Monday, August 13, 2018

Getting the Lining Right on Bags

Yahoo! I got the lining right on this En Pointe Bag!

Before I was a quilter, I was a bag maker, and an experienced one at that. I’ve made patterns by Noodlehead, Lazy Girl Designs, Amy Butler, and others. No matter how many notches I have in my bag-making belt, however, the part that has the potential to cause me problems is sewing the lining.

My most recent lining-related snafu was with Noodlehead’s Market Bag. When the bag was finished, the lining didn’t fit as nicely as I would have hoped. It was too darn bulky. Since I was working under a deadline—the bag was a belated birthday gift for my sister—I didn’t take my time and trouble-shoot.

To read more about this Market Bag, click here.

While making Kairle Oaks’ En Pointe Bag pattern for a second time, however, I decided to wise up and make a conscious effort to evaluate the fit of the lining before it was sewn into the exterior.

Now, the En Pointe Bag is a much simpler pattern than the Market Bag. Both its interior and exterior are rectangles. The pattern calls for using Pellon’s Décor Bond, which gives the bag pieces a crisp hand. Once pieces are lined with Décor Bond, however, it’s like sewing two pieces of construction paper together—there’s no give and no way to ease an ill-fitting lining into the bag exterior.

To gauge the fit of my lining, I cut the lining pieces a quarter-inch shorter in both width and height. Then I sewed a few inches along the top of both side seams. I finger-pressed those seams open and placed the lining into the bag to assess the fit. I did the same for the bottom, sewing a few inches in the middle of the bottom and finger-pressing the seam open. I decided to take a little more off the lining height as a result of these extra steps, and the completed project was better for it.

I used Essex Linen and Midnight Garden, by One Canoe Two.

Getting the lining to fit right had me so preoccupied that I didn’t realize until I was about to finish attaching the binding that I had twisted one of the straps. (NOOO!) I’m pretty sure this was a first for me and bag making. Instead of completely ripping out the stitches from multiple steps in the pattern, I managed to “unsew” one side of the bag, fix the strap, and get back to where I had left off.

Here’s the spot in question. I think the strap looks pretty good, considering the ordeal required to fix my mistake.

Here is the strap in question, all better!

The real test of my ability to take my time and sew a well-fitting lining will be my next Market Bag. I have all the pieces cut (including cute hand-basted hexies that are ready to be appliqued to the exterior!). Now I just need to find the time to sew it.

Do you have any words of wisdom about bag making and lining? What about cautionary tales, like my twisted strap? (I couldn’t help but remember an old post from Kelby Sews, about how a pattern-taping mistake resulted in the cutest tote bags. Read more here.)

Linking up to Main Crush Monday, Let’s Bee Social, and Needle and Thread Thursday ...

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Save the Thread!

I’ll never tire of sewing half-square triangles. It amazes me what quilters can
create with them! Do you remember this quilt of mine from early 2016? It’s all
squares and HSTs.

Back in February 2017, I attended my first QuiltCon, in Savannah, Georgia. I didn’t spend too much time in the vendor section of the conference—there were too many other things to see and do—but at one point, I found myself admiring the wares in the Aurifil booth. This display was beautiful. A highlight was the quilt Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill made, featuring all 270 of the company’s thread colors. So, so pretty!

At one point during my visit, my friend Megan and I noticed water seeping from the adjacent bathroom toward the booth. With the rallying cry of “Save the thread!” we sprang into action and picked up product, including giant cones of thread, that was displayed on the floor. To thank us, the nice Aurifil folks gave us goodie bags. (This was super sweet but entirely unnecessary. I am a woman of priorities. If the thread is in jeopardy, I’m going to save it.)

One of the items in the goodie bag was a charm pack of Aubade, by Moda designer Janet Clare. That single act of thread preservation, and the subsequent thank-you, brought about this quilt . . .

For the quilt top, I bought some more Aubade charm packs, paired them with Kona Snow, and remembering a post I saw on Instagram, organized the resulting HSTs in ombre fashion.

To finish this project off, I quilted on both sides of the seams. (Read that as: no marking!)

The backing is a print from Janet’s Field Guide line, and the ocean-wave binding is from her More Hearty Good Wishes collection.

I’ve long admired Janet’s work and was psyched to play with fabric from three different lines of hers in this project. (A local quilt shop still has Nocturne in stock if I need to address an acute hankering for her fabric designs in the future.)

Do you share my love of HSTs? Is there a pattern full of HSTs that you recommend, or have you designed your own HST quilt?

Linking up to Let’s Bee Social and Needle and Thread Thursday ...

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