Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Afternoon Sewing with Therese

Every now and again, Therese and I will escape for a bit of sewing.  Usually we work in parallel worlds but are pretty quiet.  This particular afternoon, we retreated to my sewing room where we explored the Fight Like a Girl fabric in the Flip Flap bags

A great feature on the Flip Flap bag are two secret pockets which are a perfect fit for a cell phone, notepad, etc.  With many bags I own, they have great pockets but many are so big that when I slip my cell phone in, I have to go digging.  The pocket on these bags are a perfect size that don’t require me reaching in up to my elbow to find the little ringing devil.

I’d made several of the Flip Flap Bags while on our recent retreat and got a kick out of putting them together.  Smart instructions and a good use of fabric made this a particularly fascinating little bag to make.  Normally, when I see something that advertises “fat quarter friendly”, I find that they don’t necessarily use a good amount of the fat quarter.  The other problem I often see in such patterns is that they deliver a very convoluted and home-made looking finish.  The Flip Flap bag delivers a really sharp finished bag. 
The Flip Flap bags I made on retreat were from some remaining Mary Engelbreit fat quarters that I had in my stash.  Lately, I have been working on those “I-love-it-too-much-to-use-it fabrics”.  Sometimes I have found that I have so few in a collection that they don’t work well with a quilt.  However, a smart little handbag like Flip Flap are perfect for a smaller number of fat quarters.  This one happens to use four fat quarters total.  Without any hardware (zippers or snaps), it is one that I didn’t have to shop for extra stuff.  I used my favorite stabilizer (for bags) in it and found these to be like a bag of my favorite snacks.
I picked up five half-yard cuts of the Wyndham Fight Like a Girl fabrics for Therese and myself.  We were able to make up three bags.  The third bag wasn’t exactly all of my choices for location of the fabrics, but it worked out fine for my taste. 

I love the Fight Like a Girl fabrics for this handbag because I think it is quite appropriate to be reminding women to participate in regular mammograms and participate in good practices for early detection of breast cancer.  What better way to do this than with a handbag?!  I  love this fabric collection for the handbags because it just simply looks classy with the pink with black.  The lettering pieces are some of my favorites but they just bring out the best in all the collection.

When I am making the handle for a bag like this, I typically will adhere the fusible stabilizer to the back of the handle.  Fold the handle in half lengthwise once.  Then I will fold each the left and right raw edge to the middle fold.  Now, I fold the whole strip with the two outer edges snug the middle and then folding it in half.  At this point, I will be stitching through four layers of fabric and four more layers of the stabilizer.  I really appreciate the power of my Bernina machine and my #10 edge-stitching foot. With the edge-stitching foot, I can run the center blade along the edge and my line of top-stitching will land in a good and straight line.  I am able to move my needle position to the left or the right as best fits my top-stitch choice.   Handles made in this manner are very sturdy and don’t tend to break down as fast as those filled with batting. 

I do tend to use a denim needle as it gives me great stitch performance on my top stitching.

A feature that Therese and I added was fun embellishing with pink buttons in a variety of sizes.  Using my new #18 foot with rubberized feet for holding the buttons, attaching them was a cinch.  I practiced an old technique of taping down the buttons with standard tape.  Then I just lifted and moved from one button to the other.  Were you aware that most buttons in the world have the same distance between the holes.  4mm is a standard regardless of the size of the button.  Using the button sew-on feature of your machine, you will find a great knotting system on your newer Bernina machines that will lock it off midway through the stitch out.  I think this is important because just tying off at the beginning and end of the button adhesion isn’t always enough.  Occasionally when I am sewing the buttons on, I will use an “x” on a four-hole button, just for kicks.
My collection of bags are on display in the store, and topics like this are regular features that we share at our monthly VIP sessions at the store.  I like to remind people of VIP because it is a good time to learn the tricks and secrets and ways to make life easier if you are a sewer.  Missed our recent events?  No worries.  I am on a roll with handbags and quilting these days.  I suspect you will continue to see some version of this for the next few months. Plus, my blog seems to be a good re-cap for those who attended VIP and Embroidery Secrets.

As I don’t get much chance to teach these days, I enjoy sharing fun things I am sewing on in this forum.  Therese and I sewed together the three purses in about three hours.  We actually intended to sew only two, but someone mis-sewed a piece.  Rather than take it out, we decided to set it aside.  Once set aside, it was easy to take all the leftovers (we had one full half yard we’d not used) and make the third purse.  So, if you look at it that way, we sewed the equivalent of one purse every hour.    That is how easy this bag is to sew.  Watch our June calendar for chance to learn the Flip Flap Bag.  If we could get three done in three hours, I’d like to think I could teach you to get one done in three hours.  
All the Best to You...Hope you find a little pink in your sewing collection....jill

1 comment:

Rachel said...

That is really cute! I love the extra buttons you put on the flap...