Thursday, May 30, 2019

boxy tool pouch (new pdf pattern)

Hello, welcome everyone!

I have a new pattern to share with you today :)

This Boxy Tool Pouch has been on my mind for way too long and it feels fantastic to have the pattern all finished. What do you think?

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS: (tall x wide x deep) 
SMALL – 2'' x 5'' x 2 ½''
MEDIUM - 2 ½'' x 6 ½'' x 3''
LARGE - 3'' x 8'' x 4''

I am quite a fan of boxy pouches (especially when they come in different sized) and have already been using quite a few of them daily.

Just like many of you, I don't like seeing any exposed or raw edges when I make my pouches. So, after doing a bit of  testing of different techniques, I decided adding fabric binding to finish inner edges was the way to go. This technique makes for a pretty easy pouch assembly and bound edges add extra stability and structure to a finished pouch, definitely a win - win.

See? I love how beautifully boxy they are :)

This middle size is absolutely perfect as a pencil pouch or make up bag.

I think the handle makes these cuties super practical.

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This is a measure and cut pattern, no templates needed!

MATERIALS NEEDED (for large size):
fabric A (pouch exterior) – 1 FQ
fabric B (pouch lining) – 1 FQ
fabric C (pull handle) - 3'' x 7'' strip
SF 101 interfacing (or similar medium weight fusible interfacing) – 1/2 yard
one - 11'' long metal or nylon zipper
(7'' long zipper for small size, 9'' long zipper for medium size)
one - 1/2'' - 3/4'' wide x 2'' long ribbon
one zipper pull - I used a 6'' long 1/8” wide leather lace (optional)

rotary cutter, self healing cutting mat, acrylic ruler
wonder clips and/or pins
sharp fabric scissors
zipper foot for your sewing machine (optional)

I used metal zippers (purchased from Zipit on Etsy) for my pouches but you can definitely go with nylon ones if that's what you prefer/ have on hand.

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What do you say? Would you like to make some Boxy Tool Pouches of your own?

You can purchase Boxy Tool Pouch pattern by clicking on the button below, or by going to my Etsy shop (click here). 

And, now through Saturday (6-1), you can take advantage of an introductory price (25% discount, no coupon needed).

buy this pattern 

Happy sewing friends. Svetlana

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Finley Tote sew - along (week 4: final assembly)

Hello friends, how are your Finley Totes coming along? I hope you're having fun and are excited to have your lovely totes finished soon :)

This week we're going to tackle final bag assembly and add hardware to our adjustable straps. Pretty easy, isn't it?

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Follow Step 16 in your pattern for final bag assembly. And, as always, take your time lining things up, use a good amount of sewing clips to ensure all layers stay in place, and let the machine do the work, don't pull or tug at your bag as you sew.

Once your tote bag is finished give it a good press. I usually use iron on cotton setting and plenty of steam.

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All that's left to do now is add hardware to our straps. 

I used these lovely swivel hooks and strap slider in nickel finish to match the rest of my hardware as well as zippers. You can purchase this hardware + many others here.

Now, I know making an adjustable strap might seem a bit intimidating if you've never done it before, so take things slow, and read all the directions carefully. I'd suggest you use sewing clips to hold everything in place, check to make sure hardware is added correctly, and only then go ahead and stitch everything in place. You can also use rivets instead of stitching like I did for the straps in photos above.

You don't have to use rivets, of course. But if you do decide to add them to your straps you'll need a few basic tools - leather hole punch, rivets (my favorite are double cap 6-8 mm rivets), rivet setting tool, and mallet.

And, check out this tutorial if you need help setting your rivets.

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I had a blast working on my Finley Tote together with you all. Thank you for joining me friends.

Please share your finished totes on IG using #finleytotesewalong.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Finley Tote sew - along (week 3: lining)

Happy Wednesday to you all!

Welcome back to week 3 of Finley Tote sew - along. I hope you had tons of fun working on the exterior of your totes last week.

This week we'll work on adding two kinds of pockets to our linings and add the main zipper closure. Ready? Let's start :)

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I am a huge fan of pockets and usually add at least one zipper pocket and one slip pocket to my bag lining. You can, however, mix things up a bit if you wish and add just one kind of a pocket or none at all. It's totally up to you and what your needs are.

