Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tumbler Tote-orial: Layer Cake Gift Bag Buddies

Hi there, Ebony Love here with a new tote-orial for you today!

This is my new Layer Cake Gift Bag Buddy pattern.  I know that name is a mouthful, but here's how it came about.
Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial: Tumbler Tote-orial by Ebony Love

I collect pre-cut fabric like it's going out of style. My favorites are charm packs (5" squares) but on occasion I'll pick up a layer cake (10" squares) or two.  I never know what to do with them. I'll bet you've got some things like this hanging out in your stash.

Have you ever needed a bunch of gifts in a hurry, and couldn't think of a think to do?  Well this project is the perfect have-layer-cake-make-gift lifesaver.  Each layer cake will yield 10 gift bags, with enough scraps left to make something cool for yourself.  The bags finish at 7-3/4" tall, 7-1/2" wide at the base, and 4-1/2" at the top. You can put all sorts of things in this bag; consider theming the gift, like a first-aid kit filled with bandaids, ointment, aspirin, sanitizer, and tissues. You could also make it an emergency snack kit with chocolate bars, peanuts,a protein bar, and gum.  Lots of possibilities!

Let's get started!


  • Sizzix Bigz Pro Die - Tumbler, 8" H Finished (Die #658116)
  • 1 layer cake (40- 10" squares)
  • 10- 7" zippers (nylon teeth)
  • 10- 1" D-rings or swivel hooks
  • Fusible fleece or batting (I used TP971F Thermolam by Pellon)
  • Marking pen or pencil
  • Single-fold bias tape (optional)
  • 1/2"-wide fusible adhesive (optional)
  • Small adhesive labels (optional)

First, take your layer cake and divide it into 10 equal piles of 4 squares each.  Feel free to mix and match them until you are pleased with the combinations.

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If you care about which pieces are inside versus outside, label your pieces as follows:
  • 1 - Exterior front
  • 2 - Interior front
  • 3 - Interior back
  • 4 - Exterior back
Take the two exterior pieces (1 & 4) and fuse them to the fleece or batting following the manufacturer's instructions.  Quilt these pieces however you want. Or don't quilt them; the fusible will hold them just fine.

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I actually quilted these all at once by fusing them to a large piece of Thermolam.

I then loaded them onto my long arm and treated them like one big project I could doodle on.  You don't need a long arm to do this, but if you're working on a regular machine, you may find it easier to work with only one or two 10" squares at a time.

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Once you have quilted 1 & 4, remove the excess batting from the outside edges. Now, take squares 1 & 2 (front exterior and lining) and lay them right sides together on top of the tumbler die.  Offset the square to one side, so you get a larger scrap on one edge (we need that piece!) Cut out the tumbler.

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Repeat this step for squares 2 & 3, except layer these wrong sides together.  Set these two pieces aside.

Assemble the Strap

From your leftover 1 & 2 scraps, cut a piece that measures 1-1/2" x 2" from each piece.

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Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance down each 2" edge.  Trim the seam allowance to 1/8", then turn the strap right side out.  Topstitch down each long edge.

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Fold the strap in half over the D-ring, and stitch close to the ring through all layers.

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Prepare the Zipper (Optional)

I don't like the zipper tape to show, so I cover my zipper with binding tape. Your zipper is too long for what we are doing, but that's okay; we'll shorten it in a little bit.

First, adhere the fusible to the single-fold bias tape, then fuse the tape to the wrong side of the zipper.

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Insert the Zipper

On the wrong side of lining 2, position a ruler 2-1/4" from the top edge, and draw a line that is 3/4" in from each side.

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Move the ruler down 3/8", and draw a parallel line.

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Connect these two lines together to form a rectangle.

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Don't freak out.  This zipper thing is going to be fun!

At this point, pin tumblers 1 & 2 together.  Take it to your sewing machine, and stitch along the rectangle, through all layers.

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Once you have the rectangle stitched, use your marking pen to draw a line down the center of the rectangle you stitched, and then about 1/4" from each end, draw diagonal lines from the center line to the corner of the rectangle.

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Insert a seam ripper into the center line, and rip a hole, then use a pair of scissors to cut on the lines you just drew.  Get as close as you can to the corners without clipping your stitches.

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Now take your lining and stuff it - all of it! - into the hole.

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Pull it completely through to the backside, and press the lining down.  You might need to encourage the rectangle corners to flatten; do the best you can to get the lining flat.

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Turn your piece over so the exterior is facing up.  Place your zipper behind it, with the metal stop facing to the left and butted up against the left edge of your rectangle.  Open your zipper so the pull tab is inside the rectangle.  If you need to, place a couple of pins to hold the zipper in place.

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At your sewing machine, topstitch close to the edge of the rectangle to attach the zipper to the bag.
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Cut off the excess zipper that extends beyond the bag.  That's all there is to the zipper!  Now make sure your zipper is OPEN for the final steps of assembly!

Finish the Bag

Align the raw edges of the strap with the right exterior edge, positioned just above the zipper.  You essentially do not want it overlapping the zipper, but you don't want it too close to the top edge either. Pin the strap to the exterior.

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Lay tumblers 3 & 4 on top of tumbler 1 and pin, so the exterior pieces are facing and the linings are facing out.

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Stitch completely around the tumbler through all layers using a 1/4" seam allowance (you may find it helpful to switch to a 100/16 needle here).  Stitch around the tumbler again, so you have two rows of stitching.

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Trim the seam allowance to 1/8" all the way around.

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Turn the bag right side out through the zipper.

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Use a point turner to smooth out the corners, then press the bag flat. Topstitch around the entire bag 1/4" from the edge.  (Because you undercut the seam allowance, you should only be stitching through the layers of the bag and the lining.)

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All you have to do now is repeat that process nine more times until you get to the end of your layer cake!  If you're making several bags at once, it will be helpful to prepare all the zippers, then do all the cutting, then mark all the rectangles for the zippers, etc.  Otherwise, you could just quilt & cut everything and have them ready to make bags at a moment's notice!

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I've made two so far, and the rest are ready to be cut.  I hope you have fun making this project!


die cutting supplies

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