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Molly Handbag Sew-Along-Second Weekend

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R.Kay Design: Molly Handbag Sew-Along-Second Weekend

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Molly Handbag Sew-Along-Second Weekend

Continuing with our Molly Handbag Sew-Along, last night I constructed the exterior shell. Like last weekend, I took a lot of pics and think it's best to caption those pictures letting the story flow.

If you have any questions, please, please, please. post a comment. I want everyone's Molly to turn out beautifully.

Here are all my cut and interface fused pieces.
First I needed to thread my sewing machine and fill a bobbin. Be sure to cut off the little tail after filling your bobbin, it could get tangled in the bobbin casing.
I wanted to go ahead and get the strap done. First step was to pin the open edge. Remember, last week when we fused the fleece we pressed the edges to the center and folded in half. Now I pinned the open edge. When pinning think about how it will run through the sewing machine and put the pinheads toward you so they can easily be pulled out as you sew.
This will be an edge stitch that will close the open edge. It's the same as a topstitch. I like to use a little longer stitch for topstitching. My regular stitch is usually about 2.2 - 2.5 but for topstitching with cotton, especially with fleece interfacing, I like 3.0. In case you didn't know, the number represent millimeters. So in this case my stitch will be 3 millimeters long.
This is the first side I topstitched. I used my satin stitch foot to help guide the edge so it would be straight. To learn this technique, go to this post - My Secret To Straight A Topstitch
If you don't have a satin stitch foot, you can still use your regular foot to help you stitch straight. I did the other side of the strap using this technique. First move your needle all the way to the right. On my machine the needle will move 7 millimeters with 0 being all the way to the left, 3.5 being the middle, and 7 being all the way to the right. So I set my needle to 7.0. As you can see the stitch length is still set to 3.0 for topstitching.
Here's a view of the needle, it's a little blurry but you can still see it's all the way to the right. Now I will align the edge of the fabric with the edge of the foot to help me go straight. It's not as narrow a line as using the satin foot but it still looks really nice.

Here it shows that the width of the topstitching from the edge is a little different. On the left you see the method where the needle is shifted to the right. On the right I used the method with the satin stitch foot.

Now I'm going to gather the ruffle. I changed my stitch size to the longest. My machine only goes to 5.0 but some go longer. The needle is back in the middle but if you like you can leave it to the right and use the edge of the fabric along the edge of the foot for your first row. I'm using my satin stitch foot again, I just like it.

Leave a long tail at both ends of your stitching and do not back-tack. The instructions show you how to make two rows of stitching and do not let them cross or touch each other - and stay inside the 1/2" seam allowance close to the edge.
Here you can see there will be two threads on the top and two on the bottom. I usually use the bobbin threads, grab them and pull gently pulling the fabric to make the ruffle. I normally do about half and then start on the other end. Be sure to pull the same two threads on the other end. Do not cut these threads until the ruffle is sewn onto the top band.
After you pull and gather, you might have some fraying. I usually just cut it off.
Now attach the ruffle to the right side of the top band. This might take some adjusting of the gathers either gathering more to make the piece shorter or letting out some of the gathers to make the ruffle longer. This is why we didn't cut the threads you used to gather.
Start and stop 1/2" from the edge.
Then sew it to the top band. I usually just sew over the gathering lines. You can remove the gathering lines if you like, I don't bother, no one will see them when you're finished.
Here I'm cutting off the extra fleece. The fleece never matches the cut fabric piece exactly. It's best to trim it off so it doesn't skew your seam allowances.
Now it's time to sew the top band and main body pieces together. You will be sewing two curves that don't match. First find the middle of each piece by folding it in half and marking the middle with a pin.
Close-up of the middle marked with a pin.
Here's the middle of the top band marked with a pin.
Here I'm matching the top edge of the main body with the bottom edge of the top band. Match starting in the middle, where you marked the middle with pins. Right sides together.
Follow the pattern instructions closely. Match the edges manipulating the curves. I did a post on this, if you need more info read this - Sewing A Curve
I use lots of pins and I sew right over them. If you don't like sewing over pins, just remove them as you sew but it's kind of difficult as you have to manipulate the fabric somewhat and having the pins hold it is a great help.  I find the newer electronic sewing machines don't like to sew over pins as they are so precise. The older machines will move over the pins much better. If you happen to hit a pin, finish the seam if possible. However, if it feels like you're snagging the fabric, just stop and change your needle. Fine fabrics don't tolerate a needle that has a dull point, but cotton will usually hold up until you finish the seam you're working on.