Here are a few tips you might find helpful when adding your zipper pocket:

- it's very, very important to measure everything correctly as no one wants to end up with a crooked pocket. I find it very useful to line my panel and pocket lining up on a cutting mat and use the lines on the mat to help with ensuring everything is placed perfectly.

- precise cutting is also very important. To cut along the middle line of the pocket, I first make a few inch cut along the line using ruler and rotary cutter and then finish cutting using my very sharp fabric scissors. Make sure though NOT  to cut into any of your stitches. You want to come as close to your stitches as possible without cutting into them.

- I like to do a few back and forth stitches along zipper tape on open end of zipper and add a bit of regular glue within seam allowance to help zipper stay in place as this makes for an easier assembly. You could, of course, use pins only to keep zipper in place but I find glue makes things just a tiny bit easier for me.

- And, once again, I have a quick video on IG showing how I add zipper to my pocket if you're interested. Just click here.

The wonderful thing about these pockets is that once you learn how to install them you can add them to pretty much any bag or pouch you wish :)

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Now go ahead and follow directions in Step 12 to add a pleated slip pocket to your second lining panel.

I must say, this is the first time I added pleats to my slip pockets and I absolutely love how handy and roomy they are.

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Time to work on adding main closure. If you decide to go with zipper closure like I did, just go ahead and follow directions in Steps 13 and 14 in your patterns.

You can, however, skip adding zipper and do a simple magnetic snap closure instead.

If you do decide to go with magnetic snaps, simply attach lining facing to main lining using 1/4'' SA, press seam towards facing and topstitch using 1/8'' SA.

Fold lining in half, pinch gently to mark the middle of the panel as shown in photo above, and use magnetic snap's washer to mark the snap's placement 3/4'' above the seam. Cut through two marked lines and add magnetic snap closure to both facings.

All you need to do then is proceed with lining assembly the same way you would if you added a zipper (Step 15 in your pattern).

This is where we stop for this week. Not bad, right? We're quite close to having our totes finished :)

Any questions? Leave them in comments below.

Oh, and don't forget to share your progress photos with us all on IG using #finleytotesewalong.

Happy sewing all . Svetlana

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Finley Tote sew - along (week 2: bag exterior)

Welcome to week two of our Finley Tote sew - along.

How did all the prep work go? And how about sewing up your handles and straps? All ready for our next steps?

This week we'll be installing an exterior zipper pocket as well as doing the exterior assembly. We'll be working through Steps 5 - 9 of the pattern.

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If you haven't subcut your front exterior panel already do so now (follow Step 5A on page 5 of  your pattern). 

Here are a few tips you might find helpful before you start working on your exterior zipper pocket:

- read all the directions carefully before you start sewing

- sew slow, take your time to line things up, press and trim as you go for best final results. And, as always, measure twice, cut once.

- if you do make a mistake, which totally happens to all of us, pull out your seam ripper and fix the mistake right away. I always recommend fixing crooked, skipped, uneven stitches rather plowing through and being unhappy with the finished bag later.

- I don't use a zipper foot to install my zipper pocket as my Juki standard presser foot is pretty slim and it gives me a perfect scant 1/4'' SA (seam allowance) needed. If, however, your machine's presser foot is too wide or you just prefer using zipper foot to install zippers definitely use one.

- we're all familiar with 1/4'' SA right? Well, scant 1/4'' SA is just a tiny bit less than 1/4'' (about 1/16'' less). I use scant 1/4'' SA for attaching my zippers.

- last but definitely not least, always move zipper pull out of the way when stitching around it to ensure that your stitch line stays all neat and straight.

If you'd like a bit more help you can watch this video I recorded a little while back installing the same zipper pocket, just on a smaller scale.

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Enough talking, time to sew :) 

Follow Steps 5 and 6 to install exterior zipper pocket as well as add a contrasting exterior bottom to your zipper pocket panel. 

Here's my finished front exterior panel. As you can see I decided to use the same fabric for my whole bag so my bottom panel is the same fabric as the rest of the exterior panel.

And here's what my panel looks like on the wrong side.

