Quilting A Trick Or Treat Bag

Halloween is just around the corner, only a few more sleeps for those little ones who are counting and they’re going to need something to collect and carry all that candy in. I remember as a kid we used to take a pillowcase to collect the loot in. As the evening wore on it was harder and harder to carry it with no handles. If I had had a cool trick or treat bag with handles collecting the loot would have been so much easier. Today I’m going to make myself one and start with what is usually the last step of the process – quilting a trick or treat bag.

To begin, I pulled the Halloween fabrics out of my cupboard which I purchased a century ago – okay maybe not that long but they have been there for a couple of years. I don’t usually do Halloween quilting so I’m amazed that I even have some appropriate fabrics. Three fabrics are needed to create the bags – the outer bag, inner lining and another piece of fabric that will never be seen but is needed to make a sandwich. This fabric could be your ugliest fabric you have ever bought since it will never be seen – definitely one way to get rid of it.

Cut two pieces 18″ x 14″ from each of the three fabrics. Cut two pieces of batting at 16 ½″ x 12 ½″.

Halloween fabrics

Make a Quilt Sandwich

A quilt sandwich is made up of three layers – the top fabric, batting and the backing fabric – in this case the top fabric is the outer bag fabric and the backing is the ugly fabric you will never see and want to get rid of as it’s taking up precious real estate in the cupboard where beautiful new fabric should be.

Center the piece of batting on the wrong side of the outer bag fabric which in this case is the purple fabric with spider webs all over it. It will be smaller than the outer bag fabric which is highly unusual as the batting is generally larger than the quilt top. Having the batting smaller than the fabric will make it easier to sew the bag together and not have bulky, bulging seams to deal with.

Batting centered on back of fabric

Place the other fabric on top of the batting with right side up. I used a 100% cotton batting as I wanted a low loft batting.

Quilting Lines

A simple cross hatch design will do for the quilting motif since most of the quilting is going to be covered up by the applique. You may wonder then why quilt the whole thing and not just around the applique? It’s easier to quilt the whole piece rather than having to start and stop around the applique design and tie off threads. Plus the piece will lay nice and flat behind the applique.

Draw lines on the outer bag fabric (purple) for the quilting motif with a marking device that can be seen and removed afterwards. I used the Clover Chaco Liner in white. The lines I drew are 2″ apart but they can be any width apart that you wish.

Once the lines have been drawn then baste the layers together with your favorite method. My favorite method is with curved safety pins.

Quilting lines marked on fabric

Quilting the Trick or Treat Bag

Place a foot on the Pfaff Ambition 1.0 that’s IDT compatible, the IDT system will feed the fabric layers under the foot and over the feed dogs more evenly keeping everything smooth and straight. I usually use an open toed foot but the1A or 0A foot will also work. Any of these three feet make it easy to see what you’re doing and follow the marked quilting lines. The Ambition 1.0 has a fairly large throat area of about 8″ making it easy to manipulate, turn and quilt the sandwich.

I’m almost ready to quilt the first panel and look, there’s my autumn colors mug rug right in the middle of the action with a fresh cup of coffee!

Mug rug with coffee

Begin by quilting from the middle to the edge of the quilt – oh and don’t forget to do a test run to check the tension before starting on the actual piece. When quilting straight lines across the whole piece as in this project, it’s a good idea to alternate the direction of sewing just to keep the piece straight and even. Starting in the center of the piece allows for movement of fabric out towards the edges helping to eliminate any ripples, bulges or puckers.

The first layer of quilting is done and it looks pretty good. The variegated purple Tutti thread from Wonderfil shows up really well. This is a 50 weight thread so I used an 80/12 Topstitch needle to quilt with. If the thread had been thicker I would have moved up a size to a 90/14. For more information about needle sizes and kinds check out this fabulous needle guide from Schmetz.

Stitched straight quilting lines

Draw lines on the piece again across the quilting lines in the opposite direction. Quilt along these lines just as the first set was quilted. When done the quilting will look like diamonds.

Repeat with the back panel of the bag.

Give the pieces a press with steam which will get rid of any unwanted ripples as well as remove any leftover chalk lines.

Cross hatched diamonds

Now I need your help – should I have an appliqued ghost or pumpkin on the bag? I have 4 cookie cutters with Halloween motifs – 2 ghosts, a pumpkin and a bat. I think I have ruled out the bat as it is too narrow for the vertical bag as I want the applique to take up most of the front panel.

Cookie cutters

With the quilting of the trick or treat bag complete I’ll await the consensus on which applique design I should use – just leave a comment with your pick.

Happy Quilting

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