Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shopping Bag Tutorial - Part Three

My apologies for the delayed update with this tutorial. Now the silly season of Christmas is out of the way, I now can concentrate on editing the many photos that are a part of this tutorial. There will be more photos yet but I think twelve is more than enough for this post. My apologies to those on slow dial-up.

Why so many photos? This tutorial has been done with newbies to the sewing scene in mind. Don't forget to click on the images to see a larger view.

Because this bag is not lined, I decided that 'French Seams' would be much tidier and also reinforce the sewn areas so that they are much stronger.

If you don't know how to make a French Seam, you are about to see how it is done. The fabric is sewn with wrong sides together. Lay the fabric as you see it in the first image matching the centred narrow end of small short side panel to the centre of the long edge on the large panel.

Ops! I realised when sewing up this bag that only the bottom end of the smaller panel needs to have the centre marked. Oh well I am on a learning curve with making a tutorial..... says she blushing!

Now starting from the marked centre, pin the small panel to the large one. Take your time doing this as you are going to pin the large panel around the corner of the small panel. Pin all the way to the end of the top of the bag as you can see in the bottom left hand side of the above image. Pin from the centre to the other side so that you have the small panel completely attached to the large panel to form the side of the bag.

Note: I found it easier to sew with the smaller panel on the top side. You may find it easier to sew with the larger panel up. If this is the case, you will need to pin on the side of the large panel.

You will find as you pin the large panel around the corners of the small panel, it will be tight and not sit right, so snip about 3-4mm into the large panel so that the fabric relaxes and allows you to turn the fabric around the corner to continue on pinning. Look at the image above to see what I did. It is only one cut, I did not cut a square out.

Be sure that the snip on the large panel matches the corner on the small panel. Once the fabric opens up as you pin around the corner, the cut will open up forming that square that you see in the above image. Do not cut/snip the small panel.

This image shows you the small panel pinned to the large panel and is what you should have if you are making this bag. Well that is if you can follow what I am saying! :D

Taking a small 3-4mm seam, start sewing from the top of the bag and stitch around the three sides. You may need to lift the foot and gently rearrange the material in the corners when you sew them. I found it best to sew one stitch, rearrange the material and sew another stitch and so on. Be sure to catch both sides of fabric because it is easy to miss the underside. This is why I have used many pins.

Basting may also be helpful to those that struggle to keep narrow seams together. Can you see the corner that has opened up on the image above from that original snip? If you find that the snip is past the seam, don't panic as the next step will resolve it without any M&M's falling through the corner hole. ;)

Sew up the second side as you did the first one.

Turn the bag inside out and press seams...... I promise you will have no ugly seams after this next bit of sewing.

Now I want you to pin the bag again, but this time you will be encasing the first seam inside the next one that you sew. Make sure you pull the first seam out and finger press it as you pin so that you have the first row of stitches right to the edge that you are pinning. Once more you will be pinning around the two corners but will find it much easier this time. There will be no cutting into corners when you pin or sew. You will also see that you will be fixing any cuts in the corner that may have been made too long from the previous seam by sewing this second round.

This second seam will be made wider because it needs to encase the first seam so that it is hidden on the right side of the bag. Depending on what seam you made previously, I would suggest 5-6mm seam this time to finalise the 'French Seam'. If you have just sewn your first French Seam, Give yourself a pat on the back. I love to make this seam. It is very useful for joining material when making curtains... Eek and I am getting off track here now.

Sew the seam starting from the top edge around all three edges. Repeat for the other side.

Turn and press..... See no messy seams on the right side! :D

Please do come back again to see the final installment of this bag. All going well it will be tomorrow.

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Unknown said...

Great job and very neat work too !
Happy New Year
Clare's Craftroom

Creative Times with Sue said...

Thanks Clare... will be nice to get the last of the tutorial up.