All we need to do now is assemble back exterior panel by adding bottom panel to the main one (Step 7) and then following Step 8 for exterior assembly. Should be easy :)

Oh, and let's not forget to attach handles and D-ring tabs. I'm using leather handles as I really, really love the look  and I'm super excited to see how it all is coming together.

I hope you'll share your progress photos with us all by using #finleytotesewalong on Instagram.

Any questions? Leave them in comments below.

See you next week when we'll work on our Lining Panels. 

Happy sewing. Svetlana

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Finley Tote sew - along (cutting + strap and handles)

Hello lovelies, so glad you're here.

Are you ready to start making your Finley Totes? I definitely am.

This week is mostly about doing all the necessary prep work (cutting out all the fabric panels and fusing interfacing). There will be some sewing though too, as we'll also be making our handles and a strap. Should be fun :)

And, in case you're new here and would like to join us you can purchase the pattern here and read all about materials and supplies here.

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I will be using Merchant and Mills Dry Oilskin for the exterior of my tote and striped cotton for the lining. I really love how well these two fabrics look together and oilskin exterior will be perfect for our unpredictable Dutch weather. What fabrics have you chosen?

By the way, you can share all your fabric choices as well as progress photos on IG using #finleytotesewalong.

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Now remember, this is a measure and cut pattern meaning there's no need for printing any templates as we do all the cutting using ruler, rotary cutter, and self-healing cutting mat.

All the cutting measurements are provided on page 3 of your pattern. Please make sure to label your panels as you cut to prevent any confusion during construction (you can find labels on page 15 of your pattern).

You have a few options when it comes to cutting your fabric A exterior front panel.

You can either use the same fabric for the whole main exterior of your tote and follow the directions as described in the pattern. You will cut one piece of fabric A front panel, interface it, and then subcut it into four different panels as directed in step 5A. 

Or, you can decide to change the direction of you print like I did for this Finley Tote. This layout works great for striped prints.

Another option is to use a focal print for your pocket and frame it using some neutral fabric like I did here. It's a perfect way to showcase your favorite print. This way you can use bold print but not overwhelm the bag.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you do decide to go with alternative layouts, just remember to skip cutting front exterior panel from fabric A as directed in cutting instructions and use panel measurements in Step 5A on page 5 for your cutting measurements. You'll be cutting each of your four (A,B, C, and D) panels separately. Pay attention to width and height of your panels so they each end up in the direction you wish them to go. (the same goes for interfacing meaning if you cut your main panel using instructions in Step 5A, cut your interfacing using the same measurements)

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Once all the cutting is done it's time to do a bit more prep work. Follow Step 2 on page 3 of your pattern to adhere interfacing to all the corresponding panels. Follow manufacturer's directions and take your time with this step as you want to make sure all the interfacing is adhered evenly, no puckers of bubbles as that would affect the finished look of your bag.

I found this and this very useful article on interfacing in case you need a bit more help.

Please note no interfacing is fused to your strap fabric at this point as that will be added once the strips are sewn together.

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We have one more thing to tackle this week -  follow directions in Steps 3 and 4 on how make the strap, handles and D-ring tabs.

I've made my share of fabric handles and straps and wanted to share a few helpful tips:
- I like to use sewing clips to hold the open edges of my strips together, they are super strong and keep all the layers neatly in place

- Use a slightly longer stitch (I normally use 2.5 for regular sewing and 3 for topstitching).

- Use good quality thread. I usually use coordinating thread for my sewing as I like the thread to sort of  "disappear" into my project. I find this way I don't have to stress so much if some stitches don't end up being perfectly straight and a little wobble sneaks in here and there. You could, of course, use a contrasting thread as it does add a lovely finishing touch to your strap and handles, but beware that all the little mistakes are going to be quite visible.

- Hold both top and bobbin thread with your fingers as you start topstitching - this will prevent any knots from forming on the underside of your handle.

- Let the machine do most of the work. Your hands are there to guide the strap/ handle, no pulling or tugging.

- Don't sew too fast or too slow. Find the speed that works for you and be consistent.

- Make sure your needle is in the down position every time you stop.

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Oh, and I posted a quick little video on making a handle to my Instagram in case you're interested. Just click here.

I think that's it for this week. Please leave any questions or suggestions in comments below.

Happy sewing everyone! Svetlana

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