Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Runaround Bag v2

I made a Runaround Bag for myself this past summer.  Here's the link to the Lazy Girl Runaround Bag pattern.

We recently had a party at work with a gift exchange.  I knew I wanted to make a gift this year, and I decided on a Runaround Bag.  I found that I had some fabric, but I did have to buy a zipper for this project.

We drew names, and finding who my gift recipient would be confirmed that my stash fabrics would be perfect.

Instead of sewing one row of stitching down the center of the straps, as instructed, I edgestitched both sides of the straps.

When it came to applying fusible batting to the lining piece, I did follow the instructions this time!

I did mention in my previous post about this bag that I did not sew the final seam in one fell swoop, as instructed.

Here's a picture of how I did this:  I stitched up the left side, across the top, then down almost to the zipper.  I also stitched up the right side ab out half way.  This allowed me to leave the handles laying out straight so they wouldn't be in the way of my stitching:

After that (not shown), I opened the zipper from the inside, and pulled the strap out through the zipper opening.  then I finished stitching the right side and the bottom.

Tip:
Here's how I restitch corners, slightly to the inside of the original seams, before clipping the corners

Back to our regular program:
Here are three pictures of the final project:



The recipient likes it, and several people guessed that I was her "secret santa."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Margo Handbag - Step 8

I'm back!  I know it's been a month since my last post, but I never said I was the world's fastest sewist.

Step Eight is to make the handles.

The idea of the assembly of the handles is to wrap the fabric around some batting and interfacing.

The instructions for the handles star with folding a long edge by one-half inch.  I thought of three ways to do this, and I couldn't decide which method to use.:


  • Measure with my hem gauge and pin the heck out of it.
  • Measure with a Dritz Hemming plate, and use the iron to turn and press the fold.
  • Lay my heavy ruler on the fabric, one inch away from the edge, and fold the raw edge to the ruler.


I think too much.

I asked some of my sewing friends and acquaintances for their methods, and I got more confused. At least two people had methods which would require a complete do-over of the handles.

One person reminded me that "the idea is to have a place to butt the batting against, and then encase it."

Oh, Light Bulb Moment, Thank You!

So, I folded the fabric strips in half, lengthwise.  This did not require any measuring, but I did use lots pins:

I steam pressed the fold and let it cool under the ruler:

I opened out the fold and placed the fusible batting strip to one side of the fold:

I tried my best to get the batting as far into the fold as possible. I steam pressed to fuse the batting in place:

I was surprised to find that the batting did not actually make it tightly into the fold:

I centered the interfacing over the batting, and placed the assembly along the ruler on the ironing board to make sure it was straight.

I pressed this with steam, which partly removed the center fold. I folded the long, narrow edge around the batting and pinned well.

Tip:
When I pin a long edge, I usually pin at an angle. In this example, when I press, I will be moving the iron from right to left, That's the same direction the pins are pointing, so I will be less likely to scratch the sole plate of the iron:

Back to our regular program:
I then wrapped the other side of the strip over the batting, as tightly as I could, and pinned it in place:

After a good press, I wrapped and pinned the last little width of fabric around the batting, as shown in the lower half of this picture:

After the last pressing, the last fold was tucked into the middle of the assembly:

Here are the straps, ready to be stitched:

I stitched along both strap edges, and then I stitched down the middle.

I placed the handles on the front by aligning them to the sides of the front pocket, then I pinned them in place.  I used a quilting ruler to align the strap to the back of the purse before I pinned them into place:

Here is where I checked to see that the front and back handles lined up:

Tip:
I basted the handles in place along the length of the handles for two to three inches. The handles are less likely to twist when stitched this way. the basting stitches can be removed later:

Back to our regular program:
After basting the handles on, I stitched across the ends of the handles as instructed. Here is the view of these stitches from the reverse side, and the basting, too:

Step Nine is to work on the lining assembly.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Margo Handbag - Step 7

Step Seven is to finish the front and back assemblies.

