Project: Bag

Sew Tunes: Iron and Wine Pandora Station

Pattern: Simplicity

Fabric Used: Canvas and Broadcloth

New to Me: Pleats

Trips to Store: 1

Loved One: My Aunt Charlene (middle), my mom’s (right) sister. I have been told, on many occasions, that I am “Aunt Charlene in training.” This makes me happy.

Day by Day…

Saturday, August 6:

It’s another Simplicity pattern. Since they were on sale last week, I stocked up.

I found this fun and funky Michelle Rust Poppyfields canvas fabric (Hancock’s collection) buried in the bargain section.

For the interior lining, I am using the green broadcloth shown above. As a guide, I used the handy color guide on the selvage (#4). I wanted to go with a darker color to hide possible dirt. C’mon gals, we all know what lingers at the bottom of our “carry all” bags – capless pens, not fully wrapped sticks of gum, and dirty coins.

In total, I needed 1 and 1/4th yards of the Poppyfields and 5/8ths of a yard of the broadcloth. I had a yard and a half of the Poppyfields cut just in case, given the design.

Monday, August 8:

I am cutting the pattern pieces while watching New Moon. I need to catch up on the Twilight Saga before the next movie in the series comes out (shhhh, guilty pleasure).There are 6 pattern pieces and 17 steps for this view (View D).

Tuesday, August 9:

I’m going to stray from the cutting layout and place the pattern pieces in a way that works with the Poppyfield design and eliminates wasted fabric.  Since I bought a half yard more of fabric, I am hoping this covers any mistakes made by not following directions (I’m such a rebel)….and it did!

Thursday, August 11:

The first step in the project is pleating. Pleats vs. darts vs. tucks vs. gathers. That’s the question, and thanks to Yahoo Answers, I now know the answer:

  • Pleat: A fold in cloth made by doubling the material upon itself and then pressing or stitching it into place. There are four kinds of pleats – flat pleats, projecting pleats, accordion pleats, and wrinkled pleating.
  • Dart: Stitched fabric fold, tapering at one end, used to shape flat fabric to the contours of the figure.
  • Tuck: A way of reducing fabric measurements in one or both directions.
  • Gather: To pull excess fabric into a seamline.

This project calls for a flat pleat, I believe. I folded the fabric along the solid line of the pattern piece, then folded it to the dashed line. I did this across the top of both front bag sections.

Then it was stitch time (sidenote: There is very little machine time in sewing I have found. Most of the time is in the prep.) The directions said to stitch down the edge of the pleat, square stitching at the lower end, and then stitching back up the pleat 1/4″ away from the first stitch line. Instead of square stitching and heading back up the pleat, I only stitched down the folded edge. I didn’t want to call too much attention to the thread/stitch.

Sunday, August 14:

Time to join the band…with the interfacing. The directions call for the basting of the interfacing to the wrong side of the band. Since I bought fusible interfacing, I am just going to iron it on. Easy, easy.

When I went to stitch, I started to think more about backstitching. How much should one backstitch? Backstitching in general scares me because it just seems so permanent. Ok, I am being a little dramatic; however, it does make seam ripping tough. So I went to the interweb, but didn’t find how many steps back the needle should make. I did come across a site that’s anti-backstitching, though. It recommends to start the stitch at a short stitch length, stitch about 20 times, then widen the stitch length. Interesting. I need to give this technique a try. And I will continue to ask around about how far back I should be backstitching.

And we are back to the project. I attached the band, then the band overlay. Once done, I sewed the two sections together and clipped the curves.

It was time to sew the handles, right sides together along the long edges. I had a heck of a time “snaking” the handles. I spent about 30 minutes with a chopstick trying to turn the pieces inside out. I attached the handle pieces to the band as directed by the pattern piece.

The bag is now done. Moving on to the lining…

When I went to fuse the interfacing to the lining, I discovered two things:

  • I think the interfacing I used is too heavy for the lining.
  • I think the fusing shrunk the fabric. Why I think this? I went to the put the pattern piece back on top of the piece of fabric after I applied the interfacing, and it was a bit smaller than the tissue pattern piece.

Fingers crossed this does not affect the outcome.

By far, the pocket has been the most fun. I trusted the directions and pattern pieces. Wow, it worked:

The zipper was then installed. There was some gathering on the left.

I stitched the two lining sections together. Since I am slightly suspicious about the shrinking due to the heavy fusible interfacing, I adjusted the seam allowances slightly.

When I went to attach the lining with the bag, I realized I did the overlay wrong (the decorative piece on the front of the bag). I didn’t have the raw edges of the bag together with the raw edges of the overlay. Instead, I had the overlay raw edges down by the pleat. Seam ripper to rescue once again. Once I got back on track, I attached the decorative button.

I then attached the lining to the bag. I had to turn the bag right side out, and slip it in the lining, which has a opening at the bottom so that once the bag and the lining are sewn together, you can flip right sides out. I am remembering back to the sailor pants, when I had to sew the two pant legs together. It was a very similar process.

The side seams of the lining didn’t exactly match the side seams of the bag, but again, I am thinking it is because the lining shrunk a bit.

I pulled the bag through the opening I left at the bottom of the lining. I stitched up the lining, pressed the bag, and we have this week’s project wrapped up:

And a not so great shot of the interior:

Project Wrap-up

Sew Happy:

  • I am becoming more and more confident in the adjustments I am making to the patterns. I made two adjustments to this pattern – eliminating extra stitching with the pleats and fusing the interfacing instead of basting. And I actually think the bag looks better as a result.
  • Halloween costume i-dear developed during this project: Instead of the grim reaper, I think I am going to be the seam ripper.
  • This is a combo of “sew happy” and “not sew happy”: I am happy that I was using durable canvas because I had to use the seam ripper (not sew happy) quite a few times.

Not Sew Happy:

  • When “snaking” the handles, some of the seams came loose. I am not really happy with how the handles turned out.
  • I felt like I cheated a bit with the overlay. I am not sure if I fixed it in a way that is true to the pattern/directions.