A cool way to quilt the back of the project tote bag | twin needle

The week went by so quickly! I can’t believe how easily the front of the project tote bag went together, and the quality of the stitching with the Husqvarna VIKING ONYX 25 is impressive! Let’s get the back quilted and get to the final assembly.

Inserting the vinyl in the fold of the bottom front

Today, we’ll use the final pieces – the two large squares of fabric, one with the fusible fleece attached and the binding. Even though the fusible fleece is well adhered to the material since we used the Singer Steam Press, I still like to quilt it. I love quilting bags as it gives them a great texture. There are loads of options for quilting, but I’m going to do simple grid quilting with a twin needle and a contrasting thread.

Since the underside of any stitching will show through the vinyl window of the project tote bag, I want to ensure the stitching is pretty. I’m not a fan of the underside of a twin-needle seam, so I’m only going to stitch through the backing piece with the fusible fleece.

Step One – Quilt the back

  • Using the ChacoLiner, mark a single line on the right side. To make the quilting more interesting, I used the 30-degree line on the ruler, so I’ll get a diamond effect for the quilting.

Marking the first line of quilting stitches

  • Set the ONYX 25 for a straight stitch and insert a twin needle. Thread two spools of thread – you’ll need the auxiliary spool pin for this, and both threads will use the same thread path.

The sewing machine threaded for a twin needle

Note: You do not need a spool cap when the thread is in the vertical position, but when using the horizontal spool pin, ensure you use a spool cap that’s the correct size for the spool. Using a larger-than-necessary spool cap can affect the tension and ease with which the thread comes off the spool.

A small spool cap for a small spool of thread

  • Keep the chalk line in the center of the twin needles and stitch the first line.
    • You may want to do a small sample to determine the stitch length.

Stitching using the chalk line as a guide

  • Insert the Edge/Quilting Guide into the presser foot ankle.
    • I used a ruler to set the guide at 3″ from the needle, which is the maximum distance. I wouldn’t want my lines further apart, especially on such a small project.
    • This tool saves OODLES of time when stitching parallel lines of quilting or decorative stitching.
  • Keep the guide on the previous stitching line as you stitch each subsequent line.

Using the Edge/Quilting Guide to stitch parallel quilting lines

Before you know it, you’ll have all the lines done in one direction. Using the correct tools saves so much time and effort. There’s only one line to draw, and I never have to worry about getting rid of it, as the chalk disappears as you stitch. Fast and easy – my kind of quilting!

The diagonal lines of quilting in one direction

  • Draw one line in the opposite direction, using the 30-degree line to create a diamond.

Drawing a second line in the opposite direction

  • Repeat the stitching process for the second side.
    • Oh shoot – my contrasting thread doesn’t appear so well in the photos.

Diagonal lines of quilting made using a twin-needle

Here’s what the back looks like so you can see I stitched it! I like to keep my quilting subtle, so I often use blending threads, or in this case, the contrasting threads are very similar to the color of the base fabric. But in real life, you can see the stitching!

The back of the quilting

The back doesn’t always look pretty when stitched with a twin needle (two threads) and only one bobbin thread. If I had used the same color thread in the bobbin, I could have gotten away with these stitches showing. The tension is a bit tight; as you can see, the bobbin thread is a straight line, where it should technically be more of a zigzag. While I checked the stitch length for the top, I didn’t check the tension. I got too excited!

The back of the twin-needle stitching

Here’s a closer look at the twin-needle stitching on the front. I love it!! And yes – you can see I used contrasting threads!

The front of the twin-needle stitching

I’ll add the backing to the piece and secure it with more stitching lines. I didn’t want these lines to show, so I inserted a regular needle and matching thread in the top and bobbin. Remember, the bobbin thread will show through the vinyl window in the project tote bag.

I played around with the stitches in the stitch menu. I played with width and length to see what I liked. There’s nothing better than doing stitchouts to test the stitches before you start on the project.

It amazes me how this critical exercise can prevent so much seam ripping, yet many people refuse to do it!!

A stitch-out sample

  • Layer the last piece of fabric onto the quilted piece. It’s small, so I used the heat of the iron to “secure” it in place, but you may want to baste it.

Placing the final fabric square on the quilted piece

  • Move the guide to 1½” from the needle and stitch as before. These lines of stitching will be in the middle of the lines that form the diamonds. The thread matches so well you can barely see it! You can see the texture but not the stitches, which was my plan.

Using a triple zigzag for texture quilting

Step Two – Trim the front and back

I used a large 20½” square ruler to trim the pieces, but you can easily butt two rulers together if you don’t have one. I don’t use this ruler daily, but when I need a large ruler, this saves a lot of fuss. I checked both front and back before I trimmed and settled on a final size of 15″ wide by 15½” long.

Trimming the front of the project tote bag

  • Baste the edges of the top zipper tab and the bag bottom. Basting the two layers together means it’s less likely there’ll be tucks on the fabric as you attach the binding.

Baste the edges of the top zipper tab and the bag’s bottom

Step Three – Attach the binding

  • Place the front and back together with the wrong sides together. I used clips to secure the two pieces. You may wish to baste them together – I found the clips worked just fine.

The front and back of the project tote bag with clips

Refer back to my blog post about attaching binding. I used my Interchangeable Dual Feed Foot to sew the binding on. There are a lot of layers, and this foot helps to keep the layers from sliding around. Don’t forget to use your Safety Stiletto at the corners, which helps to achieve a nice, balanced, mitered corner. I can’t sew without this tool!

Creating the mitered corner on the binding

And there is it – the completed project tote bag.

The project tote bag

I love it, and it was so easy to make. You may want to change it up – maybe you’ll put zipper pulls on either side or a handle at the top. Piece your fabrics or decorate them however desired; changing the sizes is easy! Just leave a bit extra so you can trim after you have assembled the front and the back.

Fill the project tote bag with accessories

WOW — what a fun week. I love how this project tote bag turned out. It was fast and easy, and I’ll be making more. I see many ways of embellishing them. But best of all, I was amazed at how the Husqvarna VIKING ONYX 25 performed. I used thick and challenging fabric combinations, and the stitches were beautiful. The binding went on like a dream. The zipper was super easy to install.

The ONYX 25 is an impressive sewing machine with all the great features we saw this week, including the presser foot ankle, allowing us to use the feet from our larger sewing machines. It’s perfect for the new sewist in your house, a lightweight sewing machine to carry to class or retreat, or a second sewing machine in your studio! Stop by your Husqvarna VIKING dealer to check out the Husqvarna VIKING ONYX 25.

I hope you have fun making your personal project tote bags. I’m off to make a few more!

Have a great day!!


ONYX 25 sewing machine

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: How to sew a vinyl window to the front of a project bag | ONYX 25

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