Clip the curves. Here I'm using my brand new fine clipping scissors that normally clip right to the tip but this seam is so thick it didn't work. I had to clip at a higher point of the scissors. I was bummed because this is why I bought the scissors and they weren't cheap. Oh well, they work on on a normal seam with just two layers of fabric. Clip as close to the seam as possible without clipping through it.
Here's a pic. Next topstitch on the main body piece about 1/8" from the seam just under the ruffle. Again I used my satin stitch foot to help keep the stitching straight.
Here I'm trimming off the fleece again. These are the pieces that will be the backside.
My fleece scraps after the trimming. Then I sewed the top band and main body piece for the backside. I also topstitched on the main body piece at the seam. Don't accidently sew the topstitching on the top band, I almost did that, I'm glad I caught myself.
Now we're going to sew the side seams. Pin the ruffle out of the way. You don't want it to get caught in the seam.

At the side seam when pinning, match the seams at the main body and top band first. If the seam doesn't run even it will really look homemade. I find a pin right in the seam will hold it fairly well. If the top and bottom edges don't match, don't worry, you can trim it. You see in the next pic, mine didn't match, so I just trimmed it off.
See, my bottom edge didn't match after I sewed the side seams. Just trim it off. It's more important for the that topband/main body seam to run straight through the side seam like in the pic above.
Sew the bottom seam. I forgot to iron my side seams open but that's okay, I did it later. The corner in the pic will be cut off anyway.
Now we're going to make the bottom. Put your hand in the bag and stick your finger in the corner.
Then flatten the corner with the side seam and bottom seam touching.
While holding the outside, look inside and adjust the fabric to make the side seam and bottom seam match perfectly. Then hold tight on the fleece side.
Without letting the seams slip, pin across like the picture, this is where your seam will go. But you want to be sure the side seam and bottom seam line up, so check the inside again.
Now pin the seams open over the first pin. You will sew over these pins as they are perpendicular to the seam you will sew.  Remove the first pin.
Now take your ruler and put the 2" mark on the seam. Move the ruler until zero is on one folded edge and the 4" mark is on the other but be sure the 2" mark stays on the seam. Draw a line. You can use an ink pin, this will be inside the lining and never seen.
Okay, now this is a little different than the directions. After doing this multiple times, I've found this method is easier. move your stitch length to basting - 5.0 or 6.0. Sew along your line but ONLY over the seam.
Pull your pins and check the inside to be sure your seams match. As you can see, mine didn't. Now, since it's only a short basting stitch, it can be easily removed and done again until you get it right.
Now it's right and I can sew it 'for real'. I sewed along the line I drew back-tacking at start and stop. Then I sewed over it again as it needs to be strong. Do both corners. Then trim away the corner about 1/4" from the seam.
Lastly I went ahead and sewed on the strap centering it on the side seam.
Just showing you here how it's centered on the side seam.
After I sewed both sides I realized I wanted the side of the strap that shows it was joined on the inside. See how you can see the seam on this side? I wanted that on the side that will lay on my shoulder. So I removed it and put it on so the other side faced up or out.
Basically, the good side goes against the right side or outside of the bag. Then sew it in place along the raw edge.
Done! It actually took me longer to edit the pics and write these instructions than it did to do the sewing. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to make a comment.

 Happy sewing! Until later ~

Reba

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