Saturday, 5 April 2014

Hunt For A Good Deal With This!

FRONT of Tote showing Tiger in the Tropical Print
I feel like I must, surely, have earned my stripes with this latest creation! I made it for my Mum who really liked the tropical print and coordinating-contrast fabric in citrus I picked to go with it, (shown within the "Material Girl" page of this blog).

BACK of Tote showing Tiger on the reverse
This "beast of a bag" idea started out as a simple tote design, then morphed into something a bit more elaborate; partly because the fat quarter wasn't quite large enough for what I had in mind.

Then, another complication occurred: originally, I thought it was a random tropical print, until I took it out of the plastic sleeve and unfolded it... Behold! A lovely tiger motif appeared! As the print direction became apparent, I had to alter my plans in order to accommodate this surprise: I had to cut the fat quarter in half, then arrange the halves so the print wouldn't be upside down on one side of the bag.

Because the cotton is so light, I used a 70/10 machine needle, and double hemmed all four edges, before splicing together the two halves.  Right sides facing, I sewed around three edges, making sure the pattern on both sides was the right way up!

Boxed Bottom Diagram
 At this point, I added the boxed-bottom to the bottom seam: taking each bottom corner and pulling it out to form a triangle.  The tip of the triangle and the bottom seam should be centred with each other, as shown in my quickly-pencilled diagram to the left...When adding boxed bottoms, I want to be sure that the length is the same on both sides, so that the boxed bottoms will be even and match on both sides I can't give my mum a wonky bag! I can't! I can't! I can't! Oh. Where was I? [Ahem] Ah, yes...

SIDE view of Tote showing Box-Style Bottom
After a much-needed Double Choca Mocha, I turned the outer bag right-side out, and added some bias binding to give the edges a little more substance for joining the heavier material to it later.  For now, I set the exterior piece aside.

[I used half-inch seam allowance on all pieces.  Where I double-hemmed, the fabric was folded at 1/4-inch to equal 1/2-inch when ironed, then sewn.]

I decided to use the plain, heavier cotton fat quarter for the lining to give it a bit of body and durability - my material reminded me of a high-quality, heavy cotton, serviette.  I really liked how the bright citrus-colour made the rest of the print POP! Not least of which, light and very dark colours show dirt too quickly; plus, I think it's easier to find things inside a bag with a bright interior.

I double-hemmed all four edges using a 90-14 machine needle this time; then, folded the fabric in half and sewed around three edges to create the interior lining of the tote.  The interior lining piece is a bit taller than the main, outer body.  I fitted the lining inside the outer shell, and folded the excess top edge over and around the top of the outside fabric - that trick keeps "unsightly" bias binding stitches hidden! I pinned it in place, and even all the way around, (making sure that the bias binding did not show).  Then, I added the boxed bottom as described above.  Next, I set it aside - I needed another Mocha, anyway.

Because I couldn't find the right colour webbing for the handles on my new, favourite Tuesday-market stall (Haberdashery), I chose broad, sturdy elastic, (I think!), with a bit of a pattern on one side - the bit of elasticity in the handles has just enough "give" to work well; especially if bulky, or heavier, items are in the bag.

FULL VIEW showing General Construction of Tote
I folded each piece of broad elastic in half, right-sides facing, to make a large loop; then, sewed the ends using a 110/18 machine needle.  Then,  I turned the handles right-side out.  I measured and pinned where I wanted both of the handles sewn onto the tote.  I matched up the end-joining seams of both handles with the bottom seam of the bag to hide them from sight.  Next, I stitched the handles onto where the lining material is folded over the top of the bag  -  I thought it would not look nice for them to be attached over the top of the woven-textured upholstery material.  Also, I hand-sewed a couple of holding stitches at the bottom, to help hold the straps at the base of the tote.

The textured, upholstery-like material is a remnant.  The shape wasn't ideal for what I initially wanted, so I got resourceful.  I folded it in half length-ways, pinned it right-sides together, then sewed along the long edge using a zig-zag stitch with a 110/18 machine needle.  It wasn't quite long enough to reach around the circumference of the top of the bag, so I had to attach extra pieces on both ends, (hence, the decorative ribbon to hide the stitching!).  I turned the open-ended tube right-side out, and sewed the ends closed.  This became the decorative top of the bag, which adds a little more height and roominess.

This part was sewn on very carefully using a zig-zag stitch.  I made sure that 1/2-inch of the interior lining showed all the way around underneath the upholstery material, partly to add a little more height to the bag.

The seam along the length of the fabric was hidden on its underside.

Where it was too bulky to fit under my sewing machine, the gaps were slip-stitched closed by hand.

Tropical Tiger Tote In Action
I was thrilled to find Tiger Face Buttons (.60p. each) on the Haberdashery market stall! I LOVE tigers! The perfect touch of fierceness to my "Tropical Tiger Tote"!

Lastly, I hand-sewed the finishing touches of ribbons and the Tiger Face Button.

With this tote in-hand, my Mum will be ready to take on the world! Okay.  Maybe just a shopping trip, then.  At least now, she can

Hunt For A Good Deal With This!

Oh! Oh! Wait! Wait! Here's a BONUS BIT! I just made the matching Tropical Tiger Drawstring Pouch [pictures below]:

Tropical Tiger Drawstring Pouch
CLOSE-UP of Tropical Tiger Material

Showing Ribbon and Red Wooden Bead Closure

CLOSE-UP of Detail

Tropical Tiger Tote with Drawstring Pouch

Tropical Tiger Tote with Drawstring Pouch

Tropical Tiger Tote with Drawstring Pouch