Railfence Lined Zipped Tote Bag Pattern

Lined zipped tote bag

Lined zipped tote bag

I’ve made this lined zipped tote bag using the railfence quilt block and I’m really pleased with the finished bag.  I’ve plaited fabric strips for the straps which also makes the bag very individual.  The main body of the bag measures 16″ square and there isn’t a half square triangle in sight!  I have used 21″ of light blue fabric, 10″ of dark blue, 5″ of medium blue and just 3″ of the white ivory fabric, together with a 12″ zip.  You can buy these fabrics together in this week’s special offer.

Cutting requirements for the zipped tote bag

1.1/2″ strips:  three dark blue, three medium blue, three light blue, two white ivory

2.1/2″ strips:  four dark blue

16.1/2″ squares:  two light blue

One 12″ zip




Cut the squares

Cut the squares

Make the railfence quilt blocks

Sew together a 1.1/2″ strip each of dark blue, white ivory, medium blue and light blue.  Press the seam allowances all in one direction.  Cut this panel at 4.1/2″ intervals to make squares.  You should get nine squares from each panel of fabric so you need to make two panels.  You need to make eighteen of these squares.

Make the body of the bag

Make the body of the bag

Arrange the squares in three rows of three.  Alternate the squares with the stripes first horizontal and then vertical.  I have placed them so that the dark blue forms a staircase from the top left to the bottom left.  This forms the basic railfence design.  Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  This panel now measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make two of them.

Fold the strips lengthways

Fold the strips lengthways

Make the plaited straps

For the straps you need one 1.1/2″ strip each of dark blue, medium blue and light blue.  Fold the edges in towards the middle along the length of each strip.  Then fold the resulting folded strip in half.  This gives you a strip about 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide with no raw edges showing.  Sew along the length of the strip to hold the folds in place.

Plait the strips

Plait the strips

Pin the three strips together at one end.  Plait the three strips – simply take the right hand strip and place it over the middle strip and then take the left hand strip and place it over the middle strip.

Sew the ends and the middle

Sew the ends and the middle

Keep repeating this along the length of the strips.  My strip ended up about 32″ long.  Sew across the plaited strip at each end to make sure that the plait doesn’t come undone.  Find the middle of your plait and sew across it at two points about 1/2″ apart.  Now snip across the plait half way between these two middle rows of stitching.  This gives you two bag straps, each about 16″ long.

Pin the straps in place

Pin the straps in place

Assemble the body of the bag

I haven’t added the straps at the top of the bag because it would make the seam too bulky when I sew the zip in place.

Add the panel border

Add the panel border

Instead I have placed them on the railfence panel before I add the border.  Pin the ends of one strap either side of the central block.  Repeat with the second strap on the second railfence panel.  Now add the border: to each panel:  sew a 12.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ length of dark blue to the top and bottom.  Follow this with a 16.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ dark blue strip down each side.

Place the zip between the panels

Place the zip between the panels

Add the zip

Place one outer bag panel with right side up.  Lay the zip on it with right side down.  Add a light blue lining square with right side down.  The zip does not reach the ends of the two bag panels – it will be about 2″ short on each side.  I did this because I find that the corners of the bag can be very bulky if the zip reaches right into the corner.

Sew along the length of zip

Sew along the length of zip

Sew these three layers in place just along the length of the zip.  Your stitching is above the zip section.  If you have a zipper foot for your sewing machine then this will help you stitch close to the zip.  Open up the layers and press the two fabric panels away from the zip.

Add the second panel

Add the second panel

Now lay the second light blue lining  panel with right side up.

Place the zip on top of this with the right side of the zip facing upwards.  Now add the second railfence panel with right side down.  Once again the zip is sandwiched between a lining panel and a railfence panel.  Sew along the length of the zip.  Fold the bag panels away from the zip and press.

Complete the side seams

Panels joined by the zip

Panels joined by the zip

All the sections of the bag are now joined along the sides of the zip.  Fold at the zip so that you have the two railfence panels right sides together and the two lining panels right sides together.  You need to fold the zip in half lengthways to do this.  But first open the zip partially so that you can turn the project right side out after you’ve sewn the seams.

Sew the outer panels together

Sew the outer panels together

Sew the outer panels together first.  With right sides together, you need to sew across the small remaining section of the top then down each side and across the bottom.  You have now created the pouch of the outer bag.

