Friday, January 23, 2015

Blag-a-Bag: Using Patterns

Normally when I post a Blag-a-Bag, it's something that I've designed myself, or based off of a design that I've seen. This week is a little different, however: I figured it was time I followed a pattern.

It's been a while since I've made a bag using a formal pattern, and I was hoping to get some useful tips that I either had forgotten or never thought about myself.

I used McCall's MP360, which has been in my stockpile for a while. Given that the bag has one size only, I decided to do something else I haven't done in a while: cut the pattern pieces right out of the tissue, instead of tracing them. Shocking, I know!

Four things I learned from this pattern:

1. Adding a facing makes it look super professional.

Usually I just attach the lining at the top, but this easy extra step makes a big difference.

2. Using different pattern pieces for the lining can reduce bulk!

Normally I cut the lining from the same pattern pieces, but have had issues with the lining seam allowance adding extra bulk to the lines of the purse. This lining was simpler to make, and the seams were in the centres instead of the sides.

3. Clip the corners of the side/bottom bands before sewing, instead of wrestling with the fabric!

I haven't been able to get great corners on my bags, but I think that's because I haven't been clipping the fabric before sewing. This seems counter intuitive to me, since I always snip after, but it actually makes a lot of sense. It gives me the extra space to sew the seams properly, and more visibility while maneuvering around the needle.

4. Tack on decorations to keep them in place.

One of the biggest mysteries about this purse was how to get the bow looking as amazing as the pattern example. There's some really interesting bow construction going on with just the pattern piece alone, but the best ah-ha moments with this was reading the instructions about sewing the bow into place. When done correctly and with proper placement, these extra stitches are invisible during every day use, and the bow magically stays in place.

The end result was a little small for my tastes, but it looks gorgeous! Bonus: everything except the interfacing and lining fabric is all upcycled.

Happy sewing!

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