Under Construction: A New Junior Billie Bag

Another Junior Billie Bag?

I’ve already finished two this year, one for myself and one for a friend. Now I’m making a third one. The reason? I’m teaching a class that begins tomorrow at the Pine Needle. I made my first Billie Bag, designed by Billie Mahorney, about 10 years ago, and found it very challenging. It’s definitely not for beginners.

Now that I am teaching Billie’s design (in a slightly smaller version), I find that the easiest way to give my students the confidence to make their own totes is to demystify the process by showing how the individual components go together. I call it a “deconstructed Billie Bag” but in truth it’s a Billie Bag under construction.

I guess every time I teach this class I will wind up with a new Junior Billie Bag. This one is going to a friend as a surprise.

What you are seeing in the photo above are the front and back panels, the side panels/bottom unit, two sizes of straps, and some of the interior pockets. In a few weeks’ time, you will see a finished quilter’s tote measuring 14″ x 17″, with a generous 7½” depth to accommodate a 6″ x 24″ acrylic ruler.

I started out with two 12½” blocks to which strips were added to make two panels that will be trimmed to the proper size after quilting:


The panel on the left is yet another version of the Spinners block, from the book On the Run Again by Heather Peterson of Anka’s Treasures, that I’ve used in some other projects this year. The one on the right is a traditional star block that I jazzed up with a four-patch kaleidoscope (what I call a 4-Patch Wonder block).

Isn’t that a great black-white-yellow floral print? I found it last summer at a quilt shop in Central Oregon and bought the end of the bolt. It’s by Studio 8 for Quilting Treasures. I paired it with one of Cotton + Steel’s Basics from 2015: “Sprinkle,” designed by Sarah Watts. (I love the Sprinkle design so much I bought it in two other colors.)

My biggest challenge in making this Junior Billie Bag will be keeping Coco out of my sewing room:


She’s a frequent visitor. Need I say more?




This entry was posted in 4-Patch Wonder, Billie Bag, cats, faux-kaleido quilts, Junior Billie Bag, kaleido-spinner, tote bags, update. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Under Construction: A New Junior Billie Bag

  1. suzette shoulders says:

    Billie was in our small quilt group in the metro area, and I always enjoyed her so much… signed up for the ‘Billie bag” and realized that I should never make a bag so large, as I had chronic trouble with tendons in my arms! The kitty made me think of Billie again, as Festus and Miss Kitty were companions in her sewing studio! Miss Kitty used to be mesmerized by the needle going up and down, never reached out to touch it, Billie said, but was enchanted by the motion! I like the size you are making, and showing components is a great idea to make the project seem more do-able for those who haven’t sewn a lot! Suzette in Bend, where it is beginning to feel like FALL!

    • Kristi says:

      I’m so glad to see you respond to Dawn’s post! I took a crazy quilt class from you years ago, before you moved to Central Oregon. I hope all is well with you.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Coco is just trying to show you how well she fits into an autumn color scheme – black, yellow, and gold. Still no pattern for this? Have fun with class.

  3. Sandy says:

    So excited for class tomorrow! Your bag is going to make “somebody” very happy!!! It is beautiful!

  4. Anne says:

    Kitties and quilts are made for each other. I think she wants to go to class with you.

  5. Cathy says:

    Oh wow! I love the yellow and black! Such fun fabrics and blocks you made! I sure need a bag class! I have purchased a few bag patterns, but apparently I am bag challenged!!! Have fun teaching!!!

  6. Colleen Coffman says:

    Beautiful new Billie Bag! Love the colors as does Coco ;). Actually I think she loves you most!

  7. Kristi says:

    Your Junior Billie Bag will be beautiful when finished! Your friend is a lucky woman! Coco is thriving at the White House. She is a sweetie.

  8. AnnMarie says:

    Great fabric choices!

  9. Diane says:

    Now that I have met Coco and seen her many antics, she looks positively serene in this photo. She is a handful – but an awfully cute handful!

    Love the Billie Bag under construction!

  10. Brenda West says:

    Is your Junior Billie Bag pattern for sale? If so, how and where can I purchase it? I live in Redmond, WA and can’t take your classes. Sure wish I could!

    Brenda West

    • Dawn says:

      Hi, Brenda. I’m sorry to say there is no pattern. Billie Mahorney, who designed the tote, never wanted to write one, preferring to teach her design in a class.

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