Making a clutch bag

 

 

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clutch bag

 

 

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 Bag i used to make a clutch

 

 

I  love recycling things this was a bag i have had for a while. I  really love the colour so decided to make it into a clutch.It’s great making things that cost next to nothing.

Clutches like this are ideal for so many different uses and can be made from any type of fabric.

The fabric I used is made out PU or faux leather. When sewing this type of fabric use a leather needle.(see post on sewing machine needles) Use a Teflon coated foot which is ideal for sewing leather as it glides along the surface of the fabric.A tip if you do not have a Teflon foot, is to place a piece of sellotape on the base of the universal foot, this should help the foot glide over the surface of the fabric

 

 

 

 

 

Measure the length of the zip this will determine the width of the purse.add 3 cm seam allowance  cut 2 equal pieces of  fabric

Fold the seam allowance where the zip is to be positioned. tack the seam allowance. You could press the seam allowance down using an iron but as i am using faux leather not advisable

Place the zip centrally and mark both the stop positions. Pin and tack the zip centrally into position, by tacking diagonally the zip is positioned

 

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tack zip into position 

 

 

Using the zipper foot machine the zip using a straight stitch.

Remove the tacking.  Open the zip then with the right sides together mark the seam allowance. Machine stitch all the way round.By having the zip open it will be easier to turn the bag the right way round 

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sew all the way round with the zip open

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Choosing machine needles

 

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An assortment of needle cases

 

Choosing the correct machine needles can be very confusing, as you need to choose the correct type as well as the correct size.choose the correct type according to the type of fabric, choose the size according to the weight of the fabric.

Often when there is an issue with your sewing machine it can simply be because of the wrong type and size of the needle. As I mentioned in previous posts needles should be changed regularly. Ideally, before you start a new project

let’s look at the different  types of needles

universal/standard point

These type of needles should only be used for sewing woven fabrics such as crepe de chine, silks, voiles, cotton, suiting. a good general purpose needle

jersey/ballpoint /stretch 

These needles have a more rounded point ideally suited for sewing stretch and knitted fabrics as it can pierce through without damaging the fibers . if universal needle was used for this type of fabric it would skip stitches, pull and  gather the fabric. for highly stretch fabric or elastic then a stretch needle would be more suitable.

jeans/denim

This type of needle has a very sharp point which can pierce through the material s without damaging the fabric.

microtex (sharp)

This type of needle is for foils, faux leather, and coated fabrics. The sharpness of this needle is ideal for precision stitching  piercing through the fabric without damaging it

metallic/embroidery

These needles are designed for metallic and embroidery threads, they have a larger eye to feed the thread through to stop the thread from snapping and breaking.

leather

This type of needle is suitable for sewing leathers and faux leather.

quilting 

This needle is designed especially for machine quilting as it is able to pierce through layers of fabric and eliminate skipped stitches.

Choosing the different sizes generally depends on the weight of the fabric

 

Needle chart size

Type of fabrics European needle size. American needle size.
Crepe de chine, lightweight cottons, lawns, chiffon , Georgette, polyester, silks, jersey 60

65

70

75

8

9

10

11

Linens .medium weight cotton, suiting, double knits, modal, 75

80

90

11

12

14

Denim, suede, tweed, gabardine ,

Upholstery fabrics.

90

100

110

14

16

18

Making a waterfall waistcoat

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simple waterfall waistcoat

This is a very simple waistcoat for the beginner or the more experienced dressmaker. This is a project you can make in an afternoon with very little sewing.

You will require a fabric that is at least 148cm wide. You will require 1 1/2 meters of fabric. The whole pieces of fabric should be a square piece of fabric when  opened out.

Cutting the fabric 

Fold the fabric in half then fold again. From the corner measure the radius and draw a curved line cut around the curved line.

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fabric folded, arrows represent the radius

You should now end up with a circular piece of fabric.

The second stage is to cut out the armholes.

Fold the circular piece of fabric. Measure halfway and place pins along the  center line instead of a chalk line.

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Place pins along the center

The armholes are 18cm from the midway line .

The length of the armhole is also 18 cm long.

The width of the armhole should be no more than 12cm wide.

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Cut out the armholes.

You should end up with a circular piece of fabric with two holes in.

All you need to do is now is to machine stitch all the way round using a small zigzag stitch or if you have an overlocker then use this instead.  Stitch  around the armholes as well to stop fraying.

Care of your sewing machine.

Looking after your sewing machine is important. Having a good understanding of this, following these simple rules will help prolong the life of your machiine and avoid unnecessary repair bills.

How often should I clean my machine?

Ideally after each use you should wipe all around the sewing machine using a soft cloth. The shuttle area should also be cleaned regularly do avoid build up of fluff and dust.

 

Where do I clean?

Clean around the machine using a soft cloth. Use a soft brush to clean around hard to reach areas. if your machine has tension discs use a piece of thread to clean between them as dust can easily settle there.

When  your sewing machine is not in use, always place a cover to avoid dust settling in and around the machine. To keep your sewing machine operating well clean the exterior using a soft cloth wiping from the top to the bottom,  clean in and around the thread regulator.

