Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tutorial: The Finch Saddle Bag

As promised: a tutorial to make your very own Finch Saddle Bag. The pattern comes without any instructions, so I thought it would be welcome for beginners amongst us to write a little how-to. The descriptions with pictures below is how I made it. Is it possible to improve my way of constructing this? Always. But that doesn't mean it wasn't fun to make!

To start off, you'll need to cut all the pieces out. I decided to make the outside out of fake leather and the inside with a cotton fabric I liked. Both fabrics were already in my stash from previous projects. To make the Lining a bit sturdier, I used fusible interfacing (Vlieseline 250) for pattern pieces A(2x), D and E'. If your outside fabric isn't sturdy enough, my advice is to use this interfacing on pattern pieces A through G.

Preparation: fuse the interfacings onto the necessary fabric pieces.

Take pieces E and E' (lining and outside fabric of flap) and put them with their right sides together. At 1 cm (3/8") sew them together, leaving the top open.

Before we turn the flap right side out, we need to clip in at the curves to prevent bulk. Be careful not to clip your stitchline! This'll result in a (little) hole and possible it'll unravel over time.

Turn the flap right side out and press flat. Pressing (not ironing!) is an important part of sewing. It influences how your finished product will look: neat or a bit scrappy. When working with fake leather or a fabric that is heatsensitive, use an ironing cloth between the iron and fabric. This way your iron won't damage the fabric. Now is also a good time to place the first part of your closure of choice.

Topstitch the sides for a neat finish. It's better to stitch slowly, because these stitches will be visible and a wonky line isn't really appealing to the eye. Place the flap to the side for later.

Now it's time to make the lining of the bag. Take piece A and aline with piece D'. It'll take a bit of fiddling around with the fabric, but I promise it'll work. After sewing piece A to piece D', you do the same thing with piece A'. The fiddling'll be a bit harder, but still manageable

Pin piece A to D'

Sew piece A to D'

Trim the seam allowence to 0,5cm to reduce bulk.
Take back the flap. We'll be constructing the back panel. Place piece C right side up and place the flap right on top, with the outer fabric down. Now take piece B and place it on top of the flap, right side down. The flap is sandwiched between C and B. Stitch.

Press the back panel with the flap upwards. Topstitch the seam.

The construction of the outer body is the same as the lining: sew front and back panel to piece D. Trim seam allowance to prevent bulk if necessary. Turn right side out and put the second part of the closure in..

Time to get started on the shoulderband. The pattern comes with an extra piece (F) to place a shackle. I didn't do this, because I thought it was unnecessary for what I had in mind. You can still do this by following the steps below.

Fold piece G in half, right sides together. Sew the side seam only and turn right side out. Press. Topstitch the sides. If you want, you can add some parallel stitching lines. I decided to incorporate these lines to prevent stretching. With a cotton (interfaced) band, you don't have to do this, but it is a nice touch.

If you're using piece F, now's the time to place the shackle. Fold F in half, sew and add the shackle to the middle. Fold again so the fabric holds the shackle. Sew a line right underneath, so the shackle won't move around. Fold one end of piece G around the shackle and secure in place by sewing right underneath the shackle. Pieces F and G are sewn together. Do the same for the other side of G and the second F. Now you can use this shoulder strap as piece G in the following steps.

Fold 3cm at the end of G to the inside. Position the end at the same level as the seam of the back panel (view picture below). Sew a box and a cross (see second picture below). The cross will make sure that your strap is tightly secured to the body.

Almost done! Right now, you have 2 bags: an outer bag with the right side out and an inner bag with the right side in. Put the outer bag inside the inner bag. Be sure to tuck the shoulder band in so you won't be sewing across it.

Pin the sides together, aligning the seams. Leave about 15cm open at the back panel. This way you'll be able to turn the bag right side out. The picture below illustrates the gap, indicated by 2x 2 pins close to each other. This is my technique to remember to stop sewing.

Carefully turn the bag right side out through the opening you just created. It's not easy and will take some time, but it is possible.

Last but not least: push the corners of the lining as best as you can against the outer bag. Now all we need to do is sew the opening close. There are 2 ways to do this: you can opt to handsew the opening close with an invisible stitch. Or you can close this by topstitching around, as I did. The latter will give your bag a neater and more professional looking finish when done right. Again: sew slow! The bulk at the seams can be a bit of a challenge, depending on your fabrics.

Tadaaaaaaaa! Your bag is ready to be worn with your fabulous, handmade clothes! Have fun!

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