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Northcott’s Urban Elementz Basix fabrics make a clever kid’s artist case

by Bill Locke

I just can’t wait to make today’s project using the extra piece of fabric panel left from yesterday’s Little Artist Apron project.

I’m still working with and enjoying the Urban Elementz Basix Collection from Northcott Fabrics; mixing some of their Colorworks solids with the dots and making some adorable fun projects just for you.

Below is a link to the wonderful fabric collection so you can see the stunning colors of these magnificent dots – they’re just awesome!


Click here to view Urban Elementz. Click here to view Urban Elementz Appliques. Click here to view Urban Elementz Patterns.

The Little Artist Tote by Bill Locke Designs, is created for QUILTsocial with you in mind, using the wonderful Urban Elementz Basix Collection from Northcott Fabrics.

To start our project, we’re taking the piece of leftover panel that we saved from yesterday’s apron project and trimming it to size for this project – 13″ x the width of the panel.

Be sure to keep the leftover portion because we’re going to be using that for yet another fun project in one of my May blog entries!

A 13" long panel is cut from the leftover piece made in Tuesday's QUILTsocial post using Northcott's Urban Elementz Basix line of fabrics.

The 13″ long panel

Our next step is to cut pocket panels for our Little Artist Tote.

In order to make our tote we’ll need the following fabrics, cut in the sizes listed:

  • Fabric 1 – 13″ x 32″ (for pocket 1)
  • Fabric 2 – 13″ x 24″ (for pocket 2) and two rectangles 5″ x 10″ (for handles)
  • Fabric 3 – two strips 2¼” x width of fabric (for binding)

Take the first pocket fabric, fold it in half, right sides together to make a rectangle 13″ x 16″. Stitch along the long raw edge with a ¼” seam allowance, making a tube with the pocket fabric.

Turn right side out, center the seam on one of the sides of the tube and press.

Repeat this step for the second pocket fabric.

Lay the striped artist tote cover right side/striped side down on your work table and mark the center on each of the long sides with a pin.

Lay the larger pocket tube on the cover with the seam side down – seam lined up with the pins.

Repeat with the second pocket tube, layer it on the first pocket tube, lining the center seam up with the pins.

Pin in place.

The pocket tubes made with the Northcott fabrics are pinned in place on the artist case cover.

Pocket tubes pinned in place on the artist case cover

Adding the binding

Turn the artist case over with the stripe side up.

There are ten strips and the pins on the side should be lined up between strip 5 and strip 6.

Stitch in the ditch between strips 5 and 6, stitching through all layers to attach the pocket panels to the artist case cover.

Make your binding from the 2¼” strips of Fabric 3 the same as we did yesterday. Machine stitch the binding all around the artist case on the front side then turn the folded edge to the back and hand stitch in place.

Adding the handles

For the handles, fold the 5″ x 10″ rectangles of Fabric 2 in half to make a rectangle that is 2½” x 10″. Press on the fold. Open the rectangle and fold the 10″ raw edges towards the center fold line, with both raw edges aligned along the fold line. Press. Fold once again with the folded edges aligned. Press again.

Open both of the short ends to fold in approximately ½” of the raw edge. Press.

Refold the previous side folds and press again.

Top stitch along all four sides of each handlle as close as possible to the edge, stitching the open side first, followed by the remaining sides.

To fold the handle into the “U” shape, see the photo below. Once the handle is folded, press well.

The handles for the artist case are made with Northcott's Urban Elementz Basix line of fabric and then folded and pressed into shape.

The folded handles

Once the handles are folded and pressed, stitch as shown in the next photo to secure the shape.

Topstitching secures the shape of the handles made with Northcott's Urban Elements Basix line of fabric.

Topstitching secures the shape of the handles

Next we need to attach the handles to each end of the artist case. The handles will be sewn to the inside of the case.

Place the handles so that the short ends are aligned with the edge of the binding that has been hand stitched to the inside of the artist case. Make sure that there is an equal distance between the each end of the handle and the sides of the case.

Handles are pinned in place on the artist case and ready to be stitched showcasing Northcott's beautiful Urban Elementz Basix Collection.

placement of handles on the inside of the artist case; ready to be stitched

Attach the handles to the artist case by stitching in the ditch along the binding seam on the front of the case (through all of the layers).

On one of the inside pocket panels, draw a pencil line dividing the pockets into two equal sections.

Stitch on the line through all of the layers starting on the center seam of the artist case, stitching towards the top of the largest pocket. Be sure to lock your stitches on both ends.

A line of stitching divides the pocket into two sections on one side of the artist case which was made with Northcott's Urban Elementz Basix line of fabrics.

Dividing the pocket into two sections

The finished case

The completed case which was made using the Urban Elementz Basix line of fabrics from Northcott measures 10" x 13" closed.

Completed case, measuring 10″ x 13″ closed

Truly, this has been a wonderful project that really does turn fabric scraps into a clever kid’s artist case.

The pockets are large enough to hold coloring and story books.The smaller pockets can hold a smaller book, crayons and coloring pencils.

This fun project really does highlight the wonderful dots from Northcott Fabric’s Urban Elementz Basix Collection.

Lots of space for the little artist - the case made with Northcott's Urban Elementz Basix fabrics measures 20" x 13" when open.

Lots of space for the little artist – the case measures 20″ x 13″ when open.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s project using these wonderful fabrics. Be sure to join me again tomorrow when I’ll be using these fun fabrics to make a decorative project for the home.

Happy Stitching!

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: The impact of dots and fabric strips in making a fun child’s apron

Go to part 4: How to applique a modern landscape tablerunner


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