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Susan's Bag Making Tips - Part 2

Molly White

Posted on November 05 2021

Susan's Bag Making Tips - Part 2

We started this bag-making endeavor with my tips and tricks. Now that Karen is all grown up (arguably, for some time now...), she shared her insights into successful bag-making. So, we will finish my 15 bag-making tips with her invaluable input:  

  1.   Reinforced Snaps Rule. This is one of the MOST essential tips we can share with you. After I first discovered magnetic snaps, I added them to everything! However, over time, they poked holes in my fabric. I tried all different kinds of interfacing but still had the same problem! Plastic canvas to the rescue! You can also use it to reinforce bag bottoms and rivets (on straps). Use a small square slightly larger than your snap and hide the canvas inside the bag lining when sewing. 
  1. Use Scotch Tape. If you are making a bag out of a coated fabric (oilcloth or laminate), put a piece of scotch tape on the bottom of your presser foot, and voila! It will glide over the top of the fabric.  
  1. Use a Microtex Needle. Microtex needles are SUPER sharp and will pierce through multiple layers of fabric with ease! I love to use them anytime I'm sewing a bag!
  1. Know Your Fabric. By reading your pattern, you'll know what fabric the author recommends! Heavyweight fabric? Lightweight cotton? Is it suitable for vinyl or leather? Most bags are sewn with mid-to lightweight cotton fabrics, and be sure the fabric has NO stretch! 
  1. Trim Polyester Zippers Need a 10" zipper? Any polyester zipper that's larger than the 10" will do. Did you know that you can just cut it to the size you want? Yep, easy peasy. Be sure not to unzip the zipper until it's sewn into the finished bag.
  1. Be Wary of Metal Zippers. Speaking of zippers, if you are sewing with metal zippers, watch out! They get very hot when they are pressed! Trust me, I've learned this the hard way. 
  1. Make Your Own Piping. If you're making a bag and can't find the color of piping that matches your fabric, buy a light color and cover it. Just cut a strip of your fabric on the bias twice the width of the piping, stitch it right on top of your fabric.

And last but not least... 

  1. Cover cotton Webbing with Your Fabric. Do you dislike making straps? Hard to get straight? Bits of fabric poking out? How about covering cotton webbing with your fabric using a ¼" seam? Sew the fabric down the middle of the webbing, then flip the webbing over, fold under the raw edge and stitch down.

Karen and I hope you can use a few of these tips to make your first or next bag!   

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at Chateausew@gmail.com.  

We love hearing from all our extended family!

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