Do you feel the excitement in the air or is it just me? It’s the season of quilt shows and road trips to quilt stores! I designed a fun, practical quilted tote bag using the PFAFF quilt expression 720. There are so many stitches and ways to play with them that it was almost as much fun as shopping for new fabric! Whether you’re traveling for days or to just one favorite place, this bag is fun to stitch up and will give you a place to put all of your travel treasures.
When I started thinking about making this bag I thought it would be fun to feature as many stitches as I could based on the theme of ‘flying out the door’ or ‘just winging it’! I managed to find several stitches to go with my theme; next up was to try some out.
The manual that comes with the PFAFF quilt expression 720 has pages with the stitches organized by category, but you can also find all of the stitches in the menus on the machine or download a stitch chart here. Even better, you can select one and view it on the Color Touch Screen to actually see it before you try it on fabric. The Color Touch Screen shows the recommended presser foot for the selected stitch as well as if it requires stabilizer beneath your fabric. The IDT icon will also be present for stitches that require it. In the right-hand corner of the Color Touch Screen is the icon for free motion quilting – almost every stitch can be used for free motion quilting! (If it can’t, a pop up will appear on the screen to let you know.)
The quilt expression 720 comes with 10 presser feet, three of which we’ll take a closer look at in this post. These are the feet I used for stitching out the built-in decorative stitches.
Fancy stitch foot 1A for IDT system
This foot is used in combination with the IDT system built into the machine. The opening at the back of the foot allows the system to hook onto the foot ensuring even feed of all layers of fabric under the needle.
You can read more about the IDT system here.
For the purposes of creating this tote bag, I used the 1A foot for the floating stitches – a stitch program unique to the quilt expression 720. Stitches are stitched with the fabrics facing each other and then, when the fabrics are pulled apart, the stitches appear in the seam.
Fancy stitch foot 2A
This foot is used for decorative stitches that are short in length and move in zigzags. It does not connect to the IDT system, but does have grooves on the underside to help it move fabrics. When I use this foot for stitching, I slow down the machine’s speed and use the start/stop button to let the machine stitch while I keep the fabric steady.
This foot is used with the full menu of stippling stitches that are built into the quilt expression 720.
Maxi stitch foot 8
This foot is used for the large decorative stitches – stitches can be as big as 9 mm wide! Stitches that are stitched sideways are possible with this foot which also does not attach to the IDT system. A slow speed and a steady guiding hand, plus the correct stabilizer, lets this foot create some fun stitches!
Fabric Requirements for Dash and Fly quilted tote bag
Switching between feet is easy on the quilt expression 720; a gentle pull down releases the foot from the machine and a gentle push up clicks a new foot in place. Now that we’re more familiar with some of the presser feet that can help us out on this project, let’s get started by selecting the fabric.
- 1.6yd gray fabric, for outer bag blocks and lining
- 1.1yd blue batik, for outer bag, handles and pocket
- 1 fat quarter of background print, for outer bag
- 1 eighth of light purple batik, for blocks on outer bag
- 1 eighth of purple batik, for borders on outer bag
- 1 fat quarter of dark purple batik, for lining
- 2 pieces of batting 17″ x 21″
- 20″ of stabilizer for use behind fabrics
- thread for sewing and quilting – I used a neutral thread, blue and purple
The PFAFF quilt expression 720 is full of possibilities when it comes to creating a quilted tote bag. Follow along this week to create with me, and see how easy it is to decorate with the beautiful stitches, simply by switching out presser feet.
This is part 1 of 5 in this series.
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