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Log Cabin Tote Bag

Design director Nancy Wiles cut scrappy strips of assorted Bali Batiks from Hoffman California Fabrics to make two mirror-image Log Cabin blocks. She featured one block on each side of her pieced handbag, adding an extra 1-1/2x12-1/2" strip at the bottom of each block to allow for the bag's depth. A wide band at the bag top and matching handles incorporate the two main colors used in the blocks.

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Assemble Bag Body and Straps


1. Fuse an interfacing 12-1/2x13-1/2" rectangle to wrong side of each Log Cabin block. Then fuse an interfacing 3x12-1/2" rectangle to wrong side of each brown-and-turquoise batik 3x12-1/2" rectangle.

2. Referring to Diagram 7, sew together a fused Log Cabin block and a fused brown-and-turquoise batik rectangle; press seam toward brown-and-turquoise rectangle. Topstitch 1/8" above seam line to make bag front. Repeat to make a mirror-image bag back.

3. Layer bag front and back; sew together side and bottom edges to make bag body (Diagram 8). Using tip of iron, carefully press seam open.

4. To shape a flat bottom for bag, at one corner match bottom seam line to side seam line, creating a flattened triangle (Diagram 9). Measure and mark on seam allowance 2" from point of triangle. Draw a 4"-long line across triangle, and sew on drawn line. Trim excess fabric. Repeat at remaining bottom corner. Turn bag body right side out.

5. Sew together dark brown batik 12-1/2x16" rectangles along both sets of long edges and one set of short edges, leaving a 4" opening in one long edge, to make bag lining. Do not turn bag lining right side out.

6. Repeat Step 4 to shape a flat bottom for lining.

7. Center a 1-1/2x22" interfacing strip on wrong side of a brown-and-turquoise batik 1-1/2x22" strip; fuse. Layer fused brown-and-turquoise batik strip with a dark brown batik 1-1/2x22" strip (Diagram 10). Stitch together strips' long edges; avoid catching interfacing in seams. Turn right side out and press flat; topstitch 1/8" from long edges to make a strap. Repeat to make a second strap.

8. Referring to Diagram 11, pin a strap's raw ends to front edge of bag body; make sure strap is centered with 4" between the ends. Baste strap ends to bag body a scant 1/4" from bag's edge. Repeat with second strap and bag back.

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