June 2, 2017

Big Ole Schlep Bag

I recently made this tote bag from Cotton and Steel black and white fabrics except for the lining. The free pattern is So Sew Easy Schlep Bag by Sentimental Stitches.  However, I wouldn't classify it as So Sew Easy.

It really wasn't that difficult, but the construction with on-point squares really made me think.  And to add it, I decided to enlarge the bag by using 10" squares instead of 8" and it's really just too big.  I must carry it on my shoulder or it will drag on the ground.

It took a little figuring to increase the size of the lining and I found this handy diagonals of a square calculator which I use a good bit.  You must try it out! Here's a screenshot, but all you do is drag any vertex (where the sides meet to form a corner) to the desired square size and it will automatically calculate the diagonal of the square.

In this case, I used 10" squares, so the finished square would be 9.5".  The calculations are to the nearest even numbers, but it's really close and I didn't have to do that calculation you see below using the square root of anything.

I pieced the lining using some fat quarters I didn't care for and added a band of the focus fabric along the top where it might be seen.

I even added a pocket in the lining seam.

Here's the schlep bag lying flat.  It measures 24" wide by 18" tall.

And I guess you've noticed my mistake by now...I sewed the label on side rather than the front between the handle straps.  Faye, vice president of the Greenville MQG, screen printed the labels with our logo for us attendees of the GMQG retreat we had back in April.  And it's my favorite color too!

 And a better close up of the quilted handles.

Based on my experience making the So Sew Easy Schlep Bag, I have a few recommendations or things to consider:

1.  Make the bag using the suggested size squares or you will doing more quilty math then you might prefer.

2.  The pattern called for just using interfacing on the 4 bottom squares, but I feel it needed it throughout the bag or perhaps a layer of fleece.  I used Pellon Shape Flex 101 (affiliate link), a woven interfacing.

3.  If I hadn't put in the pocket, I would have quilted the layers sewing along the edges of the squares adding to the stability.

4.  The bag really needed structure and I added a bottom by cutting an old plastic advertisement type sign to fit.  I may go back in cover it in fabric, but for now it's sitting in place just fine and ready for schlepping.

Linking to:
Finish It Up Friday with Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts
Whoop Whoop Friday with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Show Off Saturday with Caroline at Sew Can She

and the next

Tips and Tutorials Tuesdays with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl


  1. Paige it turned out beautiful. I love the pocket additions.

  2. That is large!!! I will try this in the normal size, as it looks fascinating with those choice fabrics in a block each.

  3. A great looking bag! Good point about too large (that diagonal thing where you get more than 2" per square across). I love the pattern, another note for something else to make some day!

  4. Great bag, especially in your lovely choice of fabrics. I don't usually make bags but your makes me very tempted so I downloaded the pattern. Thank you for that, and the calculator too, I saved the link.

  5. What a fabulous bag!!! I prefer bags over the shoulder. Great fabrics too. Looks like a win to me!!!

  6. The bag turned out marvelous! Who would have thought making such a small change would result in that much more work...but thank goodness for quilting/geometry/math made easier calculators :)

  7. Great fabric selection and color choices for the bag - it will match any outfit! Wow, upsizing the bag sounds like a lot of effort, but it turned out great and thanks for the fun link (although I am crazy and think the math is fun). :)

    1. Also, thanks for linking up with Tips and Tutorials Tuesday!

  8. Lovely fabric choice Paige ! And very handy. These small projects are never as easy as it sounds ...

  9. Your bag looks great though quilt math makes my head spin

  10. Your bag is beautiful. I know what you mean about making bags way too big, I am a proud maker of several. I did make a bag for my friend and used Bosal fusible foam and boy did it make that bag stand up by itself. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Very pretty! It's large enough that you might need to save it for schlepping light and fluffy things, like bubble wrap or helium balloons :)

  12. The bag turned out beautiful Paige! And thank you for sharing all those tips. :-)

  13. Hi Paige,
    This is a really nice bag. I love your fabric choices - it turned out really nicely. The addition of the pocket is a great idea. ~smie~

  14. Great bag! I downloaded the pattern for the bag as you had me with it's name and then came back and read your post. Now I'm having second thoughts. Your bag does look great though! Karen

  15. Looks like a great bag and nice and big for some new fabric purchases!

  16. It's looks great, Paige! The pocket was a very nice addition.


  17. What a fab bag! I think I'd always use interfacing in bags, they need the strength.

  18. I will have to check out the link to this pattern; I made a reversible schlep bag which was called a hobo bag back in 2007/8 using squares of NYC fabric my friend and I got when we were there for an English teachers conference. It was free online but do you think I can find it?! Love your fabrics and great idea for a label memento!

  19. What a stunning bag! I love the fabric and the design.

  20. Pretty and functional. Chic design and love the fabric choices. This is a winner, Paige and so are you!!!

  21. Great bag and I really appreciate the link for the math calculations. I can understand why you recommend keeping it the original size. Big bags can get filled up very fast and that makes them soooo heavy!