanks for the tech tips book.
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