Sunday, March 1, 2009

Collaged Tote Bag

I still can't get over the fact that I sewed up that little cutting board inside the bag between the lining and the cover! It was a stressful week in a fun sort of way but that was the result. This pattern is McCalls 4400. The fabrics are silks, some velvet, assorted cotton laces and even some organza ribbon. The lining is silk dupioni. I interfaced the bag with two layers. First the collaged pieces were fused to a layer of weft insertion interfacing and then all of that was fused to Decor Bond, a stiff craft interfacing that I use a lot for my bags. My bags are often two layers of fusible. Sometimes I fuse the Decor Bond to the shell and then fuse a weft insertion to the lining, all depends.
I ran into an issue with the top edge, again my distraction coming into play. I think it worked out OK in the end. I wanted a wide bias band which would go to the raw edge. Then I was going to topstitch it on the bottom edge. I thought I had enough clearance around the magnet but I didn't, no way. So I ripped out the topstitching and went to bed. Next day I cut another bias strip, applied it to the front, wrapped to the back and basted down. I then cut a third bias strip and hand stitched that, top and bottom edges, to cover the raw edge of the binding. I think it worked out OK. There was a definite way I could have gotten around this whole problem, but again, I didn't think this thru like I normally do. I am going to make a note on the pattern about this situation so I can avoid it next time. I do love this pattern. It is big, easy to make, and has tons of possiblities. Another thing I did differently from the pattern - the corner appliques. They were interfaced and then an organza facing was made to help turn the edges nicely. I then placed the faced corners in position. I used a blindstitch around the edge to secure them. It sunk right into the velvet and looked great.

The inside of the bag has a lot of structure. I find the plastic canvas many use is just not stiff enough for me. But I use it. There is a layer of plastic canvas in the bottom of the bag so that when I poked my bag feet thru there was something to grip on to. On top of that is a layer of foam core. I like foam core. It holds up well and is very stiff. Now does this contribute to the difficulty of maneuvering around the machine? You bet, but I haven't had it been unmanageable yet. Then inside the lining I have an upholstered layer of foam core to add even more stability. So the bottom of this bag is really firm. I like that. I hate it when a bag caves in, unless it is supposed to like a slouch bag.

Not sure what will be next. Business paperwork is now begging for my attention. We shall see.......Bunny


  1. Gorgeous!!!
    I've made a mental note about the foam core/plastic canvas combo. I've read that people use one or the other, but not both.
    I am a little bit confused about what you mean by the "upholstered layer of foam core" Did you cover a piece of foam core with lining fabric and then tack it to the bottom? Did you add anything else?
    The dress idea for dgd looks adorable. I'm a big Kari Mecca fan (is that a page from her latest book?), and I've always been a DK/Patty Reed fan. I'd probably go with a more muted contrast band however, but that's just me being more conserative.

  2. So fabulous! I may make a new beach tote this summer and will definitely look to your posts for guidance.

  3. The bag is gorgeous. Thanks for the tips on making it nice and sturdy.

  4. Between the bag and the lining is the plastic canvas and one layer of foam core. On the inside of the bag you can see the second layer of foam core which has been covered and it just sets in the bottom. It is not tacked down. I think this is to keep the lining from ballooning out. I also ditch stitch by hand into the side seams of the lining and bag to secure the lining further.

  5. Great bag, Bunny! Love the warm tones of the fabric, very luxurious. I also wanted to let you know I made up that Daisy Kingdom dress last summer. Adorable, I think that cherry print with a solid accent would be perfect! I'll email you later with pics.

  6. Your bag looks great. I really couldn't envision it in the production photos.
    I hadn't thought of using foamcore. That is a great idea. Thanks!

  7. Elegant and unique! Turned out great, sans the buttonhole heart, of course.

  8. The bag turned out FANTASTIC!!! I LOVE it!

  9. es precioso Bunny, de veras. Todo está impecable. Quedará fabuloso llevado con su camisa de lino marrón, seguro.

  10. The collaged tote bag is incredible. It looks like it could have been purchased at a high end department store.


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