Trick or Treat!

Eliza, whose birthday is not Halloween!

Kevin read an article today that said women avoid giving birth on Halloween.  Anyone can understand why.  Twenty-two years ago, I went into labor late in the afternoon of October 31, and our younger daughter, Eliza, missed having a Halloween birthday by just one hour.  Lucky break.

Fall is a busy time for sewists: from back-to-school crafts, to Halloween costumes, to Thanksgiving and finally Christmas, we’re buried in projects.  Obviously, my daughters haven’t been trick-or-treating in years.  However, I have sixteen nephews and nieces,  and the two youngest should have trick-or-treat bags, right?   Actually Samantha,  just one week old, won’t be using hers until next year, but how could I send one to her brother Jake and neglect Sammie?

Samantha, born Oct. 14
Fortuitously, I had a half-yard Halloween print (a remnant, purchased some time ago), as well as a few black-and-white and orange-calico fat quarters.   Quilters love fat quarters, which measure 18 by 22 inches, and they’re a bargain, too.  JoAnn Fabric sometimes has them on sale for 99 cents.    I love using them for patchwork bags–being small, they’re easily placed on an Olfa cutting mat–and usually two of them are enough to line one bag.

I planned for the trick-or-treat bags to be toddler size, because Jake is only two.  Since 10 x 11″ seemed right, I began by cutting two 8 1/2 by 11″ rectangles of the Halloween fabric for each bag.  Then, I cut two smaller rectangles from the fat quarter prints, 4 1/2 x 11.”   Allowing for a 1/2″ seam allowance, the finished size of each bag would be 10 x 11,” not including the straps.   For the straps, I cut four strips, 2 1/2 x 16,” which leaves an 8″ drop.  Here is Samantha’s bag, under construction:

Two outside panels of Samantha's bag (contrasting fabric rectangles sewn together for each side)

I pressed the seam allowance up, instead of open to each side.  That works better for me.  When the two side panels were ready, I cut out contrasting print letters for each child’s name, and then appliqued it to the top panel using a narrow zigzag stitch.  I cut the letters freehand, but those lucky enough to have one might use an AccuQuilt die cutter  or even a Cricut.  Here you see Jake’s name, ready to be sewn on.

Applique letters ready for placement

Next, I sewed on Jake’s name and put the two panels together, repeating the process for the lining and then attaching the two straps 1″ from the edge of each completed panel.  Finally, I attached the lining to the outside, topstitching at the edge.  (That’s not strictly necessary, of course; I just happen to like the look of topstitching.)

Sewing together Jake's bag


Here’s the inside of one bag, showing plenty of room for goodies:


Finally, here are Jake and Sammie’s bags, complete and ready to be shipped on Monday, so they’ll arrive in time for trick-or-treating.

the finished bags

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