Friday, October 10, 2014

Swoon Amber Sewalong Day 2: Construct Exterior

Day 2: Today we will be constructing the entire exterior.

Take the 4 zipper tabs.  Fold one short edge under 1/2" and press well.  Repeat with the three other zipper tabs.  If you have directional fabric, remember to fold 2 tabs one the left side and 2 tabs on the right side.
Picture shows the WRONG side of the tabs.

Find Exterior 1.  Fold the bottom, long edge under 1/2" and press well. 

Need a handy dandy pressing guide?  Cruise over to Scientific Seamstress to print the one I use.

Exterior 2-fold and press top and bottom long edges at 1/2".

Exterior 3-Fold 1/2" and press the top edge only.

Move back to the zipper tabs.  Grab two and one of your front zippers.
Place one zipper tab at the end of your zipper.  The open end of the tab opening to the end of the zipper.  See below.

Top stitch along the fold, through the tab and the zipper

LARGE TOTE: measure 13" to the left of the zipper tab fold
SMALL TOTE: measure 9.75" to the left of the zipper tab fold.
Place the second zipper tab at that mark, the fold meeting at the correct distance.  Stitch along the zipper tab fold through the zipper.

Take the last two zipper tabs and other outside zipper.  Repeat same steps but with the following measurements.
Trim off excess zipper underneath the zipper tabs.

Find Exterior 1 and the shorter zipper you just made.  The bottom edge of Exterior 1 is folded under.  Place the folded edge 1/4" away from the zipper teeth.  Pin in place and edge stitch Exterior 1 to the zipper allowance.

Take Exterior 2.  The shorter of the long edges is pinned to the bottom of the zipper, 1/4" away from the teeth.  The two panels will be 1/2" away from each other.  Top stitch Exterior 2 to the zipper.

Same process for the next zipper.  Place the second zipper to bottom of Exterior 2 and top stitch 1/4" away from the zipper teeth.  Place Exterior 3 on the bottom side of the zipper, 1/4" away and edge stitch along the fold.

Take the other exterior panel and place one on top of the other, matching the bottom curve and darts.  If one of the panels is a bit longer, just trim the top of the longer panel.

Pocket pieces:
Find the large exterior pocket piece.  Pin a 12" (small tote) or 15.5" (large tote) side of the pocket piece, right side down, to the top of the top zipper. Pin the top of the zipper pocket to the zipper seam allowance.

A different view for you to see the zipper/panel seam allowance.

I like to pull the allowance down and stitch on the allowance side so that I don't accidentally sew through my panel.

Sew pocket piece to zipper seam allowance at 1/4".

Take the bottom of the pocket piece and pin to the bottom of the same zipper.

Stitch the bottom of the pocket piece to the bottom of the same zipper at 1/4".

Side view after sewing pocket. Sides of pockets are open.

Repeat the same steps for the second exterior pocket piece with but with the lower zipper.

Test out the pockets.  Make sure everything works.

Baste pocket panels down each side at 1/4" seam allowance to close and secure pocket pieces.

Set the main panels aside and find all 12 of the connector pieces.
Pin two connectors right sides together-one connector with interfacing and one without.  You will have 6 pairs.

With a short stitch (2.0) and using 1/2" seam allowance, stitch down one long edge, down one point, up the other point.  Stop sewing at the last long edge, backstitch.  See picture below.

Sew all 6 connector pairs like this.

Trim seam allowance of the edges you stitched.

Turn all the connectors right side out. Using your choice of pokermabob, poke out the corners.
Turn in the long open end and press well.

It will look as such.

Top stitch along all sides except top raw edge.
Repeat with the other 5 connectors.

Take one connector and fold the top raw edge down by about 1".

On 4 connectors, slip on a loop.  On the last 2 connectors, slip on an O-ring.
Sew one or two stitching lines as close to the hardware as possible, sewing through both layers of fabric.

Take one exterior panel and fold in half width wide, making a crease in the middle.  Place a loop connector 1.5" measuring from the top of the panel to the top of the fabric and 2.0" from the middle crease. Place a second connector on the other side of the crease.  Repeat for other main panel.
(The fabric is so busy, I had a hard time getting the numbers to show well.  I know this is a crappy photo.)

Sewing the darts

Fold the dart in half, matching the raw diagonal lines, right sides together.

 The darts are sewn with 1/4" seam allowance.  If you are new to sewing darts, then I recommend drawing a line 1/4" away from the diagonal line.  The top of the dart stitching line will be 1/4" above the top of the dart.

Start sewing the dart at the bottom, finishing at the top.
*Read next step before sewing dart*

When you get 1/4" away from the top edge of the fabric, change the stitch length to 1.0.  Sew the remainder 1/4" with a very short stitch. Sew right off the fabric.  DO NOT BACKSTITCH! Backstitching will create bulk at the top of the dart.  You want a nice smooth dart with no extra bulk in the seam.

 Here is the stitching.  You can see the top has very short stitches.  No need to tie the threads either; that creates bulk.  The short stitch will hold without tying the threads.  Leave the threads hanging as is.

 Press the dart to one side.  Turn to right side of fabric and press again, making sure you have a smooth transition at the top of the dart.  Repeat for all other exterior darts.

 Place the exterior panels right sides together. Match darts and pin panels together.  Measure and mark 4" from the top of the panel on both sides.  (see second picture below)

Sew around panels with 1/2" seam allowance stopping and starting at your 4" marks.  Remember to backstitch at each point. Trim seam allowance along stitching. DO NOT trim seam allowance in the unsewn 4" openings.

Turn back right side out and open up bag.  Pin a O-ring connector to the side seam of bag.  The top of the connector will line up with the bottom of the top exterior zipper. 

Sew connector on, sewing around entire connector.  Repeat for the other O-ring connector and the other side seam of exterior bag. This part is tricky. Go slow.

Turn the bag wrong sides out again and finish sewing the open 4" side seams.  Trim seam allowances.

Ta-da!  The exterior is finished!

Come back tomorrow to sew the interior!