Mildred is my bright blue Citroen C3 Picasso, who used to be driven by my late 93 yr old mother. Mildred is a bit like me ….getting on a bit in age, strange shape, usually reliable and has attitude with a capital kick ass “A” …. Mildred is more than somewhat tetchy at the moment … She has gone nowhere since her driver got “Shielded”. Mildred is beyond Grumpy as she hasn’t moved now for 8 months, no jolly jaunts or adventures that I could blog or write about as “Mildred’s Marvelous Meandering Musings”.

I am fed up her glaring at me through the front window saying….. “Where are all these promised Marvelous Mildred blogs then?” … so OK Mildred just for you I will try a bit harder.

My previous blogs can be found HERE…… Lots of interesting stories about quilting. Some are very tongue in cheek but there are some sensible ones as well. 

The act of eyeballing something is to measure or weigh something without any tools. I was making a quilted bag for a friend. Quilting the outside was easy … blocks to follow and even quilting diagonally across blocks with a wiggly stitch, I managed to get it there or thereabouts by eyeballing it.

The lining however which needed to be quilted onto some Pellon SF101 woven cotton iron on interfacing, was more challenging… it also was going to have 2 inserted zip pockets, which I needed to avoid during doing the fancy stitches and construction. I also use Visiline G700 as an alternative woven interfacing. Although it is iron on, through use, and frequent washing in the machine, the 2 layers may come apart. I prefer to at least add SOME horizontal fancy stitches from machine, to reinforce the lining, it also makes it look more interesting. This is the reverse of my fancy stitching showing the woven cotton iron on interfacing. I used the variegated thread on the front and white bobbin thread to make my special Mettler threads go further. I buy them on big 1372 metre cones from Quilt Direct and use a Prym Stand to hold the cone.

NOW eyeballing it against a block or two is much easier than trying to keep rows even across a width of 24” without going wonky. I am making my husband some lounging trousers in Moda Flannel for Christmas and had bought some cotton twill on a roll as well as the elastic for the waistband. 

Suddenly had a 💡 lightbulb moment. Cut some 24” lengths from the cotton twill that was destined for the ties of the lounging trousers, and pin them across the lining at even widths.

I then used them to guide my wide presser foot to enable me to do the fancy inbuilt 9mm wide fancy stitches on my Pfaff Performance 5. I started at each end and used duplicate stitches as I worked my way down each side of the lining, so each side had a different stitch on each row, but duplicated on the opposite side pattern wise.

Well it worked and the cotton twill has been saved for my next project. I marked the position of the eventual zip opening and pocket with crossed pins so that my fancy stitches did not interfere.

The Bag is now finished and went for an outing into the garden on a crisp but sunny winters day.

Now my bags are anything but small, they are mahoosive, 24” wide and 22 1/2” deep, with boxed corners, and I use them as beach bags, for lugging onto planes as my carry on hand luggage, shopping, and I have even sat on them at music festivals as my personal picnic rug. My oldest bag is now 4 years old and has been washed frequently in the machine. The handles are bombproof because of the batting and fancy stitches and have been known to carry 24 bottles of Carib beer when on holiday in Nevis, although my husband was less than impressed having to carry such a bright bag!

There are zip pockets in the lining, also reinforced with the woven cotton interfacing.

When I make a bag I want really comfy wide quilted handles. I also use the fancy inbuilt stitches from my Pfaff Performance 5. Apart from looking nice they reinforce the handle to ensure it never gives way and retains its shape.


I had some spare blocks left over so I made a large 18” wide and 14” deep zippered pouch with a boxed squared off bottom and zipper tabs to hide the ends of zip. My friend was delighted with the big bag, but also really loved the bonus big zipped pouch, which fits inside the larger tote bag.

A mini hint and tip, but a very useful one. I was turning out the contents of “holiday” handbags today….. not like we are going anywhere soon! I came across a broken pair of sunglasses….. other people would just dump them, but us quilters know that this is a perfect corner prodder outer thingy, when making quilted bags and stuff! Great for stuffed toys too. You saw it here first!

I mentioned my first ever big batik bag earlier. This bag has been in use for 4 years in both happy and sad circumstances and for mundane everyday tasks. TOB “That Old Bag” even got its own chapter in the UKQU book sold by Amazon called “UKQU United by a Second Thread”. There are some great stories in there from a wide variety of quilters across the UK and abroad. You can read it free on Kindle Unlimited or buy the paperback on Amazon. The Book is HERE