Monday, March 11, 2019

Sew-Along Day 4: Making the Gusset, Tabs, and Handles

There’s a lot on our to-do list today. If you get frustrated at any point, take a break from the tasks at hand. Remember, if you don’t complete all these steps today, you’ll have plenty of time to catch up. (The linky for prizes opens on March 18 and doesn’t close until March 31.)

Personally, I need some motivation on a day like today. Can I suggest giving yourself a little reward—perhaps some chocolate—after each step? : )

Installing the Zipper

Zipper installation may be new to you. I’ve installed bunches of zippers, and they still intimidate me.

If you have a zipper foot for your machine, you could use it here. It will allow you to get your line of stitching closer to the teeth of the zipper. I actually don’t have one for my main machine (a Janome 1600P-QC) and am able to install the zipper in this project without it.

For me, it’s hard to keep all the layers together when sewing a zipper. Wonder Clips help a lot. I also use Steam-A-Seam 2. It’s double-sided fusible webbing that’s just a quarter inch in width.

If you want to give Steam-A-Seam a try, here’s how to use it:
  1. Pinch off a piece long enough to run the length of the canvas you cut for the zipper gusset.
  2. With your fingers, press the webbing, paper side up, along one long edge of the canvas. The heat from your hands will keep it in place for the moment.
  3. Pull back the paper to reveal the second sticky side and place your zipper over it, aligning the edge of the zipper with the edge of the canvas. (In the picture above, the zipper isn’t in place yet.)
  4. Press the zipper with your iron to fuse it to the canvas.
  5. Add the other layers, per Anna’s instructions, and secure with Wonder Clips. (See picture below.)
  6. Sew with a quarter inch seam allowance, and press per Anna’s instructions.
  7. Repeat on the other side of the zipper with the second piece of canvas you cut for the zipper gusset.

Sewing the Tabs

If you’re adding zipper tabs to your bag, you should stop after Step 3(b) and follow these instructions:
  1. Take a scrap of coordinating fabric that’s 4 inches by 7 inches, and press it in half lengthwise.
  2. Open it up. Fold each long raw edge in toward that center line and press.
  3. Now fold the piece in half lengthwise along the original fold and press again, with starch.
  4. Edge-stitch along both long edges.
  5. Cut the piece in half so that you have two pieces, each 1 inch by 3½ inches.
  6. Fold each piece in half width-wise (they’re both 1 inch by 1¾ inches now), basting one to each edge of the zipper. (See pictures below.) 
Here I’m folding the raw edges in toward the original center fold.

To keep the open zipper end together, I basted it with a few stitches.

Wonder Clips work better for me in this step than pins.

Here is a zipper tab, all basted in place.

Making the Handles

I really like the way Anna constructs the handles in this pattern. I used quilting cotton for my handles, and I followed her instructions to the letter.

A few notes on the handle-making front: If you find working with a 44-inch piece of fabric unwieldy, cut yours into two 22-inch pieces instead. I do recommend starch to get good, crisp folds that will help you sew neat lines of top stitching along the length.

Also: I suggest sewing those lines of top stitching along the length from the outside in. In other words, sew one on the open side on the right and then sew one on the left. Keep alternating right and left. That way, if your spacing doesn’t work out perfectly, it will still be symmetrical. (Read through to the bottom of the post for more detail on that.)

I pressed my raw edges in toward the seam between the main handle fabric and
the accent fabric.

I do use the extra strip of canvas that Anna mentions, for added structure.

Pins work best for me in this step. I will start by sewing the open edge, which
is on the top here. Then I’ll sew the edge on the bottom and work my way
inward, alternating sides.

It worked out that my lines were perfectly spaced, so the fact that I alternated
the sides as I sewed didn’t matter.

If you are using a home dec fabric for your handles and the bulk seems too much for the handles to lie nicely, I recommend using just one fabric, modeling the construction after the zipper tabs:
  1. Cut a 7-inch by 44-inch piece of your home dec fabric.
  2. Fold it in half lengthwise and press.
  3. Open it up, fold the long raw edges in toward the center line, and press.
  4. Fold the piece back again along the original fold and press with starch.
  5. Sew along the length of the handle, starting at the open long edge and alternating between sides.
Here are my handles for Cargo Duffle #2, made with Amy Butler home dec fabric. Notice that my line spacing wasn’t perfect, but because I sewed those lines from the outside in, they are still symmetrical.

If you have any questions or comments, the best way to share them with me and everyone else sewing is to use the comments below, but you can also email me at frombolttobeauty (at) gmail (dot) com or DM me through Instagram.

Document your progress on Instagram using the hashtag #cargodufflesewalong!

Related Links:
Main Cargo Duffle Sew-Along Page
Sew-Along Day 1: Cutting the Pattern Pieces
Sew-Along Day 2: Making the Cargo Pockets
Sew-Along Day 3: Quilting and Assembling the Exterior Panels
>Sew-Along Day 4: Making the Gusset, Tabs, and Handles<
Sew-Along Day 5: Assembling the Bag and Installing the Snaps
Sew-Along Day 6: Lining the Bag
Prize Linky 

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