Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Romance Bag Picture Tutorial - at last!

Well I've been promising it since I put up the pattern pieces...and I've finally done it.
Blame the sunshine...we've been out enjoying it as much as we can, it doesn't happen too often here lol!

For the tutorial I used the 'Big Romance' pattern, but the process is the same for both. If you haven't already, you can pick up the PDF pattern pieces for both the Romance and Big Romance bags here.

OK, here we go......there are a LOT of photos (that's not like me, ha ha ha!) so bear with me - you WILL get to the end eventually! 
Take a deep breath.....

Firstly, you need to cut out your fabric.
You'll need:

2x bottom pieces
2x top pieces
2x handle pieces
2x lining pieces (bottom and top combined)
2x interfacing (I use heavyweight iron-on, but you can use whatever you prefer!) at the lining piece size.
2x interfacing at 2 inch square size.
A clasp
Ribbon for decorating if you so wish.
Take one top piece, and one bottom piece, and sew them together, right sides together.

Do the same for both sides of the bag, and lay to one side.
Now take your two lining pieces, and lay them right sides together. Sew down one side, all the way to the bottom. On the other side, however, stop about halfway down and leave a gap of about two inches, then sew the rest of the way, This is for turning the bag through once it's all sewn together.

Then sew all the way along the bottom.
Now we'll do the corners.
Take each corner, and align the seams so they are together in the middle of the corner.
Then sew across the corner.
(spot the *ahem* deliberate mistake on the middle photo......lol! That's right - I forgot to trim the picture ha ha!)

OK so far? Fantastic.
Now on to the handles!
Take one of your handle pieces, and fold it in half inside out down it's length, and sew down the edge.
Then turn the tube right way out.
Now, a lot of tutorials tell you to them press the seam to the middle...I find I get a better finish if I press it at the side, like this. (Of course, you do whichever way works best for you - it won't affect how we complete the handle!)
Now fold your tube in half down it's length, and measure 3inches in from each end, and mark with a pin. You can always pin across the centre too, to hold the fold in.
Then sew down the edges, both sides, keeping as close to the edge as you can. Start at the first pin, and finish at the last...be sure to double back on your stitches at the start and finish so they hold!
Then once you're done, sew another line down the centre of the handle. If you're lucky, your foot will line up with your side stitching perfectly!

And that's your first handle done! Now go do the other one too!
Next, go and make a drink while I move my sewing machine and clear room for the iron....the joys of dining room table sewing (and ironing!) lol!

Good. All done and ready!
Now get your two outside bag pieces, and your interfacing (if you're using iron in).
Press your seam outwards as shown on each piece.
Then place your interfacing on, and press. If you're lazy like me, you might have just used a rough cut piece and have to trim it here...*whistles*
Now get your lining piece. You'll need your 2 small squares of interfacing to go where you will be putting your clasps, for strength. Remember not to put them too near the top edge of the bag, or you won't be able to sew the two halves of your bag together. This I learned from experience ha ha! So measure (or eyeball!) that they are in the same place on either side, and press.
Now you need to add your clasps. Whatever type you use is up to you of course, but I'll be showing you the magnetic clasps I use.
Here they are! Shiny!
Now, get one of the clasps, line up both sides of your lining so the two squares of interfacing are on top of one another, and press the prongs of the clasp into the interfacing to leave a mark. If you press hard enough, you'll leave a mark through to both sides!
 Then mark with a pen or pencil so they're easy to see.
Now you need to VERY CAREFULLY snip a small hole where your marks are on either side. They MUST be small, otherwise the hole in the fabric will show on the outside of the clasp!
Then carefully poke your clasp through the lining fabric, making sure that the actual clasp part is on the INSIDE of your lining (the right side of your fabric).
Next, get the two backing plates, and place on on each half of the clasp on the WRONG side of the fabric.
Then fold the prongs down and out until the clasp feels secure, then repeat for the other side.

Still with me? GREAT!
Now back to sewing.......talk amongst yourselves while I rearrange again.......lol!

Ok. If you are adding a ribbon trim to your bag - now is the time. Waiting til after you've added the interfacing  adds a little strength to the trim part. If, however, you're sewing in your interfacing, then add the trim first.
Now you need to sew your two bag outer parts together, right sides together, in exactly the same way as you did the lining pieces. (If you're using sew-in interfacing, this is where you would add it). Then turn the right side out, and it should (if you're not sobbing into your fabric because my crazy instructions have baffled you!) look something like this:
it does? Yay! Go you!

Next, we place the handles.  Make sure they're equally spaced from the side seams, and match up with their opposite number on the other side of the bag. Also make sure that the channel on the handle (the 3 inch piece we left at the bottom of each) is facing outwards, not inwards, and that your handles aren't twisted. Pin in place.
Now we place the whole thing INSIDE the lining, right sides together, handles in between the two, like this.
Now line up the side seams and the tops, and pin all the way round to secure for stitching.
Now sew all around the top of the bag, remembering to remove the pins as you go. I use a 1/4 inch seam. I also like to double back on my stitches as I go over the handles, just to add extra strength. 

Now that's done, we need to turn the whole thing the right way out, through the hole in the lining. I know,it never looks like it's going to fit, or even work at all, but trust me - it does. It takes a small amount of patience though!
When you've pulled it all the way through, it should look something like this!
Now all you need to do is tuck your lining inside the bag...
...sew up the hole in your lining...
and you're done!
You will see from the picture above that I topstitched all around the top of the bag....you don't NEED to do this, but it does help to keep the lining in place nicely!
Also, the phone case was a self drafted little project I added with some spare fabric....I didn't do a tutorial for that I'm afraid lol!

I really hope this makes sense, and that you all come back and show me the lovely bags you've made!

Thanks for looking, and good luck!

Is there anybody still out there?

HELLO... HELLO... LISA CALLING... IS THERE ANYBODY THERE??? Ha ha....wow, it's been a while, huh? So much has happened...