Another Rag Bag!

A couple of months ago, I found a fabulous deal on batik fabric charm squares on Ebay: two dollars each for packs of 32! Early this morning I was cutting fabric for a flannel rag quilt shaped like the American flag for Dude (finally got all those darned stripes cut!) and ran across the batik squares again. I’d been wanting to make another “rag bag” and those squares were calling my name pretty loudly. (They were actually shouting; it was crazy! I had to shut them up somehow.)

This project takes 38 five-inch squares (but only 19 “pretty” ones if you want to use different fabric for the lining) and is so easy to make; you can see a very good three-part video tutorial here.

The best part of this project wasn’t the low cost, but how quickly it went together! I started at 6:00 and had a finished bag by 8:15, and that included all the snipping! Although after I was finished, I did take another half hour to add a big, pretty button and a closure as an afterthought. I got a large embossed metal and shell button at Mood Fabrics when I visited my dad in New Jersey a few years ago and he took us to NYC. As a big Project Runway fan, of course I HAD to go to Mood Fabrics! (I spent 8 bucks on the button, but it’s so cool! And yes, I did get to meet Swatch.)

Anyway, here’s the front of the bag. It’s not the greatest picture as I took it at about 9:30 and the sun was still pretty low and making odd shadows:

batik tote front

The finished size is about 12″ long, 8″ tall and 4″ wide. Here’s the back:

batik tote back

One can never have too many bags, am I right? And so much fun when you can make your own.

Normally, after snipping the seams, you throw a rag bag (or quilt) into the washer to fray the edges. I did a little “cheating” on this one by fraying the edges with a stiff wire brush I bought at a rubber stamp store a few years ago. The intended purpose of the brush is to fray the edges of paper and cardstock for a vintage look, but it frays fabric quite nicely! (Also, you have to be careful where you put your silly hands while doing this, because it is more than happy to fray your fingers as well!)

Mine looks like this, except the handle is purple. It’s a great tool to have around!

fine_wire_brushes

Now that Christmas is over, I can share two rag quilt throws I made a couple of months ago that were for gifts. The first was for my dad, a long-time hot-air balloonist. I used plaid homespun in light blue plus cotton fabrics with steampunk images, balloon images and sky/compass images. I had to dye the steampunk fabric, as it had a bright white background that didn’t fit in with the vintage look.

hot air 3

My dad reports that his cat, Yoda, loves to sleep under it! I name all my rag quilts, and this one is called “New Direction” (because of the compass design on the long strips).

hot air 1

Just ignore Dude’s lil’ legs sticking out from underneath!

The second throw was made from a “random” jelly roll I bought from an Ebay seller who makes them herself along with some floral fabrics I got at Joann’s to coordinate. I call this one “Flower Power.”

brown floral closeup

The yellowish fabric with the wavy stripe was from a “destash” lot I bought from an Etsy seller. I hadn’t originally intended to use it, but I didn’t have enough fabric to make it long enough otherwise, so I’m glad I had it on hand.

brown floral front

Rag quilts are so much fun to sew, and make great, unique gifts for people who live where it’s super cold!

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