I came up with a method to fuse the Stiff Stuff (a Lazy Girl product - here) to the front and back pieces.  The instructions on the spray adhesive claim that a permanent bond can be formed by a certain method.  I decided to use this method on the entire front and back pieces, but I didn't want any overspray inside my house.

So, I found things around the house to make a "paint booth" - recycle bin, long towel, and a found box lid:

With the fabric centered over the Stiff stuff, I placed it as far into the "paint booth" as I could without bending the edges.  I pulled half the fabric over itself and sprayed the exposed wrong side of the fabric and half the Stiff stuff with the adhesive.  I immediately unrolled the fabric into place, which made it stick to the Stiff Stuff.  Then I immediately folded the fabric over itself in the other direction towards the now-stuck side and sprayed the other side of the fabric and Stiff Stuff.  I quickly unrolled the fabric back into position on its correct side, and pulled the assembly out of the "paint booth."  I laid it on a flat surface, and pressed the pieces together with my hands.  After doing the same to the other piece of fabric and Stiff Stuff.  I left these alone overnight.

Two weeks later - I know, right? - finding that the pieces weren't all cut the exact same size, I trimmed off some edges:

That's when I remembered to top-stitch the upper edges of the pockets!

I laid the front pocket on the front piece and the back pocket on the back piece, lining up the edges:

I marked the fabric where it turns from the bottom (right side of this picture) to the front (or back), which is 2 1/4 inches.  I laid the ruler just shy of that knowing that my marking pencil would not write exactly at the ruler's edge:

I could barely see the pencil marking, so I also used a smooth tracing wheel because - like a Hera marker - it would leave a dent in the fabric:

I pinned the pockets to the front and back pieces along these lines and stitched across, along the lines.  Then I  drew a vertical center line on each assembly in the same manner, and pinned and stitched them:

On the lighter fabric, I used a different color pencil, which is almost invisible here.  The dent in the fabric really helped:

Where the top-stitched edges of pocket pieces meet the edges of the front and back, I stitched close to the edges to hold them in place for future steps (click to see the reverse side, showing that I drew ovals on the picture around these stitches):

I lined up a quilting ruler for cutting out a two-inch square from the bottom corners of both pieces:

I used a rotary blade and scissors to cut out the squares:

Now the front and back assemblies are done

Step Eight is to make the handles.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Margo Handbag - Step 6

Step six is to make the front and back pockets.  I did not finish them, but I got a good start.

I laid out the pieces I would need, nearest to farthest, front and back pocket linings, front and back pockets, Stiff Stuff for front and back, and front and back pieces:

On the front pocket lining, I aligned the front pocket template to the upper left corner.

Tip:
Click on the picture to see where I placed the ten-inch mark of the ruler so I would know where to stop marking.  I moved the template away from the ruler so I could draw the line with an ultra-fine Sharpie marker.

Back to our regular program:
This picture shows that I used a marker to draw the bottom line and the inside line (right side in this picture).  After this, I reversed the template, left to right, and marked the upper right corner in the same way:

I  placed the back pocket template on the back pocket lining and immediately saw a problem. To check this out, I placed one ruler across the fabric to show where the fabric turns to form the bottom of the purse (2-1/2 inches). I placed another ruler to show how far from the bottom the pocket would go. The pocket angle was so steep that the pocket would only be three inches tall in the middle. Oops!

I re-cut the angle to raise the point, and thus the top of the shallow part of the pocket, by one inch. This shows the markings on the back pocket lining after that adjustment:

I placed the pocket lining pieces over the pocket pieces, right sides together, matching all edges as best I could.  I pinned the layered pairs of fabrics together at the corners and near both sides of the markings, about a half-inch away.

The next step was stitching, so I had to get the correct sewing machine needle.  I selected the Universal 70/10.

