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