A Triangle Bag of One’s Own

Last year I bought a new Bernina 550 during the spring promotion. And to help me know my machine better I’ve been taking a monthly, year-long course at my LQS/Bernina dealership. To keep things interesting, our lessons and experiments are supposed to result in something functional.

The first thing we learned was how to use the fancy stitches. You know, those hundreds of decorative stitches that come loaded in the machine but that quilters never use (unless you crazy quilt by machine)? Combining various decorative stitches to create a new pattern or design is called a stitch recipe. We were given some recipes to follow (below left) and also encouraged to experiment (below right) on quilting cotton reinforced with fusible interfacing.


Two plain pieces of fabric decorated with thread and fancy stitches.

The exciting thing for me was that the functional item we were going to make was a triangle bag. I’ve been wanting to make one of these for at least 7 years. In the end it was ridiculously simple. And it all started with a tube… I butted the two panels, sewed them together, put in a zipper and covered the raw edges with cotton strips. At last it was time for the triangle to take shape.

With the zipper in place the fabric forms a tube.

A bird’s-eye view of the fabric tube.

I lay down the tube with the zipper running along the top edge and stitched the left side closed (below). That’s the end where the zipper pull sits when the zipper is closed.

The tube lies flat on the table, with the zipper along the top edge.

The tube lies flat on the table with the zipper along the top edge.

To get the triangle effect I reshaped the open end of the tube so that the base of the zipper sat in the middle of the panel rather than running along the edge, and sewed the final seam closed (below left; click for a larger image to open in a new window). The raw edges were enclosed in fabric strips and my triangle bag was complete!

Front +Underside 2

Left: The triangle bag. Dotted line shows the placement of the zipper. Right: The underside of the bag. When the bag is upright the underside is completely hidden.

My to-do list includes making more triangle bags, varying the size and relative proportions a bit. Now that I know the shape is made with the final two seams I’d like to try it with the zipper running along the edge of the triangle rather than through the middle. If I do, you’ll be the first to know.

This is what I've been carting around in my triangle bag

This is what I’ve been carting around in my triangle bag.


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