Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Sew-Along Day 5: Assembling the Bag and Installing the Snaps

Things are about to get exciting. Today you’ll assemble the various pieces of your duffle and install the snaps. By the end of these steps, you’ll have a legit bag.

A Few Words of Wisdom

First, if you haven’t moved up to a size 16 needle yet, you should do so now. There’s some serious bulk coming your way.

Basting the handles is super straight forward. Line up the raw edges of the handles with the raw edges of the exterior panels. Wonder Clips are your friend here.

Since you’ll be using a half-inch seam allowance to construct the bag, there’s wiggle room. See how my quilting cotton doesn’t reach the edge of the canvas in the picture below? No one will know—that shortage will be hidden by the seam allowance.

Cutting a Slit in the Corners

My biggest tip on assembling the bag pertains to Anna’s step 5(d), where you’re doing some dot-to-dot sewing. Once you sew the top seam, per her instructions, your bag will look like this, an awkward mass of fabric ...

When it was time for me to sew my sides, my Wonder Clipped seam looked like the picture below. It was puckering pretty badly. I was setting myself up for heartbreak and unsewing.

My solution? I clipped a slit in each corner of both exterior panels when I got to this point with them ...

The slit doesn’t go through to the seam itself, and that little flexibility allows me to twist the edge enough to get the pieces to lie better—flatter—than without it. Check this out ...

There’s still a big of bumpiness on the left side, but it didn’t prove to be a problem.

Installing the Snaps

Installing the snaps intimidated me so much with my first Cargo Duffle Bag that I used my bag for almost two years without any snaps on it at all. I loved my duffle so much—I didn’t want to mess it up by being sloppy with the snaps. When I finally got the courage to install them, however, it was no big deal. The best guidance I can give you is to practice by installing a snap on some scrap fabric. Doing might give you the assurance it gave me to install snaps successfully.

The snaps and installation tool you bought should have a blow-by-blow of how the pieces work together. (Anna also has a great tutorial on the process.) My recommendation is to mark where things should go before you start poking holes in your beautiful pockets. Specifically, first mark where you want the caps—that is, the visible part of the snaps—to go on your flaps. (Mine are about 1 inch up and 1¾ inches in from the side of the flap.) Using the tip of a pair of sharp scissors, create tiny holes to push the post of the cap through. Then poke a fabric marker through those holes to mark where the second half of the snap should go.

My first set of marks for the caps.

These marks ensure that my studs line up with the caps. Phew!

If you’re wondering whether it would have been easier to install the snaps earlier in the duffle-making process, it might be. For your first Cargo Duffle, however, I’d follow Anna’s advice. When the bag is assembled, you get a better idea of how the flaps and pockets will hang on the finished bag. Working with the exterior panels before assembling with the gusset might yield a tighter fit between the flaps and pockets and might limit how much stuff you can store in your pockets. (Does that make sense?!)

That being said, for my Cargo Duffles #3 and #4, I installed the snaps earlier—but I also had a better grasp of the pattern than I did with my first duffle.

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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