Vogue 8823, the Cobalt Bling Bag is done!
Vogue 8823 c'est un fait accompli! I really enjoyed this project on many levels. I got to add bling-y hardware to this bag. I stenciled the center section of the bag and I had the challenge of a new pattern and dealing with a new on line purveyor, at least for me, Emmaline Bags, NAYY by the way. So without further ado, here is the skinny of my newest bag.
This pattern is from Vogue and one of Marcy Tilton's latest designs. There are six distinct views to make with this pattern, three of which are very large, not a scale for petite's. But as Goldilocks says, View G was "juuuuuuuust right". My goal was a simple tote bag for summer. My last bag was extremely structured and this time around, for summer, I wanted something softer and more casual. I didn't use the heavy interfacing combo I usually use when I make bags but that is fine. I got what I was hoping for.
I had issues with this pattern. I thought the specified zipper installation was very cumbersome and decided to find a better way. What I did was detailed in my last post but basically I made up the top section of this three section bag separate. That way I was able to get the area to receive the zip under the presser foot comfortably and with little bulk. Then the top section was simply stitched to the bottom section after the zip was installed.
Another issue I encountered was the layout for View G on the strap pieces, 36 and 37. Let's just leave it at very confusing illustrations. Follow your gut and just cut what you need to get the job done. I had plenty of fabric to pull it off with what was specified.
My last issue with the pattern was the lack of a size being specified for the zipper that goes across the top of View G. In the notions requirements it says for that you need "one zipper (for size see sewing instructions)." Well I looked all over for the size and never did find it. Luckily my plan was to use a long zipper anyway with the tails tucked in and the metal zip ends inside the bag. Therefore I was able to be happy with my end result, but I could easily see someone being stymied about what size zip goes across the top of this bag.
For the bottom section and the straps I used a faux leather from Joann's, 100% poly. I found my best needle to go through this was a Microtex size 14. The leather is shaded and was quite thin and relatively easy to work with.
The top two sections of the bag were made from "bull denim", pretty heavy stuff I got a few years back to make slipcovers, about 12 yards. In keeping with my philosophy of "just cut it" I did and have no regrets. I can always buy more bull denim if I decide to do those slipcovers. The denim is a nice soft off white. I stenciled the center section and left the top section plain.
Interfacing is "soft". So contrary to what I usually used, I only interfaced the bag with fusible fleece. It has some body but really is quite soft. I do have to tell I have discovered something called Flex Foam which I am really excited about and will make another bag with it soon. I can't wait to try the FF out but the fleece worked fine for wanting a soft tote. The bottom of the lining is fused with Peltex which really helped with shape of the bag bottom. You have to have some sort of base in a bag or whatever you throw in it will sag and show, so Peltex in the bottom!
This was sewn with regular Coats and Clark thread. I didn't use anything heavier for the topstitching as I get a bit paranoid about topstitching faux leather. Heavy threads or triple stitching can contribute to damaged seam lines so I kept it simple with the Coats.
This is where it got fun! I wanted to try some new techniques here and that was fun. The bag is pretty straight forward. I've told you about the zipper issues. . Another diversion from the directions was NOT doing this: "Pin lining to front and back, having wrong sides together and edges even. Serge around edges." This was before stitching up any side seams or corners. This would work if you were going to do the zipper the pattern way but it will still leave you with a relatively unfinished innard with serged seams, not really my style. I decided to do a drop in lining which really was easy. You can see it pinned in above and I just hand stitched it in.
For the stitching on the faux leather I rubbed the needle shaft and presser foot bottom with "Sewer's Aid", a silicone product. It worked great. Topstitching was 3.5 stitch length. Construction seams were 2.5. I tried to press the faux business as little as possible but when I did it was with no steam, low temp and using my wooden clapper. Love that clapper and it did a great job here.
The zipper goes across the top of this bag. The ends slip inside. If the straps were not on the side seams the zipper would be left out side of the bag. The ends of the zip need finishing. There are lots of lessons on the web about how to make little square covers for the ends and those can be nice. I wanted to try these metal zip "ends". What you see above is the back side of the zip end. The dressy side is all polished and shiny as shown in the previous post and above. The zip ends come with little teensy screws, barely bigger than a pencil lead. They are Phillips head screws but luckily I had a teensy Phillips head screwdriver in my resources and it was just the right fit. The zipper gets its ends stitched across the coil parts, like you would stop any sort of zipper. After that the zip is trimmed, not too close and the seam allowances folded/twisted narrow enough to slip them inside the end. The end is filled with a blop of glue, E6000 recommended, and the zip is shoved into the end. I used a flat screwdriver to push it in as far as I could and to neaten it all up. Once that was done the teensy screw was screwed in with the Phillips head. Done and left to dry!
I got my zip ends and all my hardware from Emmaline Bags. I have found their customer service to be wonderful. I can't wait to make up one of their bag patterns next. Highly recommend and again, no affiliation.
Next bit of bling is the sliders and the swivel hooks and the D rings. This is another issue about the pattern I didn't quite get. The small strap on the right, the one attached to the bag, is one inch wide when completed. It fit the specified D ring perfectly. The long bag strap finished at one and quarter inch wide. I checked and rechecked but followed the pattern. You can see how it did not fit nicely into the one inch wide D ring and slider specified. I can certainly live with this but would have preferred a nice flat strap. I did not have enough fabric to recut. One thing about the pic above. It really doesn't show you the highly polished shine these pieces have. Before I got the Emmaline hardware I ordered pieces from a vendor on Amazon. I was so disappointed with the quality. Anyone need fifty swivel hooks that look inferior? It's clear I can count on Emmaline's quality.
Another detail I like to add to my bags is a key fob. I used a bit of the leftover lining, wrapped it around the swivel hook and then finished the end with wrapping with DMC embroidery floss. It works great.
The other side of the lining has a conventional zipper pocket. You can see once again I used the triple zigzag around the zip and the entire pocket.
And last but not least:
This was a challenging project. I had to learn new skills, (installing hardware), overcome what to me were issues with the pattern and also to satisfy my creative vision I dealt with painting the fabric and dealing with faux leather. I really enjoyed it all. I would not recommend this pattern to an inexperienced bag maker but if you have a few under your belt and take it slow, it really won't be hard. I definitely recommend it to the experienced bag maker. I like all the style options available in the pattern too. I was so pleased with the final results that I signed up for the clutch bag class on Craftsy and am looking forward to making my first bag with a new product, for me anyway, Flex Foam! ...More to come, as always....................Bunny