Practice Makes…Better

In November 2018, I decided that a great way to face my fear of free motion quilting and get used to my new machine was to practice.
But, like most working moms, my time for quilting is limited and I couldn’t stand the idea of making a ton of samplers that would never get used. It was also the holiday season and I knew that I would soon face the terrible challenge of finding meaningful gifts for the kids’ teachers – but at a cost that didn’t blow the budget. So I dug around online and finally found this pattern for quilted tote bags. Using the fabric lovingly donated from my aunt and grandmother’s stashes, I set out to make several quilted tote bags. (To get the kids involved, I set up a “fabric store” in my sewing room and let them come and choose the fabrics for their teachers.)

Overall, the pattern was pretty quick and easy to follow and gave me the opportunity to try several all over FMQ designs. The toughest part of the pattern was getting the boxed corners right, and dealing with thread issues…more on that in a future post. In regards to the corners,
I since watched a Midnight Quilting Show episode with an even easier method for accomplishing this. The pattern on the show was pieced, but not quilted. I think I might give it a try when I make my next bags, but with the quilting – sort of a hybrid between the two patterns.

I didn’t take photos along the way, but here you can see a picture of the final project. In the weeks and months after finishing these, I made 5 additional bags for family and friends. Each time they got a bit faster and I used each bag as an opportunity to practice a new FMQ pattern. It’s a great way to get in some practice, and have a nice gift to show for your hard work!


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