Sunday, February 24, 2013

Alexis’ Tote Bag – The Outside Body

Well, so far, it’s looking pretty good to win my giveaway – no entries yet.  Please, let there be someone out there that wants it!  All you have to do is visit this post and leave a comment.  Make sure you leave it on that post or I may not see it.  You have until Wednesday, Feb 27, at 12 noon Pacific time to leave your comment.

For her tote, this is the piece of cotton Alexis chose-

It really is pretty – I have the same thing in a gorgeous turquoise blue I thought she may like, but like I always do, she went purple.  The fabric has no designer markings, but I got it at Hancock Fabrics and it comes in a couple of different colors.

For the lining, she had first found a piece of a mottled gray in my stash, but I didn’t have enough of it.  When I asked her to find something else, she asked if she couldn’t have something silky like the original purse has in it.  I took her to my two full IKEA bags of non-quilting fabrics, and she finally decided she liked this for the contrast it is going to provide-

It does feel a lot like the original bag lining.  Personally, I love it and think the colors go great together.

To put the outside together, I pretty much followed the same plan as I did with the muslin test.  I did cut the outside material longer, since I had to account for that fold over to the inside down to the lining.  Also, since I have to put interfacing on the pieces, when I sewed the mock seam for the bottom front and back, I cut along the fold so I could press the seam open – I didn’t want to put the interfacing on first and then sew that tiny seam through it.  I figured by pressing it open, I could put the interfacing over it.

So with interfacing applied, I sewed the bottom seam.  And even though straight lines are not something I do well, I top stitched all three seams for the bottom, hoping they would offer some further stability.  I used a zipper foot to try to keep the stitch lines straight.  

Here is a close up of two of the bottom seams top stitched from the right side-

I want to mention the thread I am using.  I have tried so many threads, including that fancy Italian stuff that is so expensive. I never really liked anything I used until I discovered Essential™Threads from the Connecting Threads website

(Not the same color used on project.)

It is awesome – it goes through my machine beautifully.  The color I used was a little more red than I would have liked, but it was the closest I had on hand.  1200 yards and only $2.19 each when bought in a set of 10 or $2.49 when purchased separately.  Well worth it - I highly recommend it – and this is not a paid endorsement!  As soon as I get a job and have money, I want it in all the colors!  I am going to use all the leftover junk thread I have, including the Italian stuff, just for overcasting fabric before I wash it from now on!

So I held off cutting the side pieces until I knew for sure how the front and back pieces would come out  and I was pleasantly surprised to find the bottom came out exactly at 5 ½” like the original!  (Sometimes, miracles do happen!)  The sides of the front and back came out at 13 ½” which I think is good – should leave me just enough for the inside fold over.  I cut two sides at 6 ½” x 14” – and figured I would just trim them at the top to match the front and back when it was together.

After I put the interfacing on the sides and was getting ready to sew the sides on, I remembered I wanted to put a pocket on one side – big enough for a cell phone.  So I had to stop and figure the measurements for that.  The sides are cut at 6 ½“ but I didn’t want the pocket to be that exactly – I didn’t want it to fit completely flat against the side and be hard to use.  So I cut it at 7” wide, and 12” long, so I could fold it in half.  I put interfacing on only half of it and folded it over.  Then I went to pin it on, and realized that I would have a half inch hang over on the bottom, so I had to taper cut it on each side, a ¼” at the bottom up to the corner at the top.  Thankfully, it looked like it was going to work.

I was so relieved when the pocket did work out!  Here is how Side 1 looks-

Since that pocket worked, I went to Alexis to ask if she wanted a pocket on the other side as well.  She said yes, if I didn’t mind doing it, so a second pocket it is.
So here is the finished body-

I put something in the pockets so you can see how they will actually hold something.  It is taller than it will be when completed- I left plenty of fabric around the top for folding over.

And I think that is it for today.  I’m beat and have schoolwork needing some attention- hope I can think straight.  Tomorrow will be the lining!


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