WIB: Trick or Treat Spider Bag – Let’s talk pattern!

WIB: Trick or Treat Spider Bag – Let’s talk pattern!

Alright, now we’re getting to the doing part, my favorite! Last week I showed you my finished trick or treat bag made from Erin Gilday’s free bag pattern at allpeoplequilt.com. I found this pattern to be a nice introduction into the cathedral window style quilt. I made the bag in about five hours. There was a lot of learning and decision making in those hours. If I tried again, I would expect it to take between three and four hours. A nice do it in a day project for sure!

SpiderTrickorTreatBag (1)

There are a few things I noted while making the bag that I thought I would mention:

  • It takes a LOT of fabric! It calls for three yards and uses nearly all of it. It’s just the nature of the folding and folding again style of the cathedral window block. The upside is it finishes nice and stout. I could see adding pockets, buttons, more quilting, or leather accents to make it usable for more than incidental toting (or trick or treating)
  • Getting those folds lined up perfectly at this size is challenging! I folded it as close as possible, pressed it, then applied a little bit of starch and pressed again. It left me with nice crisp lines that I could see better and match up a little easier.
  • I chose to prewash the fabric for this project

(Special Note: I realize as I write this, I did not take pictures that best demonstrate the changes I’m describing. If something doesn’t make sense to you, drop me a comment or email and I’ll take new pictures of that step for you with some scrap fabrics.)

Erin’s pattern is pretty awesome as it is written. Anyone that has been hanging around with me knows – I almost always have a few adjustments to make things for my taste and working preferences. I’m not going to walk through every step of the pattern, but I will point out where I made the changes.

Step 6: Center and pin diamond center fabric.

I added quite a few changes in here!

SpiderHalloweenBag (1)

Step 6a: Make and applique spider to center of the diamond shape.

Step 6b: Cut a piece of fusible fleece ¼” smaller than the center diamond piece all the way around (11 ¼” square). Fuse to center of the back of center diamond fabric and turn the remaining ¼” of the diamond fabric seam allowance over the fleece. (Note: I had cut my diamond center with an extra 1/2″ all the way around. Safety first! Trimming back is always the a better option)

Step 6c: Cut 2 rectangle appliques to sit in the negative space around the center diamond (the green fabric). Pin those in the rectangle openings created when lifting the center flaps. Once pinned, place the center flaps back in place and pin the appliqued diamond center fabric in place.

Here’s where the rectangles would sit when lying under the unsewn flaps:

SpiderHalloweenBag (2)

Step 7 Hand stitching the window frames:

Machine stitching baby! I didn’t hand stitch any of this. I know it doesn’t have quite the same effect as a hand stitched cathedral window since all layers of fabric are sewn though, but I really like the nice crisp lines created by the machine. From this step forward, all stitching is done by machine with the exception of the final finishing at the points of the diamond.

SpiderHalloweenBag (7)

Step 11: Closing the bottom of the bag.

The way Erin closes the bottom of this bag is super clever. If you are hand stitching it will cover that seam line and finish beautifully. I wanted to machine stitch though. When I followed Erin’s directions, there was no way to get the machine in the corners it needed to be in. Here’s how I handled it:

Alternate step 11a: Completely finish the bottom frame of  the diamond as the top of the frame.

Alternate step 11b:  Once all stitching is complete (The window frame and zig zag on the back) Turn the bag inside out and put a seam right across the bottom. I did a straight stitch then came back through with an overlock stitch for good measure.

Assembling the bag: Step 1 The handles

SpiderTrickorTreatBag (2)


I like my handles to have a little more umph. Rather than the lighter weight fusible interfacing, I used a heavy craft interfacing. I cut it to the finished size of the handle (1/2 of the width of the rectangle rectangle – 1/2″ seam allowances), tucked it in under the pressed ¼” seam. Next, fold the rectangle over so the pressed under 1/4″ seams are on top of one another. I then sewed a top stitch 1/8” from the edge on each side.


Assembling the bag: One extra step

After turning my lining back into my bag, I didn’t like how the lining wanted to pop up a bit, especially around the handles. To combat that, I added one final top stitch around the top of the bag.

SpiderTrickorTreatBag (3)


Well that’s it! A lot of words right? It’s really not so scary once you get your hands into it and just do it. Ask questions if you have them. As always, please, please, please (yes, I beg) show me your version if you give it a go!

Don’t forget to stop by next week (Oct 15) when we’ll walk through making custom FMQ patches like the spider you see on the bag. I honestly think that it is one of my favorite techniques!

Want to see all the posts related to this bag? Here’s a handy index!


  1. I made a cathedral windows table runner and was shocked at how much fabric it took and also machine stitched it. Love the look, but can you imagine how much fabric in a bed size quilt! Yikes.

  2. I have never made a cathedral window. But if I was going to…. Yes, stitching by machine is the way to go! Great job!

  3. Looks great! It is amazing the amount of fabric needed for cathedral windows huh….

  4. Haha…I HATE hand-stitching. Always want to use a machine where I can. I didn’t know this was called a ‘pattern adjustment’, I just thought I was ‘pattern averse’. 😉

  5. I like the scale of the pattern. Maybe it would work with my large scale Echino fabric putting the birds and flowers in the diamond.


What say you?