Fat Quarter Friday {Unfinished Projects Bag Tutorial}

I’m pretty sure we can all say that we have a bunch of unfinished projects in the works right now. I know I do. I also know that most of you don’t have sewing rooms or maybe you are like me and have a sewing room that you just don’t use. I know, I’m embarrassed to admit it. But my sewing room has no window and it’s dark, very dark and well it is just not comfy. So I still lug all my sewing junk, serger and sewing machine downstairs to sew at my table. Downstairs I am surrounded by windows with the most beautiful natural light. It’s comfy and it is peaceful. Plus when one of the kiddo’s wakes up I manage to get a few extra minutes in by having a little one on my lap. So anyways, now that I am still lugging my sewing goodies all around the house I decided that I needed to make a bag (or a few) that would easily hold all of my unfinished and in-the-works projects. So this is when I dreamed up this little bag. I wanted something that I could lay my projects in and they would lay flat and stay wrinkle free. I wanted it large enough to not only hold my project but the extra fabric pieces and pattern pieces that went along with it. Of course this project is adaptable to your liking. I hope the tutorial doesn’t confuse you because really all it is, is one large rectangle piece of fabric lined with batting that has two handles to fold it closed. Easy right?!


The Unfinished Projects Bag Tutorial

(Beginner level: takes about 1 hour to complete)


Material Needed:

*1 wooden dowel cut in half

*1 1/4 yards of fabric to make one bag about 20″ x 16″ when folded closed (use more or less fabric depending on the size of your bag)

*fabric scraps for handles or you can use ribbon or whatever else you have in your stash.

*1/2 yard of cotton batting or stabilizer


Start by cutting out your large fabric pieces to the desired size. I used a few different fabrics that were about the size of a fat quarter or a little larger. I just placed them all on top of one another to make the cutting process faster. I decided to cut all of my rectangles at 21″ x 17″ and made 4 of them to make one bag. Two for the front and two for the back.


Next you want to make some handles from your scraps. I cut my handles about 21″ x 4″ and cut 2 of them for one bag.


Take the strips and make them into a large bias tape and fold in the ends. Iron flat and top stitch. Now you have your handles.
Gather the four pieces of fabric that you will be using.
Pin right sides together on one edge. Make sure it is the longest edge of the rectangles.
Stitch, then lay seam flat and iron. I never used to do this, but it makes a huge difference in the final product, so just do it!
Repeat with the other two pieces. Now gather your batting and lay it flat on the table and layer your fabric pieces like below. Wrong side on top of batting and then the next layer right sides together.
Pin all three layers together. Don’t worry about the batting lining up with the other pieces of fabric. We will trim it later. It is faster to do it this way.
Sew around all edges, while leaving a 2 1/2″ opening for turning right sides out. Trim excess fabric and make sure you square off your edges!
Pull right sides out.
Iron flat. Now we are going to make the little pocket on the edges that will hold your dowel.
Working on the shorter ends, fold them up about 1 1/2″ or whatever size will best fit your dowel. Pin in place. Repeat on other side.
It will look like this now.
Now stitch the edges so that it makes a tube for the dowel. I also top stitched the sides of the bag. Just make sure you stop sewing before the openings to where the dowels will be inserted. You need them open in order to place the dowels in.
Now attach your handles. I placed mine about 3″ in and about 3″ down from the top. But you can place yours wherever you want to.
Repeat with other side.
Cut your dowel in half or shorter if need be to fit into your opening. Insert your dowels and your done.
You can hang them anywhere. And they are so pretty you wont mind if they are hanging off the back of your dining room chairs because let’s be honest, that is where my will be hanging most of them time…oh and with my sewing machine under the table.
Of course they work great on hangers as well. How great would a bunch of these be hanging in a closet? Or you could make a bunch to hold patterns or trims or anything really! I think it is one of those things that can work anywhere for anything!
So I hope they help you get organized and allow you to spend more time sewing instead of searching for all of your materials.
**As always, my tutorials are for personal uses and are not to be sold, thanks!**


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  5. Tracy Revalee says:

    Nice idea, great execution. I need to transport projects in progress to a monthly meeting…wait til the other women in the group see my cute new Unfinished Projects Bag! I’ll send them your way if they want to make their own. Thanks for posting.

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  7. So, if one was to get really energetic, do you think it could be a good idea to add open ended zippers to each side to better contain the little pieces,. , , I am bad about dropping things at times. . . just wondering what you thought.

  8. GrannyTo8Boys says:

    Very Nice Bag. Thanks!!!

  9. Lovely project idea! I may make a stack of these next Christmas for the ladies in the sewing group that I lead. I’m wondering if you truly cut the strips for the straps on the bias of the fabric, or if you cut them on the straight of grain, which would make them stronger. The bias of the fabric, as I’m sure you know, is the least stable direction, and is quite stretchy. I would certainly cut these on the lengthwise grain, parallel to the selvedge, if possible, and if not, then on the crosswise grain, perpendicular to the selvedge. And I can’t remember if you interfaced them or not, but that would add a bit more strength, in case you’re carrying anything heavy. Happy sewing!!

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  1. […] patterns that I am getting ready to use clipped onto hangers. My works in progress are stored in my unfinished projects bag that I made a few years ago and I even hang some of my finished products up here as well. You can […]

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