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  • Nicola

All wrapped up...

Have you been opening the Moda Bakeshop Advent Calendar this year? My fellow Chefs and I have been rustling up some Christmas treats for you and my recipe has a distinctly Scandinavian flavour. The Dala Horse block can be made in two sizes - 6" or 12" - and there are oodles of options for fussy cutting your fabric or adding folk-inspired embroidery to give your Dalahäst an authentic, hand-painted look.

EDIT: Download a printable PDF pattern for the Dala Horse Block here.

You can find out more about Dala horses and their place in Swedish folk tradition from manufacturers Grannas, here.


I decided to use my blocks to make simple gift bags, which are not only quick to rustle up but sturdy (and sweet) enough to be re-used. If you'd like to do the same, here's what you'll need...

Large gift bag

1 yard fabric for outer & block background*

½ yard lining fabric

1 Fat Eighth of fabric for the Dala Horse motif*

18” x 40” piece of fusible cotton batting

Small gift bag

1 Fat Quarter fabric for outer/handles/block background*

1 Fat Eighth lining fabric

1 10” square of fabric for the Dala Horse motif*

10” x 22” piece of fusible cotton batting

*For details of the Dala Horse block, please refer to my tutorial on the Moda Bakeshop.

Please read through the pattern before you begin, assuming a ¼” seam allowance.

Sizes are given for the 12” block, with the sizes for the 6” block in brackets {}.

Cutting out…

1. For the large bag, from the outer fabric cut...

or, for the small bag cut...

2. From the the lining fabric cut a 16½” x 35½” {8½” x 18½”} piece.

To Make the Outer…

3. Join a 2½” x 12½” {1½” x 6½”} piece to each side of the 12½" {6½"} block, pressing away from the block.

4. Join a 2½” x 16½” {2” x 8½”} piece to the top and a 16½” x 22½” {8½” x 10”} piece to the bottom, again pressing away from the block.

5. Fuse to the batting, following the manufacturer’s directions, and machine or hand quilt.

To Make the Handles…

6. Fold a 4” x 32” {3” x 16”} piece in half along its length and, using that fold as a guide, fold the sides into the centre again to hide the raw edges. You can also add a strip of interfacing to stiffen the handle if you'd like to. Press and top stitch along both edges. Your handle should measure 1" x 32" {¾" x 16"}. MAKE 2

To Assemble the Bag…

7. Centre the handles 8” {4"} apart at each end of the outer - matching raw edges - and pin in place.

8. Join both short sides of the outer and the lining, right sides together. And don't be alarmed: the lining is meant to be shorter than the outer. Press the seam towards the lining.

9. Pull the two layers apart and reposition them so that the two seams you’ve just sewn are now aligned at the centre. Pin the remaining two sides together, marking a 6” opening in the lining.

10. Sew along the long edges REMEMBERING THAT OPENING and finger-press the seams open.

11. Lining up the corner of your ruler on the seam you've just stitched and the fold, cut a 2” {1”} square from each corner. Pull the layers apart, reposition to box out the corner and sew closed.

12. Turn right sides out, using a knitting needle (or something similar) to gently push out the corners. Press lightly, then slip stitch the opening closed before pushing the lining into the quilted outer. The outer will turn down approximately ½" into the lining.

13. Press around the top of the bag and topstitch, securing the handles. Fill to the brim with goodies for gifting :-)


{Can you spot my little friend?...}

You could substitute any of the Countdown to Christmas blocks or make your bags plain, use pre-quilted or furnishing fabric, or add ribbon for the handles...they really are endlessly versatile. The larger size would make a lovely tote bag and I definitely need a few of those: there really is so much shopping to be done at this time of year...

Nicola xx


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