For the lining sections you need to sew the short sections at each end of the zip and the sides only.  Don’t sew across the bottom of the lining squares.  These now form a tube with an opening across the bottom.

Turn the bag right side out

Turn the bag right side out

Hem the bag lining

Working from the gap across the bottom of the lining, pull the bag through to turn the project right side out.  Now you can hem the bottom of the lining.

Turn under a hem

Turn under a hem

Turn under a small hem on both sections of the lining and pin the two edges together.  Sew across the seam to close the bottom of the bag lining.

Push the lining back into the body of the bag, pushing out all the corners of the bag.  Lined zipped tote bag complete!  I have to admit that I’m really thrilled with this bag.

Here’s the video:

Thank you so much for all the helpful comments last week regarding my scissors.  I am really grateful that so many of you took the time to share your thoughts on them.

Haden Hill House Museum

Haden Hill House Museum

My travels this week took me to Haden Hill House Museum, another hidden gem quite close to where I live.

The house is lovely but for me the wonderful part is that it is set in a huge area of parkland.  I couldn’t take advantage of this because it was raining when I went there, but I plan many return visits to explore the park.

To read more about it, click here or on the photo.

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Comments

  1. Like your tote and the pattern. It reminded me of the Rail Fence quilt I made for my niece’s 60th birthday. Your pattern gave the bag a different look because one of the strips blended in with the fabric you used to make the bag.
    I really enjoyed reading about Haden Hill House. Were you told that they used the house for TV and British films Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice,Other Boleyn Girl, Princes Bride among others? Thanks for another interesting read.

    • Thanks, Claire. I remember you making that railfence quilt. No, I had no idea that Haden Hill house was used in so many films and programmes. It would be absolutely perfect for anything requiring a Victorian setting – all the furniture and furnishings already in place. The rooms did seem quite small so it must have been a real crush with all the lights and cameramen as well as the actors. Thanks for the information.

  2. Thank you Rose, I do like this pattern, thank you…Kath

  3. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose,
    Great pattern. Did not make the other bag yet but I WILL. This one is also very clever. Will give it a go also.
    Our weather has been awful. Cold windy in the 30’s or low 40’s. I think we are in a new season called Sprinter. Because winter does not want to go away. Hopefully this too shall pass.
    Hope you had a fine afternoon and will have a great weekend. Happy Quilting
    Sandra

    • Hi Sandra. Thank you so much – sprinter is a wonderful new word for me! Sorry to hear that your weather’s so bad. We’ve had two full days of wall to wall sunshine and high temperatures – I hope that’s not our summer over.

  4. Hi Rose, It’s lovely to see the beautiful photos. That quilt is a classic plenty of
    neutrals to please the “modernists”.
    I’m trying that bag, maybe not the zip, but, with your tutorial who knows.
    Thank you Rose.
    Have a sew happy week-end.

    • Hi Mary. I had to unpick once when I was making the bag, but that was because I had placed the zip the wrong way up. Once I’d corrected that it was quite easy to put the zip in the bag. I always feel that the zip helps with security.

  5. Thank you so much for this lovely pattern Rose – do so appreciate your kindness.

  6. Gwendy Burtz says:

    Good morning!
    Thanks for the pattern! I really like your idea of braiding the handle! Thanks For sharing.

    • Thanks, Gwendy. Those straps are a great way of using up small sections of fabric – as well as looking good!

  7. Irene Beattie says:

    Can you say what the scissors were used for? I was very interested in the one with the square hole as I am sure I have seen a pair or had a pair but the memory is going and I can’t remember. love to receive your email. Irene

    • Hi Irene. Most answers that I received seemed to agree that the larger one-handled scissors are thread snips and the smaller ones with a square hole and a screw are buttonhole scissors. You’ll see lots of suggestions on how to use them if you look back at the comments section of last week’s pattern.

  8. Shirley McCormick says:

    That is a very handy bag to have. I quite like the idea of the platted straps, I was thinking of making a bag with crazy patchwork to use up some of my scraps. That’s another idea, what is wrong with having smaller rail fences. Yes, my mind is ticking over, I have some wind mill blocks I never used in a quilt I have just made. You have got my brain working over, I’ll sleep on it for now until I have more time to work it out. Thanks Rose.

    • Hi Shirley. I thought that the plaited straps provided something a bit different as well as using up scraps of fabric. You are absolutely right – you could use any orphan quilt blocks or scrap quilt blocks to make the body of the bag.