The Ultimate Travel Bag – Six Sewing Tips

As promised, sewing friends, here’s a follow-up post on The Ultimate Travel Bag
Don’t get me wrong, the instructions included with the pattern are top notch
they are very thorough and very easy to follow
I just have a few additional tips if you are interested:
TIP #1
byAnnie includes a sheet of cut apart labels for use when cutting all the components of this bag
for your sanity, it’s pretty much a necessity to use those labels!
I scanned the sheet of labels and printed it on sticker paper
that made life so easy
all I had to do was cut each label as I cut the fabric,
then peel and stick to my fabric
remember to use your paper-cutting scissors for this step, not your fabric shears
-you’re welcome-
TIP #2
if you, like me, can’t find 1 1/2″ strapping,
just use the wider strapping
use a clear 24″ quilting ruler (or any other ruler you have handy),
mark the line where the strapping would measure 1 1/2 “
then take it to the serger and trim and finish that edge all in one

*an alternate method if you don’t own a serger*
mark your strapping the same as above
cut it using your rotary cutter or sewing shears
run an overcasting stitch or a zig zag stitch along the edge
TIP #3
if you choose to straight-line quilt, rather than free-motion quilt
your lining, main fabric, and foam
use a walking foot with seam guide
I placed my seam guide at 1″

TIP #4
use binder clips instead of pins
where it is practical
it is much easier to hold those mesh and binding
layers together with a clip instead of pins
TIP #5
after attaching the binding to one side of the inner pockets,
flip the binding to the back side leaving about 1/8″ hanging down longer than the front
the beauty of the mesh is that you can see through it while you are stitching the back down
stitch from the top side, using your edge stitch foot (Bernina foot #10)
let the guide of that foot ride snug up against the front fold
use a straight stitch

and you will get a beautifully stitched back side of that binding

TIP #6
Instead of buttons, use extra large snaps for the ‘feet’ on the bottom of the bag
they are metal
they won’t break like some buttons
and they are very secure
I used the button sew on stitch on my sewing machine
I moved the needle to the far left position
and changed the stitch width to 5.9mm
the clear quilting foot (Bernina foot #29)
was the perfect choice for this step
I could see through it to line up my snap hole
and by moving the needle to the far left position,
that foot was the perfect width to hold down the edge of the snap
and stitch it on at the same time
it made quick work of all those snap holes
and trust me, those snaps are not going anywhere!
That’s it, sewists
Go ahead
Get busy on your Ultimate Travel Bag
Then go somewhere fun
You deserve it!!!

Stitch Selection Savvy: How to Add Elastic Shirring to a Flat Waistband

Greetings sewers!
As promised, here is the explanation of how I added the elastic shirred back waist band

This photo shows the waist band from the inside of the garment.
Notice the front waist band (top of photo) is flat
and the back waist band (bottom of photo) is elasticized.
The pattern is drafted for a flat waist band all the way around,
and it instructs to cut two front and two back pieces.
That way you have a front and back waistband piece and a front and back facing piece.
To allow for the elasticized gathering,  I cut the back waist band and facing pieces
one size larger than the rest of my blouse.
On the back facing piece, I drew three horizontal lines (with iron-off marker)
to help me properly position the elastic.

I assembled the blouse waistband as instructed,
except that I did not completely close up the side seams.
By leaving the side seams open, I was able to bury the ends of the elastic in the seam
so I don’t have raw elastic edges showing on the facing side of my back waistband.
When I finished attaching the elastic with a narrow zig zag stitch,
I hand stitched the side seams closed.
There ya’ go.
An elasticized back waistband using a flat waistband pattern.
If you have a tried and true method for accomplishing similar results,
I would love for you to share your method.
Please leave your instructions in the comment section.
Thanks so much, and have a most lovely sewing week.

Stitch Selection Savvy – The Triple Straight Stitch

This is the topstitching on my Herringbone Jacket
I want to share with you all, how to achieve a perfect topstitch without purchasing special thread.
The triple straight stitch is used for reinforced seams, and it is also perfect for topstitching.
Ordinarily topstitching is accomplished by using a straight stitch and a heavy weight topstitch thread.
But the same, if not better, results can be achieved by using regular weight (40w)
multi-purpose thread in conjunction with the triple straight stitch,
which is standard on many of today’s sewing machines.
The stitch icon looks like stitch number 31 on this sewing machine:

Your sewing machine will take one stitch forward,
one stitch back over that same stitch,
and again one stitch forward over the previous two stitches.
Three stitches in all, but the end result is one straight stitch.
Thus the name – triple straight stitch.
This is the same number of layers of fabric and the same thread,
but topstitched with a regular straight stitch.
See the difference?
I use my number 10C presser foot when I topstitch.
It is called an edgestitch foot.
As you can see from the bottom of the presser foot,
it has a metal guide running through the middle of the foot.
Simply position that guide along the edge of your fabric,
set the needle either to the left or the right of the guide, and stitch.
The result is a perfectly placed, even line of stitching.
The next time you want to add topstitching to your project, give the triple straight stitch a try.
Use your regular presser foot if you don’t happen to have the edgestitch foot.
It works just as well, but you will have to be more attentive to keeping your stitch line
an exact distance from the edge of your fabric throughout the length of topstitching.
Happy stitching, my friends!