Cute Checkered Tote

This quilted backpack is an adorable accessory to carry all around town.

What You Need

  • 18 X 22" piece (fat quarter) each solid pink, aqua, yellow, coral, green, tan, and blue (patchwork)
  • 1 yard solid tan (lining, straps, button loop)
  • 2/3 yard low-loft
  • polyester batting
  • 1"-diameter button
  • jeans needle

Finished Backpack

  • Finished Bag: 12 X 13 X 1-1/2"
  • Quantities are for 44/45"-wide, 100% cotton fabrics.
  • Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances.
  • Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Cut Your Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

From assorted solids, cut:

  • 402 X 22" strips

From assorted solids, cut:

  • 1--15-1/2 X 36-1/2" rectangle
  • 26 X 30" strips
  • 1--1X4" strip

From polyester batting, cut:

  • 1--15-1/2 X 36-1/2" rectangle
  • 2-2 X 30" strips

Assemble Pieced Rectangle

Sew together two assorted solid 2 X 22" strips to make a strip set (Diagram 1). Press seam open. Repeat to make 20 strip sets total.

Cut each strip set into six 2"-wide segments to make 120 total 2"-wide segments.

Sew together two 2"-wide segments to make a Four-Patch unit (Diagram 2). Press seam open. The Four-Patch unit should be 3-1/2" square including seam allowances. Repeat to make 60 Four-Patch units total.

Lay out 60 Four-Patch units in 12 rows (Diagram 3).

Sew together units in each row. Press seams open. Join rows to make pieced rectangle. The pieced rectangle should be 15-1/2 X 36-1/2" including seam allowances.

Assemble Button Loop and Straps

  1. Wrong sides together, fold and lightly press solid tan 1 X 4" strip in half lengthwise. Open strip and press long edges under 1/4". Refold strip; press. Topstitch folded edges to make button loop. Matching unsewn ends, fold button loop in half. Aligning ends at one short edge of pieced rectangle, center button loop and baste in place (Diagram 4).
  2. Right sides together, fold one long edge over 2" on a solid tan 6 X 30" strip. Align a 2 X 30" batting strip atop folded section (Diagram 5). Sew across short ends, securing batting in seam. Trim excess batting from seam allowance and turn to right side.
  3. Turn remaining long edge of solid tan strip under 7/8" and turn short edges under 1/4". Press folded long edge in place over layered side of strip to make a strap. Strap should measure 2 X 30".
  4. Topstitch lengthwise along center of strap to secure folded edge. Topstitch 1/8" from outer edges and at even intervals across strap.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 to make two straps total.

Quilt Patchwork Panel

  1. Lay solid tan 15-1/2 X 36-1/2" rectangle right side up on a flat surface. Aligning edges, place pieced rectangle, right side down, atop tan rectangle (Diagram 6). Layer batting on top of pieced rectangle.
  2. Sew together pieces along long sides. Join short sides, leaving a 10" opening along the side opposite the button loop (bottom edge; Diagram 7). Trim batting from seam allowances to reduce bulk.
  3. Turn right side out through opening, pin or baste along sewn edges, and press. Fold opening seam allowances to inside and topstitch to make layered patchwork panel. Press.
  4. Quilt as desired. Polyester batting tends to be a bit more rigid than cotton batting. To give a bag even more stability, you may wish to add a piece of sew-in interfacing along with the batting.

Finish Backpack

  1. Align one end of each strap on patchwork panel, centered and six squares up from button loop. Stitch securely in place, using a jeans needle (Diagram 8).
  2. Right sides together, fold bottom of quilted panel up 13-1/2". Pin side edges. Insert free ends of straps through side edges (Diagram 9). Pin and check fit, adjusting length of straps if needed. Sew side edges of bag, securing straps in place.
  3. To shape flat bottom of bag, at one corner match center bottom of bag to side seam line, creating a flattened triangle (Diagram 10). Measuring 3/4" from point of triangle, draw a 1-1/2" long line across triangle. Sew on drawn line. Repeat with remaining bottom corner. Turn bag body right side out.
  4. Fold flap over bag front. Sew button to bag front, opposite the button loop on flap, to complete the backpack.


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