Monday, November 9, 2015

Fancy Finishes: Pack-Along Quilts!

Today's fancy finish tutorial will show my favorite way to turn any quilt into a self-contained, packable, portable quilt-on-the-go!

The simplest way to make a quilt into a pack-along is to add a flap!  Stitch on a handle, add a closure and away you go!  I think it's a great gift idea.  Printable instructions to follow.  But first, some samples.

For this Pack-Along Stadium Quilt, the flap is an extra quilt block, made just a little smaller than one-fourth of the quilt width.  The pattern is my fun and easy "Throw Me A Curve" pattern HERE (Sports Throw version).  The quilt measures about 60" square, and the block for the flap is about 13-1/2" finished.

I quilted the flap, then added binding by machine on the lower three sides so the little bee would be right side up when the quilt was folded.

Throw Me A Curve Sports Throw featuring School Colors & Basics by Riley Blake Designs
Show some school spirit!  It's just the right size to fold and sit on a riser, pull over your lap or wrap around your shoulders on a chilly evening.  See more game day ideas HERE.

And then, there's this sweet Pack-Along Picnic Quilt:

It all began with a quest for the perfect picnic.  See the whole story HERE.

Can you tell I love Houndstooth?!  This adorable pattern is from the book Just 4 Fun by Abbey Lane Quilts.

To make the flap I used two 8" x 10" rectangles -- rounded a couple of corners,

 then machine-stitched the edges with bias binding for the perfect finish.

Featuring Laminate prints by Riley Blake Designs
Now to make your own!


Make a Quilt.  Or not.  This technique will work with any un-bound quilt, but you may use fleece, a quilt top with laminate backing, or other options of your choice.  Whatever you choose, you will want to stay within a lap-size quilt range, up to 60" x 72" for pack-ability.
Flap:  Cut 2 @ 8” x 10” rectangles, or use an extra quilt block, quilted or lined (see Step 1 for size).
Binding:  3/4 yard for bias or cross-grain binding.
  Cut 2-1/4" strips to go around quilt perimeter, plus an extra length or two for the flap.
Handle:  4" x 10" rectangle plus (optional) 4" x 10" fusible interfacing
Closure:  1/4 to 1/2 yard sew-in Velcro hook & loop tape

Step 1)  Make a Flap.  Fold your quilt into a manageable size, lengthwise in thirds or quarters.  The flap should not be any wider than the quilt when it's folded.  Prepare the flap and finish the sides and lower edge with a binding OR by stitching right sides together, then turn and top-stitch.

Step 2)  Attach the Flap.  Lay out the flap right side up, then lay out the quilt right side up.  The right side of the flap should be facing the back side of the quilt.

If your pack-along quilt will be folded into thirds, center the flap and align the raw edges.  If you plan to fold the quilt into fourths, center the flap along one quarter of the quilt's top edge. Pin in place and baste the flap to the quilt edge with a zig-zag stitch.

Step 3)  Machine-Bind the Quilt.  If you need a refresher, see my Binding Basics Tutorial. Binding will be applied all around the quilt, enclosing the raw edges of the flap.  For durability, use a machine-stitch to finish.  In each of the previous examples, I used 2-1/4" binding strips.  The binding is applied to the quilt using 1/4" seam allowance, and with the help of a little glue-stick, pins and/or binding clips, machine-stitched to finish.

Binding applied to quilt back, brought around front to finish with an Edge-stitch.

OR binding applied to quilt front and folded to the back, finished with a "Stitch in the Ditch".

Plant the needle and pivot at the corners.

Step 4)  Add a Closure.  I like to use sew-in Velcro hook & loop tape for my closures, though you could stitch buttonholes to the flap and sew a couple of buttons to the quilt back if you prefer.  Stitch the hook section to the flap, and the soft loop section to the quilt back, stitching through all the quilt layers.  Don't worry about stitches showing through, after all, it's a pack-along quilt!

Step 5)  Add a Handle.  Cut a 4" x 10" rectangle.  You may wish to reinforce with fusible interfacing for more durability.  Fold in half lengthwise to find the center, then open up and fold the outer edges to the center.  Fold in half again to enclose raw edges, then top-stitch along the edges to finish.  Love to use my edge-joining foot with the needle position at the far left.  Perfect edge-stitches every time.

Turn the ends under 1/4" and stitch to the top edge of the flap.

Step 6)  Fold it up, secure the flap, and away you go!

Pack it up:

Outside edges to center, 

Fold in half,

Fold in half again, 

Roll up or fold into thirds,

Secure the flap. 
Ready to go!

That is, if you can pull yourself away!


  1. I so remember this....what a great reminder and a wonderful christmas idea for any sports enthusiast....x

    1. Samm, I loved having the perfect excuse for my husband take me to the Tetons all in search of the perfect picnic! That was one of my favorite blog hops ever.

  2. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial!

  3. Great tutorial! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Those are wonderful. Thanks for the tutorial.

  5. This is a fabulous idea! Your quilts are wonderful and you are so generous to share the tutoria. Love the pictures, especially the little video showing how you fold it up. Awesome!

  6. Those are just fantastic.Thanks for the tutorial!

  7. What a super idea! I might just have to make a special quilt and do this one!! Great to keep one in the car all tidy and everything. Thanks for the tutorial.


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