Whip Up Vintage Fabric Projects Faster with the BERNINA 7 Series

For years, now, I have collected vintage linens with the plan that I would enjoy some as is, and upcycle others into useful and decorative projects.

I've made a few things, but mostly, I have just accumulated a lot of pretty linens. I've finally come to the conclusion that one of the reasons why I don't accomplish more sewing is that I have to fight tooth and nail with my machine. It's a hand-me-down that is good for most garden-variety projects, but isn't really up to anything tricky.

bernina 7 series 9 hook
The BERNINA 7 Series 9 Hook

A new sewing machine is in my future, and with all the sewing experts around me, one name comes up over and over again: BERNINA.

Now the company has come out with the BERNINA 7 Series that features the BERNINA 9 Hook. According to the folks at BERNINA, the 7 Series machines allow you to sew longer and faster with fewer interruptions. The B 9 Hook (patent pending) features a novel, centrally placed driver that allows it to run steady and quiet.

The B 9 Hook also sews high-precision stitches up to 9 mm in width with speeds up to 1,000 stitches a minute. And the bobbin has 80 percent more thread capacity than BERNINA's standard bobbins.

If I had the BERNINA 7 Series, I'm sure I could whip up vintage textile projects like this Calendar Patchwork Tote designed by Susan Wasinger in no time.

Calendar Patchwork Tote


  • ¾ yard of cottan canvas or duck
  • 2-3, or more, cotton or linen vintage towels
  • Basic sewing supplies

patchwork calendar tote


1. Cut out the fabrics:

For the top band: 2 pieces of 19" x 4 ½ cotton canvas or duck
For the central 2 patchwork bands, (1 for each side of the bag): piece together interesting parts of the calendar towels and trim to make 2 bands each measuring 19" x 8½"
For the bottom of the bag, cut a 19" x 19" square of cotton canvas or duck
For the 2 straps: 4 pieces of fabric each 2" x 23"

(Use 3/8" seam allowances, unless otherwise noted.)

2. With right sides together, sew one of the top bands to one of the patchwork bands. Repeat with the other set of bands.

3. With right sides together, sew the patchwork edges of the bands to the opposite sides of the 19" square.

4. Fold this large fabric piece in half, right sides together, making sure the bands of patchwork match up along the sides. Machine stitch the side seams and finish by zigzagging the seam allowances together.

5. Turn the bag right side out and fold down the top edge of the bag, toward the wrong side ½ inch, then fold over again 1". Pin and topstitch around the perimeter of the bag, about ¾" – 7/8" in from the edge.

6. To give the bag structure, create a bottom gusset: Turn the bag inside out and lay it flat in front of you so the bottom corner is pointing up and the side seam is running directly down the center. Measure in from the corner about 3 ¼" and mark a line across the width (from edge to edge). This line will be about 6" long. Machine stitch through both layers along the line. Repeat on the other side at the opposite corner of the bag. It makes a stronger bottom if you leave the excess fabric in place instead of trimming the seam. When you turn the bag right side out, you will have a flat bottom created by the seams.

7. To make the straps, pin 2 of the strap pieces together with the right sides facing. Machine stitch ¼" seams along the long sides and one of the short ends. Trim the corners and turn right side out. Tuck in the raw edges on the open end and hand- or machine stitch closed. Repeat this entire step with the remaining strap pieces.

8. Mark the positions for the 4 places the straps will attach to the bag along the top edge. Each should be about 5½" from the side seams.

9. Tuck the strap end about 1½" into the bag's interior and pin in place. Topstitch horizontally across the top and bottom of the 1½" of handle that is inside the bag, with the bottom stitching laying right over the topstitching that is already in place. Backstitch repeatedly to reinforce the connection. Repeat with the other ends of the straps in the same fashion.


Blog, Fabric Art


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