Monday, June 13, 2011

Make It With Me - Wavy Top Tote: Part One

It's here! Are you ready? I'm ready.

It's a good idea to give any pattern a quick read-through before you get started. I've included a fair bit of pictures, and probably gotten overly thorough in my descriptions. I tried to write this up the way I like to follow tutorials, and to also make it easier for any newer sewists who are here. If any of this is old news, feel free to skim/skip ahead.

1. Cut out your fabric and interfacing as indicated on the pattern pieces and cutting sheet (links listed here).
2. Fuse the interfacing to the bag exterior, the contrast band, and the lining. DO NOT do anything with the pieces of fleece cut from the lining pattern yet, or the fleece and interfacing for the straps.

Making the Shoulder Straps
1. Take a shoulder strap piece and fold it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press. Unfold, and then fold each raw edge towards the center crease and press. Fold each short edge in half an inch and press (this is to hide the raw edges on our finished strap).


2. Take your length of fusible fleece, and lay it down the center of the piece of fabric we just folded and pressed. Fold the short edge pieces neatly over the edges of the fleece and press again. Fold the long edges towards the center and press (to reinforce any folds that may have ironed out when you fused the fleece). Then fold in half again. All raw edges should be folded inside this strap now.


3. Top stitch around the entire strap. I like to go with a 1/8 inch seam allowance for this, but do what makes you feel comfortable.

4. Repeat all steps with the other strap. Set these aside for later.

Make Up the Loop Straps (these are the straps with the rings stitched onto the bag itself)
1. Similar to the above steps, fold these pieces in half lengthwise and press. Then unfold, and press the raw edges toward the center crease. There is no need to iron in the short ends on these pieces.

2. Lay your fusible interfacing down the center of this strip (as we did above) and press to fuse. Iron the edges towards the center again, and then fold in half and press. Do this with all four loop straps. (Steps 1 and 2 are almost identical to the shoulder straps, except one uses fleece and one uses interfacing). Do not topstitch.

3. Feed the end of one of the loop straps through one of your rings, and fold down about two inches. Stitch about 1/4 inch from the raw edge (this raw edge will be hidden when we sew it onto the bag). Do this with all 4 loop straps. Set aside.

Assemble the Exterior Bag Body
Take a few deep breaths. We're going to be pinning and stitching some curves.
1. Take an exterior bag piece and one of your contrast bands. Match the top of the bag piece to the bottom of the band, right sides together. If it helps you to keep them straight (that stinkin' curvy band still confuses me, and it's my pattern, lol) lay them down flat like you're assembling a jigsaw puzzle, right sides up. Then just flip the band down onto the top of the bag and pin (this is where the markings come in handy in keeping everything neat and tidy).

2. I like to use lots and lots of pins to keep everything neat. You'll notice that the band may be a touch longer than the top of the bag - this is on purpose. Some of the length gets eaten up in the curves - I think it's better to have a longer band that you can trim than to come up short.

3. Stitch with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I do so with the band facing up as it helps me control the fabric better. Do your best to keep it nice and flat, but if you sew a few kinks into it you just unpick that part and restitch. Go slow and you shouldn't have any problem with those curves.

4. Press with the raw edges of the seam up towards the band. It looks like there is way too much fabric for it to lay flat but it does. Give it a very convincing press.

5. Topstitch on the band side of the curvy seam we just sewed. I usually go about 1/8 inch from the edge.

6. Repeat for the other exterior piece and band. If the the band is a little bit longer than the other part of the bag, simply trim it so that they're nice and even.

7. Take your fusible fleece pieces that we cut from the lining pattern and fuse them to the wrong sides of your outside bag pieces. Make sure you press nice and firm to get a good bond. Trim any excess fleece (I always seem to get some overhang).

And that's that for part 1. Next time we'll finish the outside of the bag. Questions? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and I'll do my very best to help you out. If you think something needs clarification please let me know.  I'll have Part 2 up on Wednesday.

Happy sewing!

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  1. Lots of great projects kiddo!!! I have not ventured into bag making just yet. Maybe I should!

  2. i can't wait to make a bag. maybe i can sew along with you. new follower here.

  3. I love this idea! I hope you will share at my party! : )

  4. OOohh - I better get some fabric. I made a bag from a pattern at the beginning of the year and just about tore my hair out. It turned out pretty good but it was quite the process. Possibly with pictures I will be better at it. Saw you on TT&J.

  5. How fun. I am a little late, but better late then never right? I downloaded the patterns and can't wait to start. I will be you new newest follower:)

  6. great bag! i have made a couple, but just big ol' bags for the library, etc. thanks for the tutorial. found you on tt&j.

  7. what a cute handbag! thanks for the sew-a-long and thanks for linking up this fab project! Have a lovely weekend, Bethany...

  8. I know this is from 2011, but I would really like to have a tote like this one now in 2013. Your tut is fantastic and I thank you for creating pdf of tut & patterns. I've looked them over and I will give this style bag a try. Thank you for taking the time to put your tuts together and share them here on your site.



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