Scrap Mission: New Quilter’s Carry All Case

My little story of how this perfect for me case came to be. 🙂


How it all started! So what to do with failed dye fabrics?  Cut them up and practice curved piecing! With cool blues and purples seemed logical to make watery curved lines.  Why were they failed? You can’t see from the photo well, but I didn’t mix the powder dyes well enough, and didn’t come out the exact colors I was looking for. This was from last spring when I was experimenting and self teaching hand dying fabric.  I have many pieces of ‘failed’ fabric pieces… but as you will see, nothing is wasted! LOL

This long 18″x36″ piece stayed this way for a few months.  Then I cut a large circle out of my favorite section for a watery planet for my grand-son’s Science and Space quilt. Really need to write up that post!

Hand dyed fabrics that didn't come out how I planned

Hand dyed fabrics that didn’t come out how I planned.

Cutting and sewing curved piecing. Trying out a new technique to learn.

Cutting and sewing curved piecing. Trying out a new technique to learn. By the end of the 36″ length, I had it down!

Now what do I do with it? Well, I needed to practice some free motion quilting techniques for an idea I had for that Science & Space quilt too!  Free motion quilting with a ruler, circles, swirls… just did what came to mind and what I had seen on pinterest that inspired me. IMG_2855

By the time I got half way through I felt like I didn’t have good control using my bare hands, and I hate wearing quilter’s gloves for gripping.  Got an EXCELLENT tip from a fellow quilter.  ‘Use those rubber spongy type of shelf lining mats!’  So I cut up some into about 4″ squares and tried it out.  There was a HUGE “AHA!” moment here! Think I did the happy dance too!  If you haven’t tried this, DO IT! No more taking on and off gloves or fingertip gloves to do thread, and no more sweaty hands in our heat.  This worked awesome and I could not believe how much better I could control the fabric movement! I was actually making perfect circles! Well… almost perfect. 😉 So I finished off the other end of this scrap piece and then put it aside to finish the quilt.  And this sat for a few months. LOLIMG_2856I had it on my design wall for a long time… there had to be SOMETHING I could make from this! I rarely make quilted things just for art, they have to have a purpose. Yes, I’m anal like that.  Really need to break out of that box!

Hmmmm Then it hit me! I hated my quilter’s carry bag.  I had had it for close to 30 years. Simple zipper bag with zipped pockets inside like a 3 ring binder. I used it to carry supplies to Guild meetings or to a friend’s house for a Quilt Circle meeting or play day. It was basic, not very pretty and didn’t hold my items like I wanted.  Plus I had tools I wanted to bring that didn’t fit and others not just all thrown into a zipper pocket. I wanted it organized.  I searched and searched for carry bag that would work.  Found tons of inspirations, tutorails and ideas, even bought a pattern for one thinking I could adjust easily… nope, not exactly what I needed. I wanted it to fit MY needs, MY tools.  Something I could even use to carry from the upstairs studio to the downstairs for when I wanted to do some sewing in the family room instead of my usual box.

I knew exactly what items I wanted to have with me. Plus my rotating cutting mat which is 12.5″ x 12.5″ had to fit along with my Clover mini iron.  I laid them all out on the table and began to make notes of measurements. The rulers, tools, etc etc etc.  I made a sketch in Photoshop (I used the grid layout for square inches), of laying out everything so that it would lay out in a book type format and when sides were brought together nothing would fall out and leaving enough room for my bulky items like thread and the mini iron to fit too. This took a while, changed my mind several times how best to lay out and I knew I would need a space between the two sides to accommodate my mini iron bulk. Perfect spot for a pin cushion area. I even used previously made carry cases and noted what worked and what didn’t work… like need to make pencil sleeve a little snugger so they don’t fall out, or pockets deeper to hold spools better.  I have several small hand sewing cases… good for a couple spools and needles but my scissors were always falling out if I want’s careful. So I planned the crap out of this. LOL Carry All Sketch

Found some scraps of black and a batik fabric that would work for the interior pockets and a piece of left over black felt to make a rolled pin cushion.  I used fusible web and fusible stabilizer for all the pockets to give some stiffness. I wish I had taken photos along the way but I plan on making another one for a friend so I will make sure to do that when I do. But it is pretty easy once you know the sizes you want of your pockets.  Add a 1/2″ to length and width for seam allowances and make sure you size your pockets with a little wiggle room or snugness for your items. Measure and test everything.  OK, OCD showing, I know. lol

Fuse the batting and stabilizer to the wrong side of pockets, place these right sides together with the fabrics for the interior of pockets (black in my case), sew leaving a small opening and turn right side out and put a finish stitching on the tops of the pockets to not only look nice, but close the hole and also give a little strength. Think twice about order of sewing the pockets together and on the backing as some lay over other pockets.

Add some handles to the two sides and stitch the entire inside to the outside quilted piece.  Add some binding and call it done! The planning took far longer than the sewing.  Once I had the plan finalized, I put this all together in a morning.

A place for everything!

A place for everything! Even a pocket for my current issue of Quilting Arts magazine and a pocket for patterns or freezer paper etc etc etc. I have everything I need except my sewing machine! Rulers, add a quarter ruler, pins, needles, pens, marking tools, thimble, seam ripper, scissors, cutting wheel, cutting mat, threads, mini glue bottle (made from a left over Scribbler’s paint), glue stick, mini iron and an ironing mat (not in picture but slides into the mini iron pocket rolled up), and various extra needles in a CD case.  I’m a happy camper! Just fold it up and ready to go!


IMG_2861 IMG_2862

And it stores all these items nicely right next to my sewing table.  In fact!, I can fold it up other way and have a little handy tool area. NOTE: I don’t leave my cutting mat in this as I have a southern window exposure and would NOT be a good thing to have that in the sun! So it sits there under the case and the case protects it while not in use. Don’t EVER leave your cutting mats in sun or hot spots and always lay flat for storing or they will get warped and be ruined… ask me how I know! lol IMG_2865

Lessons here? Figure out what you want to have with you and make a plan (then plan again, check dimensions three times of your items), and make your own carry all bag! This doesn’t have to be just for sewing tools, think kids! Markers and books case to have for road trips or to take along to a friend’s house or even an easy way to carry from room to room and outside.  All stays nice and organized and can hang on a hook for easy storing.

And the best part?! I used up some more scraps! And even better? I used up some practice materials. Better than just tossing it.  No, it’s not perfect, I was learning. But it is a nice reminder of how far I have come also.  I have that dyeing mixture down, I can do curve piecing like a pro now, and now can make pretty free motion swirls and circles and turned the whole process into a useful item for myself.  Yes, doing the happy dance. 🙂

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