Monday, January 30, 2012

Nate Cheater Bag Tutorial

Hey y'all!  So today I am excited to share a tutorial for this Nate Cheater Bag.  (Can you believe a teacher is getting ready to tell you to cheat!?!  haha)  There is a story behind this bag.  Last fall when our rep came around she walked up with this amazing bag.  I thought "wow - that is so fun looking!" and then "that is a lot of piecing on that bag."  Well, upon closer inspection I found out that it was actually cheater cloth and I was instantly sold on this print! And finally, I have my own bag!  :-)

So, you'll need one yard of the Nate Cheater Fabric in Spectrum and a one yard of a coordinating print. (And some batting and thread.)

STEP 1:  Let's cut your fabric up .... from the Nate Cheater print, cut one piece 20" x WOF.  From the remaining 16" wide piece, cut two 7" x WOF strips.

From the lining fabric, you will need one piece 20" x WOF.  From the remaining 16" wide piece, cut two 3" x WOF strips.

STEP 2: Sandwich the 20" x WOF cuts of the Nate Cheater print with the coordinating print (wrong sides together with batting in between).  Pin or baste as desired.

Quilt the piece as desired.

I kind of followed the outlines of the blocks on the front and then free motioned a swirly pattern in the middle of the blocks.

This is a great time to practice something fun!  This fabric is very forgiving if your stitching is a little wonky! :-) The blocks on the print don't line up always, so I just curved around to follow the outline.  Have fun with this one!

Fold the quilted section in half and trim your tote to 17" tall from the fold at the bottom and 19" wide. (Note - I actually didn't try to center my pattern and it somehow worked out like a dream ... you may want to consider this when cutting your fabric, though!)

Set this aside for now.

STEP 3:  Time to make the straps!  Take one 7" x WOF strip of the Nate Cheater print and trim to 32" long.  Then fold it in half lengthwise. Press along the fold.  The open the piece up and fold the edges in to the middle as shown.  Press as you go.

Cut a piece of batting 1.5" wide x 32" and place inside one of the flaps as shown.

Fold the strap back in half and pin in place.  To stitch the strap closed, I went down both sides with about a 0.5" seam.  (I used the edge of my walking foot as a guide.)

Then, I came back down each edge about 1/8" from the edge.

Your finished strap should look something like this. Trim to 31" long

Repeat the process to create a second strap.

STEP 4:   Make the ties.  We'll use a similar process to the straps, but without the batting.  Take ONE of the 3" x WOF strips of the coordinating print and cut it in half so you have TWO 3" x 21" pieces.  Fold them in half lengthwise.

Fold the edges in to the middle.

Then fold the edge of one side in, press, and trim as shown.

Fold the tie back in half, pin, and stitch along the edge of the top and sides.  It should look like the one shown below.

Repeat the process to make the second tie. Trim ties to 15" long.

STEP 5:  Let's assemble your bag! :-)  Start by laying one edge on your ironing board or table and lining up a ruler along the edge.  Place a tie in the center.  Raw end up/finished end dangling down.  Pin the tie in place.

Take one strap and place the end on top of the bag body.  I pinned mine 3" from the edge of the tie.  Fold the strap over and back under and pin the opposite end down 3" away from the tie on the other side.

Click on the photo to make it bigger if you need to!

Stitch the tie and strap ends down to hold them in place.  Repeat at the opposite end of the bag body.

Now, fold the bag body so that the raw edges with the straps are up at the top together. Pin along the left and right side edges of the bag.

Stitch along the edge of both sides - using a very small seam allowance ... about 1/8" inch if you can!  (You may have to click on the picture to enlarge it and see the stitching along the edge.)

Turn your bag inside out. Carefully push the sides out and press.  Then pin again.

Stitch along the edges again.  I used a 1/2" seam here and used the edge of my walking foot as a guide.

This process will result in a nice seam that is totally closed - no need to add a lining or bind the edges on the inside! :-)

STEP 6: Let's finish it up ... turn the bag right side out.  Fold the remaining 3" x WOF strip or your lining print in half lengthwise to make a binding strip.

Carefully pin the binding (raw edges up/fold down) around the top of the bag.

Stitch the binding on using a 1/2" seam.  When you get to the sides of your bag, go slow to move your machine over the bulky side seam.

Once you have attached the binding, press it and flip it over and  around to the inside.

Pin it again and take it back to your machine.

Using your walking foot, stitch all the way around the top edge of the bag to secure the binding.  I used a scant 1/4" seam along the top.

Switch to a smaller foot and stitch around the bag again along the bottom edge of the binding.  This was easier to do from the inside and with a narrower foot.  Again, remember to go slow and take your time going over the bulky side seams. You are almost done! :)

STEP 7:  Press the fold on the bottom of the bag really well to get a crease for this step.  Then turn your bag inside out again and make a point at the corner.

Line up the seam as best you can with the crease you made on the bottom.  Pin.  Draw a line 2" from the tip of the corner across the bag.  Use your ruler to make sure this is straight!  (Notice, I have 2" from the center seam to the edge of the bag along the line I drew.)

Stitch across the line you drew being sure to backstitch at the beginning and end. Repeat the process for the opposite corner.

I left my corners untrimmed.  Certainly you could trim and bind the edges if you'd like.

Finally ... flip your bag right side out again and enjoy!  :-)  My bag measures approximately 13" wide x 14" tall x 4" deep.

What do you think?  I'd love to see your bag if you use this tutorial - please add a link in the comments.  If you have any questions or need any clarifications on a step, please leave a comment or email me at sewlux (at) gmail (dot) com.  You can find the fabrics I used from the A Stitch in Color collection here.

Happy Sewing! :-)


  1. Lovely tutorial! I think your quilting is just adorable did a great job. =)

  2. What a wonderful tutorial and neat bag! That fabric is great!

  3. It`s stunning.You did a wonderful work!


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