It all started when I happened upon this laugh-out-loud crafty type’s blog This Portland gal is full of fun & crafty and inspired me to take up some sewing lessons. And that I did. Enter Cindy Luby, quilter & sewer extraordinaire. In no time I was drooling over websites like this, and this, and even this. Little did I know that THIS place existed, and only a few towns over from me! I was on the hunt for F A B R I C. Me loves me some
F A B R I C .
Ladies, you shoe ladies in particular, my fabric addiction is kind of like shoes. Say no more. My first parcel of happy happy joy joy arrived via the nice UPS man and this was my first splurge (look above):
You see those mod umbrellas with the couple underneath? (Love the red shoes), well I knew I had to have that fabric when I saw it in the Dear Stella line. It is called Town & Country Multi Umbrellas. And those red dots just above? It’s from the same line and called Red Raindrops.
Mind you, my original splurge was for making my baby girl (due Sep 15th!) a dress. That is what that little grouping of pink & orange fabrics is at the top. But, sigh, the pattern hadn’t arrived by the time my first sewing lesson was set to begin, so I was just *forced* to make a cute tote for myself. Can you believe that?
So, here are the deets and kind of step by step-ish play by play of the whole sew-a-thon. I regret not instagramming a pic of my sewing instructor, the lovely Cindy Luby of Cindy Luby Designs. Her “Easy Summer Tote” pattern was my top sac of choice for my upcoming trip to Maine.
The first step was assembling the straps. I used the Red Raindrops contrast fabric for those pieces, as well as the bottom of the bag. Oh yeah, I need to tell you about the INTERFACING – or make that LACK OF INTERFACING. According to the wise Cindy, it is a pain in the you-know-what. Basically, interfacing is the stuff you put behind your fabric to give it some stiffness, so your bag can kind of stand on its own. You have to iron this stuff in and basically it takes a long time and can become a mess for your iron at times. WELL, that is where the FABULOUS Pam of Del Ray Fabrics saves the day. She has this new product that you can sew in behind your fabric that is SO MUCH EASIER TO USE than interfacing called “Soft and Stable“. I believe it is referred to as “interlining”. Think of it as like a thin layer of foamy mattress top. The best part (besides the no-ironing-it-in routine) is that when your fabric bends (as it will around the straps), it won’t get and retain all those wrinkles that make your masterpiece look all dowdy. It also makes your bags look more professional. And, at this stage in the game, I’ll take all the professional I can get!
Once we got the straps sewn into the front and back of the bag and the bottom attached, we had to get the rest of the Soft & Stable attached to the fabric. To do this we had to BASTE the Soft & stable to the fabric before we sewed it in good.
I first learned about basting while watching Little House on the Prairie. Ma was chastising Laura for only basting a dress she was making for Nellie (or some other evil girl.) Oh yeah, whoever it was was going after Almanzo – oh no! Anyway, girly girl ends up wearing the only-basted-dress to the circus with Almanzo and SURE ENOUGH, the thing basically falls apart in front of everyone. So that is basically how I learned that basting is kind of like only a fabric place holder and not something you should trust to wear out in the open…especially if your friend is Laura Ingalls and she offers to sew for you. Heads up.
Once that was all sewn in and our corners sewed up nicely, I have to say that Soft & Stable stuff really made the bag stand up nicely (and it was so light!) The next step was to create the lining. I think Cindy gave me some Moda basic fabric for this in white, but I wasn’t paying real good attention at the time as I was eyeing allll the other fabric she had in her studio. We folded the two main
pieces in half and pressed them so we could decide where to put the magnetic snap. We opted
to insert it about 3/4″ from the top, but in hindsight, Cindy says we should have gone an inch. (Later on, edge stitching the top of the bag proved to be difficult to get around the snaps and Cindy had to whip out the zipper foot – who knew a sewing machine had so many foots? I had used a walking foot, edge foot, what’s-the-word-for-a-regular-foot, and now a skinny little zipper foot.)
We also made some nice pockets to hold all sorts of things, especially my i-phone. Here I am, just sewing away on Cindy’s Bernina. This thing is as old as her daughter and works great. It was one of the first computerized Berninas. Just goes to show you when you buy quality, it lasts a long time. Amen.
I sewed the lining almost all the way closed except for an opening at the bottom. And, of course, the top was left open (this is where it would attach to the top of the bag, which is obviously open.) Next up was to pin the lining to the bag. So with the bag standing upright
with the right side facing out, Cindy pinned the lining to the bag right sides together. So in this pic, the lining actually looks inside out. Remember that part I didn’t sew? That was because after the lining gets attached to the bag, we will need to pull the whole bag through that opening so that the lining would eventually be *inside* the bag. Sounds confusing, but now that I have seen how it is done, I get it. I doubt I did you any favors trying to explain this right now! (sorry!!)
We were nearing the finish line and my heart started a thump thump thumpin’… I was actually excited and kind of sad at the same time because all the fun in making this bag was quickly coming to an end 😦 Here is how the bag looked BEFORE we put the lining in…
And then the BIG FINISH! (any Broadcast News fans out there?)…..