Last week I posted my first blog post as part of the Sewlux and Happy Little Cottage Weekender Bag Sew Along.
Previous Weekender Bag Posts
Today I am sharing a few assembly construction ideas that have worked well for me on the Weekender Bag.
I like to use Elmer's glue stick to hold down the 1" seam that you press down to install the zipper in the top panel. It helps keep it from flipping up.
I baste the zipper with Wonder Tape, but glue basting is super also.
Piping on pockets:
When attach the pocket exterior and lining after the piping has been basted to the exterior, I find that the lining fabric shifts a lot. To help with this, I use Wonder Tape to hold the lining fabric in place.
Basting piping on main panels:
I forgot to take a pic of this, but I like to use 1/4" Steam a Seam to hold the piping in place on the main panels. I iron as I go around the perimeter and it holds very well. I could use Wonder Tape, but Wonder Tape doesn't stick strongly and I don't want the piping to come up. Sewing in place works as well, but if I am pinning in place already, I figure I can just iron the piping with Steam a Seam.
Basting piping around the corners:
On my first two bags, I really struggled with piping getting eaten in the bottom corner curves when I sew the main panel to the middle. A lot of frustration and seam ripping and still less than perfect result. This time it occurred to me that I can cheat the corners a little bit when I baste the piping in place and have an easier time at the sewing machine. IT WORKED PERFECTLY. I am beyond ecstatic about it.
NOTE: See below for what it looks like with my little ruler over the basted corner. When I set my ruler on top, the edge of the ruler hits right at the piping, and the 1/2" mark on the ruler is at the edge of the bag. This cheating corners method will not work if you place the piping farther in.
Here is the end result on the finished bag:
Attaching the main panel to the middle:
Your best friend; use them liberally. Also make sure to mark centers of all your panels and line the centers up and work out from there.
Clipping the bottom corners of the middle:
This part was fiddly with the batted, quilted, duck canvas bottom and stiff Peltex (one layer, cut smaller than seams but still stiff and harder to maneuver. Two additional layers inserted in the bottom of the bag). That seam and poky seam allowance where the top panel attaches to the bottom panel, tripped me up on the first side.
I had a light bulb moment on the second side and it went on much easier. I trimmed the seam allowance and it was able to lay nice and flat around the curve. Hopefully this collage shows the detail well enough for you to see.
Stitching the main panel to the middle:
This time I tried going around the machine with 1/4" seam first. I saw that on a blog post some time ago and I can't remember where. It is a great tip! It helps hold all the layers together. I ditched my walking foot on this bag because it was not handling all the layers under it; I tried using it on the first side and it was awful. I also had to use a bit heavier thread than Aurifil 50 wt. I switched to Gutermann cotton thread, which I just discovered you can find in cones at Joann online. Yay!
I used my zipper foot to do the 1/2" seam - it worked great this time to get close to the piping and over all the layers, and I don't remember why I didn't use it the first two times.
Hand Sewing the Lining:
If there is one do-over I want on this bag, it is to go back and not be lazy about adding interfacing to the top panel lining pieces. (The second is not trying a machine stitched lining attachment which sounds so much easier.) It was stretchier than the main panels and I ended up having to add some little pleats at the top corners. My lining also didn't lay nice around the zipper ends when stitched in. My daughter said she doesn't care so I am just not going to look too closely at it.
Clipping or pinning lining to exterior:
Before any stitching, I like to flip back the top edge and wonder clip all the sides and top and then use straight pins to hold the lining top/main panel seams in place with the exterior seams.
Then I ladder stitch the lining fold to the zipper tape.
Attaching the lining seams to the exterior:
For this bag, I tried something new and I like it a lot. I bring my needle and thread through the seam between lining top panel and main panel and out to the bag exterior between the piping and bag. I do four or so stitches in several places and it holds the lining up nicely.
I think those are the highlights of my assembly method. I will edit and add if I realize I forgot anything. Also take a peek at the Instagram #wbsa2016 hashtag and #threeowlsweekenderbag for more details and ideas.