Starry Night Bag Construction

Tonight's post shows a few of the details that went into the construction of the bag. Going into this I knew that the smocking I envisioned would cause a lot of fabric to be dealt with on the eleven by twelve inch bag. To achieve this I engineered a "stay". This was a flat piece of flannel cut to the pattern piece for the front and back of the bag. I have made this bag before and knew it needed some serious structure. A layer of fusible fleece was first fused to the back of the flannel. Then a layer of Decor Bond was fused on top of that. When the smocked fabric was laid on top of the stay, the pleated area just collapsed. I took a thick piece of fleece, cut to fit the pleated area, and stitched it to the stay with a loose zigzag. This supported the smocked area nicely.

The outside edges of the smocked panel were gathered with a basting stitch on the machine and then fitted to the stay. It was then stay stitched in place and ready for construction.

To give the bottom of the bag some more structure I used a plastic dollar store cutting board. They usually come in a bag of three and are basically throw away cutting boards. I know many use Timtex or even plastic canvas, but I have found this works better. It is flexible, cuttable, and hard. It was perfect for the curved bottom of the bag. I cut a piece to fit the bottom of the bag and used a glue made for plastics to stick it to the inside of the bag. The bag then went upside down over a jar with a stone to weight it down and to dry overnight.

The contest required a label with lots of info on it to go inside the bag, nothing detachable. After playing with some fonts, always fun, I typed a label up in Word. White broadcloth was ironed on to freezer paper and passed thru the printer. Voila - the label was done. It went in tucked into the inner pocket and attached with a wavy bead thing I cooked up.
In the past this pattern presented problems with the zipper directions. It has you butt the two sides of the zipper lining together and stitch to the bag and gusset. This leaves a v shape that does not accommodate the zipper pull or teeth. Not good. So I added a tiny fold of the lining fabric between to give the zipper pull room. The outer sides of the zipper lining needed to be cut back a an equal amount to prevent excess fabric from wadding up in the corner of the bag.
I detest floppy linings. To prevent that I backstitched in the ditch from the seam between the zipper side to the same seam on the outside of the bag. This kept the lining tucked up into the top of the bag and not getting the droopsies.

To me, designing is having a vision and then overcoming the problems associated with that vision to create an artistic, functional work. Sharing that process with you has been very enjoyable. On to the next project.....Bunny


  1. Bunny, your work is so beautiful and skillfully done. I hope I can find the time to do such fine work some day. If I can't finish it over a week-end I usually won't get it done.

  2. Thanks, Sherrill. It's how I relax. I enjoy intense sewing, LOL!

  3. Great tips. I loved the one about adding the extra room at the ends of the zipper. Looks so much better too. Again, beautiful bag.

  4. Incredible workmanship on a beautiful purse. Well done!

  5. That is unbelievably exquisite! Just gorgeous. And what a great tutorial.


  6. Thanks again for all the lovely comments. Always appreciated....Bunny


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