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Friday, September 30, 2011

Second project - A tote bag

Yes, a tote bag - that's the first lesson they teach when someone attends a beginner sewing class. I joined one too, at the Pacific Fabrics store in Bellevue. I expected more of "Getting started" kinda approach. But the first day we went, the instructor started off with cutting some fabric according to some dimensions and pressing the fusibles and what not. Already there were more people registered than the space could take and it was crowded. There were 8 students and two cutting boards and irons. We were waiting endlessly to even get a chance to use the rotary cutter.

The second class, it got better. I ironed the front showing piece with the fusible and the handles, ready to be stitched in the first class. So I did that stitching at home. Then the pattern got complicated and was talking about velcrow etc. which I didn't have. So I waited to get back to the class. Then we attached a pocket to the lining and joined the edges leaving a 6in hole on one side. Boxed (mitered in sewing terms), 4 inches from the edges of the front piece and the lining. For boxing, we had to press the seamed edges all along and then make a 90 degrees angle at the corners and stitch 4 in from that corner back and forth. Then cut that corner out leaving 1/2 an inch on either side.

After boxing, we turned the front piece inside out and then attached handles to it. After than we attached the lining with wrong side out (right sides together) at the top. Then we pulled the front piece from inside to out of the lining piece. Then pressed the lining and the front piece together at the top with good steam and then stitched all around. That's it. that made a perfect tote bag.

Tips Learnt:


  • Rotary cutter works better than scissors in cutting straight lines
  • There is a technique to attaching fusibles. Attach the rough side to the fabric and press with steam up and down and not sideways (with a pressing sheet in between) 
  • Always use a pressing sheet or a fusible sheet might damage your pressing iron
  • Pins are your best friend. Pin every 1 in so that the fabric does not shift
  • When making seams, if you iron it before hand, it wont move around
  • When you want to turn around the fabric, to avoid the bulk of the cloth being on right side, turn around  so the bulk of the fabric is on left side
  • To turn around the corners, keep the needle down and lift the presser foot up and turn the fabric around.

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