watermelon quilt blok tote bag
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Watermelon Block Tote Bag

Watermelon Block Tote with Quilting & Appliqué

finished watermelon tote on table with sunglasses

A Watermelon Block Tote is a take on the ever-popular “quilt block on a denim jacket” trend that’s taking the crafting world by storm. This trend is awesome because it allows you to make a super intricate block (and ONLY one!) and display it for all to see. But sometimes a simpler block is also just as fun to create and display, and a readymade tote bag does the trick. Plus, it’s National Watermelon Day! So we’re making a Watermelon Block Tote to show our love for this sticky sweet treat.


Watermelon Block Tote Supplies


Cut the pieces needed for one Watermelon Block, according to the pattern. If using the featured pattern by SuzyQuilts, there are two block styles to choose from. One Watermelon Block has two rind pieces and one has one rind piece (featured in this tutorial).

TIP: Learn more about SuzyQuilts on our Podcast, Why I Sew!

Also, cut enough 2″-wide border strips for the Block measurements.

From the binding print, cut 1″-wide strips. (This is a VERY narrow binding when folded in half. If you’re a beginner, cut 2″-wide binding strips to make things easier to manage (and miter).

Watermelon block pieces

Construct one Watermelon Block according to the pattern directions. Don’t be afraid of the curved seams! The instructions within the featured pattern make it very easy to follow. Remember – you only have to make ONE of these!

After piecing is complete, press the Watermelon Block flat; trim to 7 ½” square.

press finished watermelon block flat

Add the borders, beginning along the side edges and then the upper and lower edges.

add border pieces

Press the seams flat.

press seams of watermelon block


Cut a piece of batting to match the Watermelon Block dimensions.

Place the Watermelon Block right side up over the batting, using Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive to secure.

create quilt sandwich for the block

Plot the quilting lines. For the featured block, draw 1/2″-wide straight vertical lines across the block, using a removable fabric marker. Only mark on the border fabrics; leave the Watermelon motif free of quilting.

plotting quilting lines

Quilt along the lines, using thread that matches the border fabric.

quilting along lines

Thread the needle with thread that matches the rind(s) section. Stitch just inside the rind perimeter.

Then, thread the needle with thread that matches the watermelon fabric. Stitch just inside the watermelon section.

When the quilting is complete, trim the Watermelon Block so all edges are even.

trim block evenly

Then, remove the fabric marker, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

remove fabric marker


If needed, piece together the binding strip short ends to have one long strip. Fold one short end of the binding strip 1/2″ toward the wrong side; press. Then, press the binding strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. (I like using a wool pressing mat and mini Oliso iron for projects like this.)

pressing binding

Place the folded binding end along the Block lower edge; clip in place.

clip binding in place

Miter the corners by folding the strip at an angle, up over itself.

mitering corners

Then, fold the binding over the diagonal foldline to align the raw edge with the adjacent block edge; clip.

continue binding block

Continue clipping the binding in place. At the binding end, leave at least 5″ unsewn.

leave ends of binding unsewn


Stitch the binding to the Watermelon Block edge, beginning and ending about 3″ from the binding ends.

Insert the binding end inside the binding beginning fold. Trim the binding end so it extends beyond the binding beginning (folded end) at least 1″.

overlapping binding beginning

Then, finish clipping the binding to secure.

last binding clip for watermelon block

Finish stitching the binding.

Then, press the binding toward the right side, making sure the corners and edges are flat.

pressing binding


Cut a piece of Sulky Perfect Appliqué Fusible Web to the final Watermelon Block dimensions. Fuse the Perfect Appliqué to the Block wrong side, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Next, remove the paper backing from the fusible web.

remove fusible web paper backing

Center the Watermelon Block right side up on the tote front, where desired.

center block on tote

When satisfied with the placement, fuse the Block in place.

fuse block in place on tote

Then, remove the accessory tray from the machine to engage the free-arm. This makes it easier to access the tote for stitching.

engage the freearm of sewing machine

Thread the needle with a thread color that matches or coordinates with the binding fabric.

Edgestitch the binding to the tote.

edgestitch binding in place

To access the tote lower edge, you may need to turn the tote wrong side out a bit. This is why there is fusible web holding the entire block in place while you sew.

maneuver tote for stitching

Trim any thread tails, and then press the tote if needed to remove any wrinkles.

finished watermelon tote on red chair

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I am the Director of Content for Sulky of America. The former Editor in Chief of Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery magazines, I hosted Sew it All TV on PBS for nine seasons. I've appeared on It's Sew Easy on PBS, DIY Network's Uncommon Threads, Hallmark's Marie Osmond Show, MacPhee Workshop and more! Come sew with me!

One Comment

  • kathy

    You can add a backing to the quilt block before sewing on the binding. Sew the finished block to the tote, leaving the top edge unsewn and you would have an outside pocket for your tote.