Cleaning around the shuttle/ bobbin area.

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Drop down bobbin. Feed teeth located  under needle plate.

Remove the bobbin case, clean the area with a lint brush. Ensure you remove any pieces of thread or fluff. Lower the feed teeth and clean using the brush. Compressed air cans are also useful for cleaning the area below the bobbin area.  Never use a wet or damp cloth around this area as this can damage the machine.

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Remove bobbin case holder.

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Bottom of the bobbin area must be cleaned  using a brush.

 

Change your needle regularly!

Prevention is better than cure so regularly change your needle . manufacturers often recommend that you change the needle  every time you start a new project. If it a long project then change the needle a number of times.

How often should I oil my machine?

Always follow the instruction manual when oiling your machine it is worth remembering that not all machines need oiling so check with your  manufacturer.

Troubleshooting

When first experiencing problems check then rethread the top thread and bobbin.

Fabric puckers

Check needle as it could be damaged.  Rethread  both top and bobbin thread. Ensure that you are using the correct type and size needle. Use a quality thread.

Skipped stitches

Check needle it could be damaged. Ensure needle is inserted correctly all the way into the clamp.use the correct type of needle.If using jersey or stretch fabric ,use a jersey/stretch needle Rethread both the top and bobbin thread. Use recommended presser foot.

Needle breaks

Use care not to pull fabric when sewing. Check bobbin case is inserted correctly.Check needle plate is correctly placed .Ensure correct needle type and size. Check the needle is inserted correctly.

 

Poor tension.

Rethread both top and bobbin thread. Check tension discs for fluff.

Fabric does not move

Check the feed teeth is up. Check stitch length. use the correct size and type of needle.

Upper thread breaks.

Check for correct threading. Check the needle plate is placed correctly and check for  damage.

Bobbin thread breaks

Check bobbin threading. Wind a new bobbin.  Check needle plate is placed correctly and check for damage.

 

 

 

How to make a tote bag

0174f83d0280524e6ba0e4e65935dc737287246fb6I love making tote bags, they are a useful everyday accessory as well as making great gifts . This is pretty simple to make  with a slight structure to the base. You can obviously make yours as big or as small as you like.The bag i have made is large enough to fit 3 A4 folders.

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Fabric 50 inches length.30 inches wide.

 

 

Measure and cut the straps 27in x 3in

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Cut 2 straps.

Making the bag.

Fold the fabric in half  (25in length after folding)the fold will sit at the base of the bag.  You will only be stitching along the sides of the bag.  This will be done using a French seam to make the seam stronger.

 

Sewing with a French seam.

A French seam is a seam stitched first on the right side and then turned in and then stitched on the wrong side so the raw edges are enclosed inside the seam.

On the right side of the fabric

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Sew wrong sides together.

Sew a 1/2 cm seam on the  right side of the fabric making sure you fix the stitch at the start and end.  This can be done by reverse stitching or using the fix, stop button on the machine. Trim off any excess seam.( see above picture).  Turn the bag out and press the seams using the iron.

Now sew 1cm seam on the wrong side of the fabric.( See  picture below.)

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Sewing right sides together.

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Finished French seam

 

 

Sewing the base of bag.

From the corner measure equally from the centre French seam .Measure from the edge along the French seam, draw a chalk line(see below).

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Measure equally both corners.

Pin , tack then machine across the mitred corner (see below).

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Sewing mitred corner.

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Inside of the bag.

 

 

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Base and side of bag

 

 

 

Sewing the straps

Fold the straps folding both ends towards the centre. Press with the iron this will help to hold its shape, machine along the strap. I have stitched along the fold and edge for a more visibly neater finish.(see photo below).

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Double fold the top edge neatly , pin and tack this, then machine stitch . I moved the needle position to the left so I was able to sew closer to the edge of the fold.

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Machine stich close to the fold.

 

Measure and pin straps into position, tack if you require, draw a chalk line to sew neatly across  the strap . Try to position the needle onto the existing seam, this should allow you to sew on top of the seam, do not worry if you are not able to do this exactly.

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Machine strap in position.

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Fold back strap to conceal stitching.

Topstitch   around the entire  bag attaching the straps sewing close to the edge for a neater finish.

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Finished bag.

 

 

Why pin tack &sew?

Good preparation is the key to success, by taking the time to plan and prepare you will actually save a lot of time and stress.

I have been making clothes since my early teens. It has allowed me  to wear clothes that are unique and individual.  I believe what you wear says something about who you are, choosing bold colours, styles and  textures all go a long way to help create that personal  style.

My passion for sewing continues today. I have been teaching pattern cutting and dressmaking  for over 15 years. I love creating my own patterns but I’m also happy to use a commercial pattern and adapt that to my personal  style and shape.

Refashioning existing clothes and making something new is a great  way of saving money, yet having something   truly unique.

Soft furnishings is also something I truly enjoy. The satisfaction of making something for the home  is so gratifying .I have created beautiful window treatments, cushions for my home.

I plan to share my ideas and experiences as i know there  are many like-minded people who share the same passion as i do.

Saeeda.