Tuesday 6 November 2012

Sudha's Chevron Tote QAL - Part 2

(This is part 2 of the  Chevron Tote QAL presented by very talented Sudha. In Part 1, she teaches us how to make the chevrons from striped fabric.)

Alrighty. So I guess and hope you guys are ready for the Part 2 of the tote, what with one monthly challenge down. Ok.


-Use a sturdy Needle, because with the canvas it can get a bit bulky at the seams. I use a Number 18 when i sew bags.
-The key to getting the bag professional looking is Ironing the seams every time you sew. I cannot stress this point enough. Its a pain to shuttle between the sewing table and ironing board, but trust me, you will see a very neat finish if you follow this tip deligently. So remember SEW – IRON - SEW.
-Topstitch whenever mentioned.
-RS = Right Side WS = Wrong Side

Now my client wanted more of the Chev pattern than the panel. For that you can follow the measurements under the CUTTING header.

For people who do not want a panel at all, you should have your main fabrics the size of 20”X20” for a bag this size.

If you want more of the panel, then your panel pieces should measure 20X9” and you main should be 20X11.5” (including the seam allowance)

Lets get Toting:

So what I have is a 20”X15” Chevron fabric ready.

-Chevron for the front – 20”X15”
-Original Stripes for the back – 20”X15”
-Cut 2 pieces of Co-ordinating fabric for below panel (front and back) – 20”X6”
-Cut 2 pieces of Lining fabric (you can use the same fabric as the one you use for the panel or a third fabric) – 20”X20”

I was working with scraps for the lining, so don't get worried seeing panel pieces against my lining. My client wanted the same ditto piece I had made earlier.

-Canvas (bakram) – Cut 4 pieces for the outer and lining of the bag – 20”X20” (Its also called Interfacing in some places and bakram in our local markets. Lay your hands on the thickest canvas that you can find. Stress to the shopkeeper on the iron-on canvas, makes life so much more easier.)

-Scraps of fabrics and canvas for Pockets.

-Leather for handles. Or for cheapos like me use Belts. And to be a seasoned cheapo like me – look out for them during sales. Do not buy the road side “3 for jesht 100 Rs. Vonly” belts. Invest on a gud sturdy ones. They fray within no time. Been there, done that.

At the Sewing machine:

Take your Chevvy piece and one panel piece. With RS together, sew along the longer side (20” side). Open and Press seam flat. Topstitch. Like so.

Topstitch -

Repeat the above with the back Stripes piece and panel piece.

Now your finished fabric will be about 20X20. If you like/want your tote in this size/shape then omit the ahead instructions. I dont like it. So. Fold in half, crease. Now I dont like a straight square shape, so I am going to give a slight cut along the raw edge side. When folded, my top edge is 10. Measure 8.5” in the bottom. Join the 10” with the 8.5” in a straight line, and cut. So now my front main piece will be 20” on the top, 17” on the bottom and the height is going to be 20”. Hope the pic below helps -

You could also do another variation to this. Make the top narrower than the bottom. That will be a fabulous pattern too. For that keep your top edge 15” and bottom edge 20”. If anyone follows it, please do let me know. Dont just follow my tute to the T. This pattern will be fab.

Repeat this step for the back main fabric piece and the 2 lining pieces.

At the Ironing Board:

Fuse the canvas to the prepared front and back main fabric pieces. Iron the shiny side of the Canvas to the WS of the fabrics. It will not easily fuse. Put pressure and hold on for a couple of seconds for the canvas to fuse/stick to the fabric. And watch out, the fabric is piping hot..!! :)

See the shiny side?

Fuse canvas to the lining fabric pieces in the same above manner.

Prepare the Pockets:

Take a scrap bit of 10.5”X12” (OK it doesnt sound like a scrap bit..!!)
Fuse it with canvas. If you are using heavy canvas then only fuse 10.5”X6”.

Fold the raw edges(12” side) in and fold in half so your pocket piece is now 10.5”X6”. Place it 10” below the top edge of one of your lining pieces and sew. Flip it to cover the raw edges, topstitch and sew the outer two seams. Sew in two more vertical lines to create sections. Hope the following pics help you out.