Tip:
Here is how I store my sewing machine needles.  The pink hair tape (yes, that's what we call it!) shows that the top packet in each bin is the packet "in use" for that size.  Click for a better look:

Tip:
I used a presser foot with a small hole to prevent the needle from trying to pull the fabric through the hole into the bobbin case.  Also, if I hear the needle punching through the fabric, I know it's time to put in a new needle:

Back to our regular program:
I steam pressed both pocket assemblies, especially the stitched seams. I aligned the quarter-inch mark of the ruler along the seam.  Notice where I put  the ten-inch mark of the ruler:

I cut off the excess fabric for both pockets, leaving a quarter-inch seam allowance:

While turning the pockets right side out, I steam pressed the seam allowances towards the lining.  Here is the front pocket, with the seam allowances being pressed  towards the lining::

Here is the back:

After completely turning the back pocket right sides out, I steam pressed the fold, but it still needed a little something:

Tip:
Here is the back pocket showing  how I firm up a pressed fold.  I place the heavy, cold, aluminum yardstick over the pressed fold until the heat transfers out of the fabric into the yardstick. This is the reverse of setting wrinkles into garments left to cool inside a once-hot dryer:

Here is the front pocket showing a similar method of setting folds by placing cold metal over the hot fold:

Back to our regular program:
Here are the pockets showing how the pockets will seem to wrap around the purse.  The front pocket is on the left, and the back pocket is on the right:

I laid the front and back pieces on the Stiff Stuff (a Lazy Girl product - here), intending to fuse them together somehow, since the pattern calls for fusible batting.  I found a can of spray adhesive, but the directions call for protecting the surrounding area from the over-spray.  I don't have old newspapers - they don't come with the digital version of the news, imagine that!  I found it obvious that spraying on the back porch would not work well since the wind was blowing (Hard!) and I didn't want the adhesive to get on the table and the windows.  I decided to think about it and leave the pieces on the table overnight:

The next step is to finish the front and back assemblies.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Margo Handbag - Step 5

Step five is to prepare and cut out the contrast fabric.

The Margo Handbag pattern is designed to use four coordinating fabrics.  I found two fabrics that I like together, and I "don't wants no more."

Besides, when I bought my last two purses, I was told they were made with light-toned interior fabric so the contents could be readily seen, like this:

Here is the main fabric:

Here is the contrast fabric:

First, I steam pressed the contrast fabric and laid it out on the table:

After cutting one end of the fabric straight, I placed pattern pieces on the fabric to check the layout.  Here are the pieces for the front and back, front and back pockets, and insert sleeve:

The length of the big pieces is 15 inches, The small pieces are 4-3/4" by 11-1/2 inches.

I started by cutting across the fabric at the 12-inch mark for the front and back pieces.  Then I cut across the fabric at the 24-inch mark for the front and back pocket lining pieces.

Tip:

Here is how I ensure that the ruler will be laid straight before I use it.  I go to the end of the fabric that's not near the numbers showing inches on the cutting mat.  I measure from the zero line and place something on the table to point to the correct measurement.  This picture shows that I put a bottle cap at the 24-inch mark:

The 24-inch mark is closer to the left side of the cutting table.  I want to cut from that side, so the edge of the ruler used with the rotary cutter is on the right side.  I stand at the end of the table by the numbers, I place the far end of the cutting edge of the ruler on the same line as the bottle cap.  Then I lay the ruler down with the near end of the cutting edge at the number 24:

Back to our regular program:

I cut off the selvage, made two cross cuts 15 inches apart, and made one more cross cut 11-1/2 inches away.  The last piece I cut into two strips 4-3/4" wide:

I cut the lining and inside pocket pieces in a similar fashion.  The lining pieces are 17 inches by 14 inches, and the inside pocket pieces are 17 inches by 10 inches.

The long cuts are 14 inches from the right side, then 10 inches from the first cut.  The cross cuts are 17 inches apart:

All the fabric pieces are paired with their pattern pieces, and are off the table.

The next step is to make the front and back pockets, and maybe more.