Friday, 1 April 2016

Cathedral Windows Tote Bag

After my last experiment with Cathedral Windows patchwork, which was a bit of a disaster from a colour perspective, I really wanted to give it another go with a more muted colour palette. And I sewed up a block in a very neutral off white with some blue and yellow prints pretty much straight away. I liked it, but didn't love it. And my centres were pretty good but not completely perfect. I really wanted to add buttons to it, but I had started it thinking it would become a cushion, and I'm not mad keen on buttons on cushions. So it's just been sitting there for the last couple of months while I dithered.

This week I bit the bullet and added buttons. And happily, all of a sudden, I did love it.

I really should have taken some before buttons photos too, you'll just have to take my word for it that it looks much better with them!

But then it was a matter of what to do with it now it was no longer going to be a cushion. After some thought I decided on a simple bag. A couple of oblongs of fabric folded over for the outer bag and the lining, and some extra fabric for handles.

The construction is very much along the same principles as the baskets I've recently made. And I'm sure there are lots of tutorials out there already for bags of this kind (one here that's very similar for instance), so I won't go through every step.

But obviously the first step was to sew the patchwork block on to the front of my outer fabric. A cathedral window block is kind of all neat and complete in itself, the process creates a ready quilted piece with no raw edges. It seemed to me that this was crying out to be used as a large front pocket, rather than purely as a decorative panel. So I just sewed 3 sides down, leaving it open at the top.

Then I carried on with the normal bag construction. The patchwork pocket was a little heavier than the rest of the fabric so the pocket gaped open, but that was easily fixed with a popper.

And in a very short space of time I had me a bag.

It felt a tiny bit wrong to be using quite a time consuming piece of patchwork in a very basic bag, which most likely will be used for grocery shopping. 

But then I reasoned why not have a more special bag to brighten up the chore of shopping? And I think this one will become a present, and spending time on homemade presents never feels wrong, so I'm not worrying about it any more!

Linking up with Finish it up Friday again, and wishing you all a happy weekend,



  1. Although we didn't see it pre-button, I can tell that the buttons have really brightened up the design (which was gorgeous to start with). A beautiful shopping bag is a great gift, and does help a boring chore. Have a lovely weekend Sally X

  2. It's lovely! Even shopping bags can be beautiful.

  3. I have yet to try cathedral window but it is a design I am drawn to. I love the colours you used and I also agree the buttons set it off beautifully. Though I am a button addict so I would say that!

  4. What a lovely finish! One of my favorite blocks.

  5. It's a beautiful bag, I love the clever effect of the patchwork, the buttons are the perfect touch.

  6. Oh that's so pretty! And shopping definitely deserves a beautiful carrier complete with sunshine coloured buttons :)

  7. The buttons really pull out the yellow in the prints. It turned out so well!

  8. The lucky recipient is going to get so many lovely comments when she does her shopping. A BEAUTIFUL bag!!! The yellow buttons tie it all together.

    1. Love you to add this to the Bags & Totes linky. No worries if you'd prefer not to.

  9. Absolutely stunning......Wow!!!

  10. I looooove your bag - such a clever idea to turn your cathedral window piece into a bag! It looks really snazzy with those yellow buttons too.

  11. that is so beautiful. and a perfect way to make something wonderful out of the everyday

  12. This looks quite stunning, but really complicated? Well done on getting such brilliant results! xCathy


Please post a comment, I love to hear from you!