Your lining pieces are ready.

Back at the Sewing Table:

Take the two main outer fabric pieces. With the RS together, sew the three sides together (the two slant sides and the bottom 17” side). It will look like this

Take the two lining pieces and sew the three sides together. Leave about 3-4” opening on one of the sides. I will tell you why later. You could leave either at the sides or at the bottom.

Turn them inside out so the RS faces you. Take a walk upto your ironing board and give those seams a good iron. Press the seam flat. Yes I will keep repeating the ironing part.

Boxing the edges:

Now we have to create some booty to this beauty.!, you dont have to scurry around hunting for boxing gloves.(Cheap attempt at PJ at this juncture..i know..!!)

Take the main fabric piece that you have sewn, so that the WS faces you. Now pinch those bottom edge so it becomes a triangle. Take time, this is vital so all your seams look like in one strt line. Meaning your horizontal seam should match your vertical. Pics should do the talking.

Match up the the two triangle corners to form perfect flat base.

A look inside to show what i mean by matching seams.

See? The horizontal seam (ur base) and the vertical seam(the main Chevvy) are in one line. Now mark 5 – 6” on that triangle, like so -

Repeat on the other corner. And sew along that line. Re-inforce on that line. Sew around a couple of times, as a lot of pressure is on these points when you start using it to carry stuff.

Trim edges to reduce bulk.

Now turn it inside out to see how you bag looks :). Your are 3/4th way to finishing it.!

This is how fugly it looks when you try to turn it ulta.

And the exterior..!!!!

See how the seam looks like one straight line. That was what I was talking about when i was talking about boxing the corners.

Now repeat the same process for the lining, remembering to leave about 4” gap on one of the sides. Now turn your Main Exterior fabric and turn it so WS faces you. Slide in the lining such that the RS of the Main and Lining are facing each other.

Match the side seams to get a perfectly lined seam.

Remember to match the pocket lining piece with the back piece, lest you will have the pockets attached to the front side. Nothin wrong with it, but thats how all bags are me thinks. :)

Now, sew around the top edge all around. Maybe even twice to re-inforce. Now go have a shot or two of Tequila, you will need it. This next step is the hardest part of the whole bag-making. Harder even than sewing. And I hope you took my suggestion and left that gap on the lining, else you are so so dead baby..!! :) Now from that gap turn the whole bag inside out. Do take my advice and down a shot. For non-drinkers, a bottle of Benedryl so should do the trick. :D

Start pulling out from that gap we left in the lining. Its a hard task, took me almost half an hour of swearing and cussing.! It will look a mess, pay no heed to that. You are going the right track.

Take a break after you are done. I came back to it only the next day, I was so done with it. Imagine I have 6 such bags to do. There that should make life easier for you. :) After all that pulling and reversing, you end up with this -

Iron that baby flat. Go slow and nice. Remove all that crease. Topstitch along the top edge so the lining stays in place. And you and I end up with THIS:

Yay...Congratualtions..!!!Naaicee..!!! Now take a belt, snap the edges, fold in half and cut into two equal pieces. That will be your straps. Now go onto the street and find that local chappla wala and ask him to rivet it. Two on either side in the front and two on the back. So that's 4 in the front and 4 in the back. I am heading out to my local mochi and getting it done. For those in the West, I think you can buy the rivet set available at your craft stores or find people who own one. And those who altogether want to skip leather straps, sew on fabric straps. Please to let me know if you need tute on that, maybe I can help with a few links.

Hope I have been elaborate enough. If there is anything, any section that bothers you, then please give me a shout. Everyone knows I am always around. I dont know how, I do manage to get a lot of work done and still hang around online. So here's hoping you all try it out. This is also the basic technique of making any bag and not just a Chevvy Tote. Pls do try out this tute and let me know. Its my first ever tute, and I am as nervous as you are in attempting it. Oh you arent nervous??.!!

Cheers, Happy Toteing.


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