I’ve been waiting forever to show you this bag! Well, it seems like forever. Really, just since last summer when Free Spirit asked for some projects using Tim Holtz fabrics and hardware. This large bag is called World Traveler. It measures 21″ wide by 14″ tall and 9″ deep. I love how it turned out! There is a lot of Thermolam, heavy duty stabilizer and Shape Flex in this bag. But it’s worth it.The fabric and the pattern are such a great match. I also made a little toiletry bag with Tim’s fabrics and hardware and Coats and Clark heavy duty threads. You can find the free pattern at MakeItCoats here.Check out the Coats and Clark blog post about the hardware projects. Fun stuff!
Happy Friday! I’ve got a full post for you today. I hope you’re ready! It’s all about working with Bosal In-R-Form fusible foam. A while back, I promised to share my tips. Fortunately, Pam reminded me because I had completely forgotten. (The best friends are the ones that let you share their brain now and then, don’t you think?) You may remember the bag I made her in her lovely PamKitty fabrics. I used Bosal to give it lots of structure. However, it can be tricky to use.
Bosal comes in Sew-In, One Sided Fusbile and Double Sided Fusible. I prefer the Double Sided Fusible (even though it’s the trickiest of the bunch). I also prefer to use Decor Bond on the lining in conjunction with Bosal on the exterior. Yes, yes, I know. Decor Bond is “crunchy”. But, the two interfacings together make a lovely bag that stands up on its own and has substance to it. Using the double sided foam means the final press at the end fuses the lining and exterior together. See? A nice, smooth bag that stands upright. I’m going to guide you through the process of making this bag. AND I’m giving you the pattern for free. No excuses, you can do this! Let’s get started.
Here’s what you need:
- 1/2 yard each of two coordinating cotton prints (these are two prints from past Amy Butler collections)
- 1/2 yard Decor Bond
- 1 package Bosal In-R-Form double sided fusible foam stabilizer
- Sewing thread to match
- Optional: magnetic snap
Cut all your pieces using the chart on the pattern. Now it’s time to fuse the Decor Bond and the Bosal to their respective pieces. Here’s where the first potential pitfall pops up. When working with the Bosal, be sure to use a Teflon pressing sheet or parchment paper to protect your ironing board. This is the drawback to double sided interfacing of any kind. You have to be careful and you have to be prepared. I invested in a Big Goddess Sheet. It’s a fabulous tool to have, especially if you do a lot of applique.You will notice Template 2 (the template for the Bosal) is smaller than the template for the fabrics. In fact, it’s 1/2″ smaller all the way around. This is the single most important tip for working with Bosal. Keep it out of the seams! It makes all the difference in the world.Of course, this means you have to center the Bosal over the fabric and then flip it over to press. Which leaves a lot of room for error. I give myself some insurance by pinning on each edge before flipping it over. Once I’ve flipped it over, I press only the center and lightly press the corners to tack the fabric down. Then, I remove the pins, flip it back over and press it for real. Once you have a created a strong bond between the Bosal and the fabric, your pattern piece is going to look nice and smooth. After you done all the preparation steps, I advise you to make the lining. The bag has only a slight curve on each side, but it’s still a curve and requires easing. By doing the lining first, you’ll be feeling more confident when it comes time to sew the outside pieces together. It’s a lot simpler to begin pinning at the center bottom, stopping when you get to the curve. Then pin down each side, again stopping when you get to the curve. You’ll think you don’t have enough Side/Bottom to complete the curve. Trust me, you do. Just clip into the seam allowance about 3/8″ and you’ll have the room to maneuver. Pin carefully and sew slowly when you go around those curves.When assembling the outside of the bag, I prefer to sew with the Front/Back pieces facing me. Your main goal in sewing these two long seams is to get the seam as close as possible to the Bosal without sewing over it. It’s easier if you have the Front/Back piece facing up.Here’s how that looks in real life. You’ll notice my seam guide says 1/2″ and I’m about 1 thread away from the Bosal. Go slow. Breathe deep. You can do this. Also note that I’m using my walking foot which is also a huge help.Chances are, you’re going to get a wonky seam at some point before or after those curves. Interesting but not what you want to see in a seam for a bag. Stop and go back over that section. Once you’ve sewn the Side/Bottom piece to the Front and the Back, check your seam for any wonkiness and fix it.You should have a beautiful, crisp seam like this one. At this point, press where needed but be sure you don’t join that foam to itself or anything else! I use my hand to back the bag and lightly press the spots that need it, going lightly over the seams as well. You can use a tailor’s ham or other pressing tool but you need to be very careful about fusing the Bosal to it. I find if I use my hand, I don’t get too crazy with the pressing and I can manipulate the bag easily while doing it. Do what’s safe for you. After dry fitting the lining inside the bag and making the necessary adjustments, it’s time to join the lining to the bag itself. Another tricky step, but manageable. Again, place the Bosal so it’s facing you and carefully sew your seam. This bag is large enough to clear the top of most domestic sewing machines when sewn with the bag standing up (for lack of a better description). You’ll find this handy if your machine doesn’t have a free arm.
Once you’ve turned the bag inside out through the gap you left, work the lining into place. Methodically, finger press the top edges. Do not start pressing until you have everything in place! When you are ready, begin pressing the top from the outside. That way, you can keep an eye on the lining and prevent it from peeking over the edge. If you find it hard to keep the lining from doing that, pin the edges and remove them as you go.
Once the top edge is secure, proceed with the rest of the bag. Then edgestitch and topstitch. And that’s it! Done!Isn’t it pretty? I hope you’ll try it out. Oh! And did you know, you can stitch through Bosal (just don’t do it in the seams) so you can quilt the outside pieces for added texture. I did that on this version of the bag which uses Nel Whatmore’s Orient to accentuate the circular design of the print.Have a wonderful weekend! And happy sewing!
It’s ready! The new bag pattern is now available through Etsy and Gumroad. It’s called Easy On The Curves.It goes together quickly and easily. The bottom of the bag is rounded, as is the top of the exterior pocket and the tab closure. There are three versions of the bag, each with its own list of supplies, cutting layout diagrams and checklist. The instructions have diagrams to help you through the assembly.
This gorgeous bag in Amy’s Bright Heart is Version A. All of the exterior pieces are backed with Shape Flex which gives it just enough body but still allows you to store or stash it easily. The exterior pocket has fleece and can be quilted as much or as little as you please.
Then, there’s Version B. Super quick and even more easily stored or stashed. This version is for home decorator weight or other similar bottomweight fabric and does not have any interfacing. I used Anna Maria Horner’s Drawing Room print for the exterior and canvas for the lining. Denim or twill are also great, for inside or out. This one is really about making the most of that front panel. Highlight a favorite print as I have done. Or use it as a canvas for whimsical applique or embroidery. No pockets or snap, so it sews up incredibly fast. But if you want the pockets, by all means, add them.
If it’s quilting skills you want to emphasize, Version C is just for you.The exterior pieces are all enhanced with fusible fleece. (I prefer Thermolam but you can use other fusible fleece, or use batting and muslin to forgo the fusing.) The denser you quilt the pieces, the more body your bag will have. Again, it’s all a matter of preference. This is Jane Sassaman’s Enchanted fabric making a very Springy statement.Disclosure: the Bright Heart and Enchanted fabrics were part of my One Fabric Nation stash from Free Spirit.