How to Make a Fabric Flower for Quilted Tote Bags and More

11 Aug 2014

Quilted bags are among my favorite sewing projects. Why? They are easy to make and it's one project where no one ever asks, "What are you going to do with it?" Everyone knows how useful bags--especially quilted tote bags--can be. In my opinion, you can never have enough.

Most tote-style quilted bag patterns follow a similar structure--the difference is in the fabrics you use and the embellishments you add.

The Twisted Fabric Flower embellishment Vanessa Christenson made for the Little Girl Handbag she demonstrated on 'Quilting Arts TV' Episode 1213 adds just the right touch. You just need 1/8 yard of fabric to make these fabric flowers.

how to make a quilted bag with fabric flower by vanessa christenson
A fabric flower adds punch to this tote bag by Vanessa Christenson.

Twisted fabric flower embellishment

By Vanessa Christenson

One flower takes 2 strips,  1-1/2 " wide by width of fabric.

1. Measure down 3/4" from the top of the bag and in from the right side 2". Do not have your flower go past this point. To make this an easy task, I find it is helpful to draw a circle where your flower will be with a washable marker. (I used a mason jar as a template.)

2. Fold the end of 1 strip lengthwise, wrong sides together. Fold again a second time.

3. Start the flower by placing the end of the folded fabric on the drawn circle line and take a few stitches in the folded edge, then backstitch.

4. Gently twist the strip outward. Sew the twisted strip to the sewn line on the inner edge of the twist (approx. 1/8"-1/4" from the inside edge). Continue around the drawn circle gently twisting and sewing onto the curved line.

how to make a fabric flower
Vanessa Christenson's twisted fabric flowers, shown on a pillow cover.
5. Once you finish the outer edge of the circle, spiral inward, overlapping the inside edges of the previous circle to prevent gaps. If the strip runs out before you finish the flower, start another strip remembering to backstitch to secure the ends.

6. Once you fill in the circle shape, backstitch a few stitches and trim the fabric strip close to the backstitching.

You could make smaller flowers for a quilted shoulder bag or clutch. And these flowers make great pillow cover embellishments, too.

For directions on how to make Vanessa's Little Girl Handbag, download the PDF from 'Quilting Arts TV'.

For more ideas for DIY accessories and wearables, be sure to check out our sister sewing publication, BurdaStyle.

P.S. Do you sew or quilt bags? What's your favorite style? Leave a comment below and feel free to share a link to an image.


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Learn about digital printing on fabric& more with Ana Buzzalino, Barbara Schneider & Vanessa Christenson in this episode of QATV.

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Comments

mlayman wrote
on 12 Aug 2014 10:01 AM

These flowers are beautiful!  How wide and long should the strip be?

clarinetta wrote
on 12 Aug 2014 11:52 AM

I had the same question as Mlayman, then I downloaded the Little Girl Handbag pattern and found the answer.  According to the supply list,  one flower takes 2 strips  1 1/2 "  wide by width of fabric.  I'm looking forward to trying these too!