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Applique Designs For The Trick Or Treat Bag

Now that the trick or treat back is all quilted with a simple but effective cross hatching design it’s time to move onto the next step – applique designs for the trick or treat bag. At the end of yesterday’s post I asked for your input on which design I should use for the applique – a ghost or pumpkin. I decided to go with both because there’s a back and a front to the back and no law saying I can’t use two designs on the same bag.

Creating the Applique Designs

I used a cookie cutter as the basis of my design and traced it onto a piece of paper. Since it was only a couple of inches high I enlarged the design on my printer to the size I wanted. I didn’t want a round pumpkin but rather more of an oblong stretched circle to fill up the bag panel. With the shape decided on I drew in some facial features – eyes, nose and mouth.

Pumpkin design
Pumpkin design

 

Trace the individual pieces onto fusible web. I traced from the wrong side of the paper as I wanted my pumpkin to look like it did on the paper so I needed to reverse all the pieces. Placing the template on a window works great to trace the pieces as the light shines through and highlights the lines – this doesn’t work so well in the dark. A light box comes in very handy when it’s dark outside.

Gather up some fabrics suitable for a pumpkin and ghost. Fuse the pieces to the fabrics, cut out the pieces on the line and fuse the design to the quilted bag panels. Make sure to cover the work with a Teflon sheet or piece of parchment paper to collect any unwanted glue.

 

Ghost pieces fused in place
Ghost pieces fused in place

 

Stitching the Applique

For the pumpkin I used the blanket stitch or pin stitch (#39) as it’s called in the Pfaff Ambition 1.0 manual. This sewing machine comes complete with 136 stitches ranging from simple sewing stitches to elaborate decorative stitches. That’s a lot of choices but I stuck with one of my favorites. I increased the stitch width and length to 3.0 so it would show up more. Changing stitch sizes on this machine is easy with the push button arrow buttons beside the display screen.

The needle down position is a must for me when doing applique. When I stop in mid-stitching I’m able to maintain my position and it also makes pivoting around curves so much easier. One quick press of a button and the needle is permanently in the needle down position until you say otherwise or turn off the machine. It couldn’t be easier.

I didn’t quite get the look I wanted with the teeth and that’s because I put the black piece on top of the orange. Next time I would cut the shape out of the orange pumpkin and place a black piece of fabric in behind with the stitching on the orange fabric. Kind of a reverse applique and it would give it the depth needed to look like toothy grin with a black hallow behind the teeth.

 

Blanket or pin stitch on applique pieces
Blanket or pin stitch on applique pieces

 

For the ghost I used the pin stitch for most of it but then did the BOO in stitch #94 which I have fallen in love with. It’s the uneven zigzag satin stitch. Perfect way to make the BOO scary looking. I went around the outside edge of the letters twice to make the stitching bolder.

The letters I found in the font list of Word – I just looked for one that had a Halloween kind of look and made it large and added a squiggly edge to the letters which you can see in the previous image of the ghost but when I used the zigzag stitch I lost that squiggly edge. Oh well, but the jagged edge of the stitching looks just as good.

Once again the stitching was done with the 100% cotton Tutti variegated thread from WonderFil.

Stitching complete on ghost
Stitching complete on ghost

 

Adding a Box Bottom to the Bag

Now that the applique is in place it’s time to add a box bottom to the bags. The box bottom will give the bag shape and dimension. I don’t know about you but the first time I had to make a box bottom on a bag I struggled to understand what it was I was suppose to do. Now, I made so many on my Santa Sacs that I can practically make them in the dark.

Step by step I’ll walk you through making the box bottom – it really isn’t that difficult. I’ll be using the inner bag for the photos.

Step 1

First of all sew the outer bag panels together with right sides together leaving the top open. I use a ⅜″ seam when sewing the bag together. The batting doesn’t get caught in the seam at all. Also sew the inner bag panels right sides together but leave an opening at the bottom of the bag to be able to pull the outer back through – about 6 inches long. I tend to mark the opening with 2 pins so I know that I have to top there and not get carried away and sew the complete bottom closed. It’s a good visual aid.

Mark opening at bottom of bag with 2 pins
Mark opening at bottom of bag with 2 pins

 

Step 2

Once the bag is sewn together then take a bottom corner and pull the side and bottom of the bag into a triangle meeting up the two seams. This is the trickiest part of the whole process and the one I always had problems with. The bag will have a very strange shape to it.

Bottom seam meeting with a side seam
Bottom seam meeting with a side seam

 

Step 3

Once the seams are pinned together lay flat on the table and measure 2 ¼″ down the seam from the corner. Draw a line across the bag with a marking pen. I use the Chaco Liner. Stitch down this line doing a secure stitch at each end. The Ambition has a one touch button for a stay stitch – perfect for this step.

Draw line 2 ¼″ from corner
Draw line 2 ¼″ from corner

 

Step 4

Trim the seam to ⅜″ which will get rid of the triangle and create the square edged box bottom.

Trim seam ⅜″ from stitch line
Trim seam ⅜″ from stitch line

 

Step 5

Repeat on other corner of bag.

Box bottom completed
Box bottom completed

 

 

 

Repeat steps 1 – 5 for the quilted bag.

The box bottom is made and it has great dimension and form with the quilted bag.

Now that wasn’t too bad, was it?

Box bottom complete on quilted bag
Box bottom complete on quilted bag

 

The applique designs for the trick or treat bag are done!

Tomorrow brings us to the end of my week at QUILTsocial and we will be sewing the trick or treat bag together so it’s all ready to use on Halloween.

Happy Quilting

Jennifer runs Quilts by Jen, a fantastic educational resource for quilters with many great free tutorials ranging from how to choose fabrics, understanding the value of fabrics, pressing, building Bargello runs, pinning, binding, sandwiching, couching, quilting, and much more. Check them out!

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