After two trips to Jo-Ann’s and still no fusible fleece I decided to do without! If I’d had all my supplies in the first go around I could have finished this in a day but it would have taken all day.
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Overall Quality of Pattern: Great! I’m very much a beginner and I was able to master all the skills using the instructions given and one google search on the pleats. The pattern includes full size pieces (always a plus) and clear and concise instructions. She also includes a glossary of terms as they relate to the pattern which is especially nice for beginners.
What I Used:
- 2 yards of Kona Cotton Khaki as the outer fabric
- 2 yards of Kona Cotton Khaki as the lining fabric
- 2 yards of Carolina Chambray Pacifica for the outer band and handle
- 1/4 yard of Alexander Henry Blakely Pool Stripe for the inner band and appliqued leaves
- 1/4 yard of Alexander Henry Blakely Pool for the appliqued flowers
- 2 spools of thread one in a dark aqua and one in a khaki
- 3 1/2 yards Pellon SF 101
- 1/2 yard of 44 in wide Thermolam Plus (not the fusible kind)
I had leftovers of almost everything because the pattern only requires 1 1/8 yards of the various fabrics.
The patterned called for a couple things I didn’t use:
- Scotch Tape
- Tracing Paper
- Pressing Ham
Step 1 is cutting all your pattern pieces, this is easier if you have large cutting scissors and not the little craft ones I have on hand.
Step 2 is cutting out your fabric and be warned this will take awhile!
The instructions call for tracing paper but I just used the paper templates and pinned them directly to the fabric. The pins hold the paper in place and can even keep those pesky corners from curling up.
I used 2 yard cuts of fabric so instead of folding as the instructions indicated I just made sure I cutting on the fold. I didn’t want to waste any fabric after all.
Most of the cuts I freehanded with my rotary cutter but when I cut a straight line I like to use my ruler as a guide. Because to be completely honest I’m not the best at cutting straight lines (or drawing them either but I promise I can walk them!)
Instead of using an all over print I decided to applique a floral design I cut out from a print to a solid background. I really like that it adds a pop of color without being too busy, plus it was super simple since I just cut the design out using my nice fabric scissors. (Mental note: the next time Jo-Ann’s is running a sale by nice paper scissors!)
A couple hours or more, depending on how fast and/or easily distracted you are, and you will end up with this.
Step 3 is applying the fusible interfacing and fleece.
Honestly I wish I hadn’t used the fusible interfacing on the main fabric. The natural drape of the cotton would have looked better without the interfacing. And the stuff was a pain. And the biggest pain was the fact that you are supposed to soak the interfacing (SF 101 Pellon) and then hang dry before using. Who knew? You can find some more tips here from Pink Chalk Studios.
I would keep the interfacing everywhere else and do two layers on both the inner and outer bands (the instructions only have the outer bands getting two layers.)
The regular Thermolam Fleece is a definite keeper as well although I wonder if I would have liked it as much if it was fusible as well. I could never find the fusible stuff and I was tired of waiting so I used the sew in kind and loved it. It added a nice body to the inner lining without being a pain like the fusible interfacing.
Step 4 is making and attaching your pockets.
Is was confusing to me that we don’t sew the bottom of the pocket closed right away but you end up sewing it closed when you attach it to the inner lining.
I used pins to mark the center of the inner lining and pockets and then lined them up with my ruler.
Before you sew the pocket on I recommend taking a step back and making sure it’s on straight. The first time around mine was a little askew from pinning. Luckily I noticed before I started to sew.
A lot of people have commented how large these pockets, and they are. The large pocket is almost as deep as the entire bag.
Step 5 Pleating.
This confused me, the little line drawings just didn’t help me, so I googled pleating and found a tutorial with pictures and then it clicked.
Step 6 is attaching the bands to the inner and outer panels.
Before you start I recommend referencing your pattern piece
So that you don’t sew your bands on upside down. If you do I can tell you the pattern will still work, the band will just look a little off. From a distance no one will notice (at least this is what I tell myself).
Just make sure you sew all the bands on the same way. I realized what I did wrong on the outer panels when I started the inner panel but at that point I could either rip out the wrong ones to make them right or keep them all uniformly wrong. I went the easy route.
Step 7 is attaching the inner and outer panels.
Step 8- Getting “Gussied” Up
The directions have been updated since the original version and are relatively easy to understand.
You need to mark your middle point and two outer points.
The draw a curved line connecting the three.
Sew along that line and take a minute to admire your skills at sewing curves :)
Cut the excess off leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
For the inner lining I had to use a fine tip marker to create my curve- it’s impossible or nearly so to use a pencil on it.
This is when I decided to applique my flowers onto the outer panel. I wanted to know how it would look with the pleats and gussets before I decided on the placement of the flowers. Visually this was a good idea but technique wise it was not. I couldn’t use my machine to do a zig zag stitch to attach the flowers with everything sewn together so I did it by hand and my hand sewing could use a little work. I decided to embrace my lack of skill and went with a simple straight stitch following the lines. Eventually it will fray on the edges but that’s okay.
Step 9 is making and attaching the handle.
Right now you are heading into the home stretch.
Step 10 Sewing the Inner and Outer Panels together.
So it seems counterintuitive that you would put the INNER lining over the OUTER lining.
But it works because eventually you will pull everything out through the hole you left in the bottom of your inner lining.
You didn’t forget to leave the hole like I did, did you? Oh well that’s what seam rippers are for.
A little top stitching and stitching in ditch (I thought you only did that in quilting) and you are ready to hit the town with your new bag.