Saturday, January 30, 2010


I've been making purses and tote bags now for about a year and a half. One day, I might just show you a couple of my first attempts! But I truly enjoy figuring out the process and experimenting with different fabrics and interfacings. I've had the Ava Rose Tote pattern from Artsy Crafty Babe in my stash for awhile and really want to make up a bunch of these.

I decided to use this one to test some interfacings that I haven't tried before. My bags in the past haven't been as sturdy as I would like them to be, but I really don't like the fusible interfacings. The only fusible I've had good luck with is the thermal fleece - which gives a great quilty feeling to the bag and doesn't alter the feel of the fabric (nor does it leave any lumps). I have not had good luck with the regular fusible fleece - the problem is, with bags, you have to press the bag so much in different stages and you just can't keep pressing the fusible fleece or it will leave awful looking lumps and creases in the fabric and they don't come out.

I had never used sew-in interfacing before - so I decided to give it a whirl. I used pellon heavy duty sew-in interfacing and learned a bit along the way.
  1. Baste or pin the interfacing to the fabric before the pattern is cut out. It would have saved me oodles of time and my interfacing would have matched up perfectly to the fabric. I know this seems like a very common sense thing to do - obviously I didn't realize this at the time.

  2. I really wished I had added a layer of canvas or a light layer of fleece before I added the heavy duty stuff. While it is nice and sturdy (I've never had a bag stand up so well on its own!) - it is a little too stiff.

  3. I seriously broke out a sweat trying to turn the damn thing. And when I finally got it turned, some of the fabric didn't catch in the seam (near the strap) - so I had to repeat the process. I'm not kidding - I had to turn the heat down! I guess I should make the hole a little larger - but honestly, it wasn't too small. Just 2 layers of the stiff stuff made it tough to turn. nuff said.

  4. Seams...the nice thing about fusible is that you can cut it so it doesn't end up in the seams. Not so with the sew in. I'm not thrilled with the bulkiness of the seams - but you can't tell by looking at the tote.

I'm not quite done w/ the tote - I need to sew on the button. All in all, I love the pattern and the size of the bag. Top-stitching was a $*#&%*#! This was more due to the trying to manipulate the curves and stitch through the layers (and the fact the bag would "pop up" every time I'd push it down to sew) than anything else. Well, that and I probably should have switched out my needle. Lessons learned every day!

Have a great weekend!


1 comment:

  1. I love this pattern! I have made a few of them and used featherweight sew in (it,s not as thin as it sounds). They come out stiff enough but not too stiff. I hope this helps but yours look beautiful, love the orange fabric!