Over the weekend I finished up this patchwork grocery bag. I don't get tired of making the grocery bags, but the one thing I run into is not having enough of a certain fabric to complete one, so making them in patchwork solves this problem. Plus it's also always a fun surprise to see how they turn out!
At this point, I have two more partially done, but only the ticking handles and lining are complete, and the patchwork panels haven't been started yet. But once I get them going, it will be nice to have these pieces of the bags ready to go.
For this bag, I started out with the blue/green/pink floral which is Elda by Marcus Fabrics. My fabric stash got a little low over the summer, so I've been out fabric shopping lately, and have been keeping patchwork in mind when picking out new prints. This one caught my eye because it has a number of different colors in it, and I knew the shades of pink and blue would be easy matches with some of the fabrics already in my stash.
Start out with at least five different fabrics. The layout gets tricky if you don't have a variety of prints and you'll find yourself running into trouble keeping the fabrics spread out. One "rule" of patchwork is to keep the same fabric pieces from abutting each other. When two pieces of the same fabric (or color) adjoin, shapes will begin to emerge and these become focal points--and usually not in a great way. Even though you are using a mish-mash of prints and colors to make the patchwork, ultimately the over all effect you are looking for is a colorful, but somewhat unified whole.
If you are having a hard time keeping prints spread out, use some small/skinny strip pieces to break things up.
Keep light background fabrics away from the bottom. The bag will eventually get dirty from setting it down, and darker colors are going to hide this better. Of course, you can always wash these, but I try not to wash mine too often. They'll look new longer and will have longer lives with less washing.
Remember the sides and bottom are folded, so make the patches along the sides and bottom wide/high enough that they show on the finished bag. If you use little pieces they may end up disappearing into the sides or bottom and if they are especially beloved fabrics, you will be sad they aren't more visible!
Try not to intersect seams. Intersecting seams are another thing that can become an accidental focal point.
Here's a sweet patchwork pouch I finished up this weekend. This patchwork piece was tucked away in my zipper pouch templates file, and when I came across it I wanted to finish it up right away, because I knew it was going to be this cute when done!
The cat fabric is a snippet of a print called Whiskers & Tails from Alexander Henry. With the exception of the big white polka dot on black at the bottom (Kei Honeycomb Dots), the polka dot prints are a mystery. The grey floral fabric is from 6+ years ago, so I'm not sure what it is called either. The pink floral is Deco State Apple Blossom.