Monday, February 13, 2017

Bag Hardware

What you see above is a bag fresh from the thrift shop. I paid fifty cents for it. The hardware will be removed by cutting the bag apart. Then I will clean and  polish up what is clearly very dirty hardware and add it to the collection. 

I like to keep as much of the hardware as I can in little plastic ziplocs otherwise the pieces will scratch each other. I also buy hardware as well. Here are a couple of resources:

That nasty bag I just showed's why I bought it:

Is this not the coolest? It is a key fob permanently installed into the interior of the bag. I love it, snake chain and all. I would put one of these in every bag I make if this were available. Hmmm,,,,I think I need to talk to my resources, don't you? 

I have been busy with the fur backpack and it is nearing completion. I have learned that I really need to hand baste seams for the machine to give me accurate seam allowance widths. 

Above you can see how I shaved the fur off off the body of the bag. That is because I decided to add two slip pockets on the exterior and it would be too much bulk otherwise. I have learned that many furs are backed with knits, so really need some substantive interfacing. I've added Peltex all over most of this bag and like the effect. It gets much more shape this way and otherwise it would be a sagging ball of fur. I've also found hand basting is critical to deal with all the layers of fur/lining/suede. This has a nap, albeit much longer than a velvet, and needs that security of basting just like a piece of velvet. Binder clips and/or pins are fine but this really needs to be handbasted. I am liking and enjoying this so much I may make another with a different fur I have. We'll see. Spring will probably call first! 

I would normally have the bag complete at this point but I am remodeling a bathroom, pretty much  on my own. My husband is not in a position where he can help me physically and I really don't want to spend 14,000.00 for this, the cost of my last bath redo. So I am pretty much on my own here with lots of wonderful feedback and encouragement from him and that's great. I have spent the last three weekends working on the bath and then sewing. I ripped out aging ugly wallpaper. Remember Venetian plaster, as in faux wallpaper? I swear I will never wallpaper again. Then it was remove the glue from the walls with two days of work and two different cleaners. That brought us to today which was mudding the sheetrock and letting it dry. Next weekend will be sand and remud as needed then hopefully start to paint. While we have a pretty good idea of what we want for knobs, paint, faucets, etc.....we will go shopping next weekend for all those goodies and see what sticks. It will be a four day weekend for us so hopefully we can make some major headway on this project. I definitely want it done soon so I can concentrate on other distractions. I will keep you posted and hopefully will have that bag done soon. I am really liking the results so far.......Bunny

Monday, February 6, 2017

Trimming Fur

My plan for getting the bathroom remodel done and the bag done at the same time got flummoxed a bit this weekend. Bathroom day found me with some fast moving, just short of violent sort of stomach virus. With the mess in that room, my sewing day had to become the bathroom remodel day on Sunday. ALL wallpaper is now finally down. What a chore and I will never wallpaper again! Next weekend will have me doing a TSP wash and then mudding the walls where needed. That will need to dry well so the weekend after it will be paint. Then I will start on the cabinets. We are still not finding the perfect lights but that is more a logistical issue with our cabinets. We'll find them! 

The good news is I feel great now and did get a bit of sewing in this morning before work. I decided on a fur flap instead of the suede and thought you might want to see how I trimmed the seam allowances. 

Once the fur piece is cut out it's flipped to the right side and the fur is brushed to the side, exposing the edge of the seam allowance. 

Then I put a little pressure on the piece and roll it away from the table so the edge of the seam allowance is facing you, sort of standing up. 

With the seam standing up, just slip the points of your shears about a 1/4 inch down and start snipping and sliding down. It goes quite quickly. Cut a few inches. Rub off the cut fur and put it in the trash then snip some more. 

Here you can see the shaved seam allowance, ready to stitch! I find it's good to be a bit conservative with the cutting. The shaved area always seems bigger than what you think you're cutting.

I hope this bit of a hint  helps someone out there. It works a lot better than trying to cut fur out out of the backing with everything laid out flat. Hopefully next time we talk the bag will be close to done.........Bunny

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Lucy Fur backpack continues

It took me most of the day to get everything fused for the backpack. There were all sorts of straps, flaps and the fur pieces.  How do you fuse fur? You don't! What I did was first remove the seam allowances on the interfacing pieces. I cut a piece of quilting cotton the same size as the fur and fused the interfacing to that. Then this fused interfacing/cotton combo was stitched to the fur pieces with a 1/4 inch seam. I found binder clips really helpful with sewing this to the fur pieces.

This is also my lining fabric, a quilting cotton,  but I had extra so that is what I used to fuse the peltex to for this piece.  All of the fur pieces had their seam allowances "shaved". That was pretty easy and I just held the fur taut with one hand and slipped the point of my shears about a 1/4 inch into it and cut a bit at a time. It really went fast and now the seams will be easier to sew.  "Reduce bulk whenever possible." Thank you, Roberta Carr.

Below we have a perfect example of why we stabilize and do test stitching before starting a project The stitches on the left, so nasty, were just stitched on two layers of the faux suede. The top right stitches have stabilizer and you can see how nice and smooth they are.

It's also a good idea to try your stitches with the interfacing that will actually  be used. I know the flap will be topstitched and have a layer of fused Peltex, really thick, hard stuff. I decided on a 3.5 stitch length and a "triple stitch" for the topstitching needed. Here's an example. The stitches on the right are just a plain straight stitch. The others are "triple stitch".

This is the same "triple stitch" that some sewists use to stitch knits. No, no, and more no. Why? It's overkill AND have you ever tried to rip a triple stitch out a knit? I guarantee you will throw out the garment first. So keep your triple stitch for topstitching which it does beautifully and use a simple zigzag or other option for your knits. Rant for the day!

I have a big wallpaper removal project going on at home and have been handling it one day each weekend and the other day for my sewing. It keeps my sanity that way. So this bag may take a bit. longer than I hope but I have a plan to get it done (and the wallpaper, which I've decided I hate),  One thing about this project, and it is a good thing, is that there is a huge amount of fusing, good because the end product is superior. This backpack takes 3 1/2 yards of woven SF101 interfacing! That is because the bag is all interfaced as well as the lining. An interfaced lining really makes a difference, IMO, and you find the better bag Indie patterns specify that. The Big Four never do. I've sewn quite a few Big Four bags and have never seen the linings interfaced. So far all my experiences with Indie Bag patterns have been really positive. Keep in mind I have only made Swoon and Emmaline bags. I do hope to make a Blue Calla bag in the future as well. I really think those three are the top of the heap.

I think that now that the fusing is complete the actual bag will go together quite quickly. Fingers crossed for a completion next weekend! In the meantime, this is what came out of the seam allowances on the fur.....Bunny