Turkey Tracks: January 16, 2020
Kelly Lautenbach’s “Not Your Basic Blue Bag”
I saw modern quilter Kelly Lautenbach’s BIG bag in the recent Simply Modern (#19) magazine’s article on her work.
I fell in love!
There are three sizes, and the BIG, original one is HUGE—big enough to hold 3 or 4 full-size quilts or, even, two of the small bag version. There are leather straps (2 sets if you like and I did for a bag this big that could be really heavy) attached with 1/4 inch Chicago Screws. I bought a hand-held leather hole punch set from Amazon for roughly $20 (Pro-Master Leather Hole Punch Set) which I really like. As suggested in the article, I got the leather straps from Springfield Leather and the 1/4-inch Chicago screws from Tandy’s Leather.
NOTE: the pattern cover page has a math error in that the finished width of this big bag is 32+ inches, depending on the width you use of Annie’s Soft and Stable. I used the standard kit size of Annie’s 36 wide and was careful when quilting not to go below the 36 inches. The pattern suggests 38 wide Annie’s S&S as the fabric layers will shrink with quilting, but you do trim to 36 by 42. I did not want to buy 2 yards of Annie’s to get these extra 2 inches as the bag is plenty wide.
I would also use the spray baste product the pattern suggests if I ever make this bag again. The bag is made from one BIG piece, which means there is lots of room for layers to shift easily when you quilt. I just ran lines down the width and called it a day. Use a walking foot for sure!!!
And note that the bag, when full, makes a big rectangle. Also, sometimes the pattern is referred to as “Not Your Basic Blue Ikea Bag.”
The really cool thing about the Chicago screws is that they can be removed if you want to wash the bag. I did use the screw lock (blue or purple) liquid on my screws to insure that they don’t jiggle loose down the road—which happened to the tiny, tiny screws on the Turn Lock on the Noodlehead Explorer Bag I made last fall. I can get them open again; it just takes a bit more beginning muscle and a pair of pliers to hold the back of the screw in place while you turn the front.
I ordered 1 1/2-inch leather straps for this big bag. I think they work well at that width. Right now, this bag holds three full-size quilts and there is room for a 4th smaller quilt. For a smaller bag, I’d drop back to the 1 inch leather strips.
The pattern suggests cutting some backing pieces to stabalize the screw holes on the inside of the bag. I agree that’s a good idea, and it looks so nice.
I worried about the 1/4-inch screw working with FOUR layers (3 leather and the bag), but they did.
I love the way Kelly bound the inside seams—to avoid having to lay in the lining separately and turn the bag, etc. Next time I will sew the binding on the right side in the ditch—so the seam line does not show on this side. The pattern calls for that, but I was squeamish about catching the back, folded piece for sure. I’m not good at that. No one would care about seeing this seam line really. It just looks like more quilting lines.
I loved the Chicago screws so much I took apart the handle I hand-sewed on my Noodlehead Market Basket and used these screws. Steel-colored ones might have been classier, so I’m ordering both brass and steel screws next. It takes 8 screws per bag.
And, again, I put reinforment leather on the inside.
Oh boy! I am feeling the urge to make the smaller bag—maybe for a gift…
Ok, maybe for ME.
The pattern is available on Etsy. Note that I blacked out the 22-inch figure for the original bag, which is wrong. It is more like 32 or more—depending on the width size of your Annie’s Soft and Stable. And I added in black text the correct size on the image. The other long sizes on the pattern are a big off as well.