Thursday, February 28, 2013

Alexis’ Tote Bag – One for the -FINISHED!- page!

I got busy on the tote bag as soon as I could this morning.   I had asked Alexis how long to make the straps and she has another tote bag that she says the straps are really good, and they are 23”.  The plastic bag I am copying has 20” straps, so she thought anywhere from 24” to 25” would be good.  I wasn’t really sure from what point Alexis was measuring her other straps, as she is at work and she was using a ruler instead of a measuring tape, so I finally decided to go with 26”, but that includes the amount that is below the top of the bag.

The original bag has straps that are only ½” wide, and I thought closer to an inch would be better.  Wanting them to be secure, I cut fabric 3 ¼” wide by 26 ½” wide – The long ends would be folded ¼” each end, and on the width, I would fold 1” in on each side, with a ¼” fold to finish off the edge. 

Got them all folded and pressed, and as I was top stitching them, had one of those “oh, crap!” moments – I had forgotten to top stitch around the top of the bag!  With the magnetic snaps already in place, I wasn’t sure I would be able to stitch far enough from the edge.  I got the zipper foot out and set it as close to the edge as possible that the fabric would still feed through.  It was a challenge, and I had one spot where I went off the edge, but it really isn’t too noticeable.  If I had done that when I should have, I probably would have measured more accurately to put the blasted snap on!  Okay, well, at least I will get the measurements for the straps better than for the snap. 

(I hope someone is paying attention to all my mistakes and learns from them!)

Oh, and I really should have top stitched those pockets on either side too!  <argh!>

Here are the straps-



Okay, so I measured out where they go and pinned them on –


I started sewing around one, and yet another “oh, crap!” moment.  I forgot that where the purple fabric folds over into the inside needed to be pulled up out of the way so that the sewing of the straps would not show inside – it should have been pinned like this –


All those bits of thread are where I had to take it out.  <sigh>

Okay, so sewing them on – well, I have a hard enough time sewing a straight line, let along sewing over it a couple of times forward and backward to make sure it is secure.  Let’s just pretend they look fabulous, okay?  And then actually, they did look better are the inside where they won’t be showing!  Here they are, and I got the length right for both sides so it doesn’t hang funny-


Finally – up to where the lining gets sewn in- thought I would never get here!  Almost done with this tote bag!  Of course, this also meant I had to play around and remember which piece goes inside which piece to make it work right!

I turned the outside (purple) part inside out to pin.  Putting the lining inside the outside, I found out that they didn’t match up totally right.  I pinned them together and tried to ease the part that was too big, and sewed it together.  It wound up with the part I would call the front lining being puckered.  I left a 4 inch opening thinking that was enough to turn it, but boy, it was not an easy birth!


I pressed along the lining and folded over purple edge, and hand sewed the opening I left for turning, and this puppy is ready for the FINISHED! page. 


There are few things that bug me about this- like the puckered lining seam and the way the straps are sewn on, but I think I actually learned quite a bit in making my own pattern.  I’m kind of anxious to try something else I have had in my mind for quite some time.  And I did find out that even though I loved the lining fabric, I will probably stick to cotton – this stuff was hard to cut straight and stretched slightly!

It’s early – only 130pm - and I think I will go ahead and post this now – maybe Alexis will find out her bag is done by looking on the Internet instead of coming home to find it- kind of like that guy from Stone Temple Pilots finding out he had been fired from the group by reading it in the paper!  LOL

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