I’ve had a BERNINA L 860 serger for more than a year and I have hardly used it! One of my resolutions for 2024 is put it to work and this post is the first one of the year. I made a custom quilted tote for my favorite device – my mini iPad. Quilting with a serger? This project is made using the Serge-and-Flip quilting technique. This quilt-as-you-go method lets you quickly put the tote together, so you’ll have a padded carrier to protect your electronic tablet. The mini-iPad is 8”x 6” and the finished tote is 10”x 8”.
Supplies for a Quilted Rectangle that measures 12 1/2″ x 17”
- 5 strips of coordinating quilting cotton, four 2 ½” x 17” and one, 4” x 17” (I used Amanda Murphy’s new line of fabric, Vibrancy)
- Cut strips of lining fabric to match the size of the outer fabric strips
- Cut strips of batting to match the size of the fabric strips
- 2 Binding strips, each on 2 ½” x 13”
- 1 zipper with nylon coils, 14”-20”
- Serger, set for 4-thread overlock stitching with serger thread
- Sewing machine to finish the binding and the zipper
This tote is made with of strips of the outer fabric, batting, and lining fabric. Start with the 4” strip for the center panel. Sandwich a layer of batting between the outer fabric 4″ strip and the lining fabric strip, wrong sides to the batting. This will be the anchor piece. Stack the pieces with raw edges even and serge along the two long edges of the anchor piece, skimming the fabric for a clean edge.
Align a piece of outer fabric face down on the outer fabric of the anchor piece. Place a lining strip face up with the lining strip on the anchor. Add a piece of batting on the bottom of the stack. Stitch all layers together along one long edge, aligning the left needle to serge just to the left of the stitching on the anchor piece (this completely covers the previous stitching). Open out the “new” layers, with the fabrics right sides out and the batting between them; press flat. Continue piecing and pressing fabric and batting layers in this manner until you have five strips (two on each side of the anchor piece) that make a rectangle that is 12 1/2″ x 17″.
Binding the Ends
Fold the binding strips in half and press. Place on the outer fabric on one short tote edge, matching all the raw edges. Serge the folded binding, slightly trimming the raw edges. Wrap the binding to the lining side and use clips to hold it in place. Do not stitch it in place at this time. Repeat with the opposite short edge.
Unzip the zipper and position one tape on the lining side behind the binding. The coils should be slightly above the binding. Unclip each clip and re-clip to hold the zipper tape behind the binding. Using a sewing machine straight stitch, stitch the lower edge of the binding, catching the zipper tape in the process. Repeat with the remaining zipper and the opposite edge. When stitching the second zipper tape, make sure that it is not twisted. It needs to be the same orientation as the first zipper tape in order to zip.
Serging the Side Seams
Partially unzip the zipper and turn the bag lining side out. Fold the quilted rectangle in half across the width. Match the raw edges on one side and serge. When stitching the side seams, it works best to start at the fold (bottom of the tote) and serge toward the zipper. Sew slowly as you come to the zipper coils. Repeat with the opposite side seam. Add seam sealant to the ends of the seams and clip the thread tails when dry. Turn the tote to the right side. Add a ribbon zipper pull, insert your device, and you’re ready to go!
I plan to send more serger techniques and information your way this year. I’d love to know if you have a serger and what you use it for. Or, if you don’t have one, I’d love to know why. Leave me a comment!