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Sew the Exterior

Lesson 6 from: Build Your Own Tote Bag: The Basic Bag

Betz White

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Lesson Info

6. Sew the Exterior

Next Lesson: Sew the Handles

Lesson Info

Sew the Exterior

So this is a good opportunity to have a nice contrast fabric as faras proportion goes I like tio lawfully keep this a third that the visually haven't a third of the height of the bag I just think it looks more pleasing than to have it be like really skinny or really wide so um just personal preference and the way I haven't mapped out for you is is pretty much a third keep in mind that part of that is going under the bag and becomes the base so that's where you you kind of look at that gray area that's the face of the bag when you're planning it okay, so we gotta pieces here this way and I've got my lower panel and again if you have a directional print, you want to make sure that your motifs or right side up and that your sewing this panel along the bottom I'm going to line that up and then I'm gonna flip it right sides together and then so across that scene ok again this is a happened to see malone's ok then we'll press the seem open like we did on the facing and you're going to want t...

o use your press club because we've got feasible fleece on here so we don't want to put the iron right on that so for a press cloth I can't remember if I talked about this but I like to use just really any any scrap of plain cotton fabric that I have this is a piece of quilting cotton um you khun by press cloths but if you have a lot of fabric, you probably don't really need to and then I use them and they eventually get stained or ah maybe scorched and then I just trim that part off and keep using the scrap or I just toss it and get you know, use something else okay? Now I'm gonna top stitch this and I want to top stitch this I'm both sides of my scene and I also want to switch my thread to white because I think that, um if I don't so perfectly perfect and look, I'm going to go ahead and do that right now and you know, with this with this fabric it's so multi colored that really why is just fine? So I'm going to switch out my bob into my thread ok, now we're gonna top stitch an eighth of an inch from the scene that we just showed and I'm going to stitch on both sides so on the lower panel and the upper panel on the other side okay, so I have the front of the bag done and I have the exact same thing here, so you'll just repeat that for the other side of the bag and then we're gonna so those across the sides and the bottom the same way that we did for the lining except we don't have to leave that capped at the bottom will just so all the way around so again the important part to line up is the seam for the lower panel because you want that to be toe looks you know pretty much continuous across that side seam ok then I'm gonna switch my stitch back to two and a half because they had it at three for my top stitching so again back stitches the top and half inch steam allowance okay so way have our sides and bottom sewn and we are going to box the corners to match what we did for the lining but I'm going to show you just a little bit of a different way to do it this is more of you're not sure and you want to just so it and kind of take a look before you cut into the bag so the first way was like I've made this bag a million times I wanted to look just like that I'm just going to do it you know two inches and cut it but this is like well I'm not really sure let me let me think about it so what we could do is, um measure our two inches again sleep with this work on here I'm gonna flip it over and do it again on the other side and then without cutting it it looks funny instant just without cutting it we're going tio um pop out that corner how we did before and match the bottom in the side seam and so you can see the little squares that we drew magically became a straight line so so that was that was what our cut line was on the lining and then we sowed happened in from there so I'm going to do that now before I cut and then look at the bag and kind of see what it looks like we know what it's going to look like as we already did on the lining but this is just to illustrate that um you know you can kind of experiment by cutting later if you want and then you could always move that stitch line if you wanted it to be more deeper more shallow okay so I'm going to sew a half inch and from that line that we do okay so let's look at what we have here going to turn this right side out even though I haven't trimmed it just checking how this looks okay so bless you all right so how did we come out here this looks spout four inches good all right and so we can look at without fully committing we can look at what her bag is going to look like so we can decide now whether or not we want it to be a different depth so but I want you to take a look at this so this's what looks like with the four inch depth if you decided you wanted it to be bigger, you could pinch out more and take a look at it but then you could see how much the height actually went down so like it has to go somewhere so the height goes down and the bottom gets wider so um and then you know you're proportions changes well, if you decided so actually I want a deeper well now this is narrow where which you might like you might sew it and say, oh, that bottom is too wide I wanted to be narrower and then you could change the depth and like that so it's just something to play with and take a look at and a different way to box the bottom so but we know we want this at four inches because we wanted obviously to match what we did for the lining so I am going to just pop this back out and then cut off would you ever make the lining slightly? Uh like a slightly different with that like it like maybe even the slightly shorter to prevent any polling at the bottom of the bag does that question makes sense? Yes, it totally makes his battle um sometimes I will make the seam allowance slightly bigger on the lining al qaeda breathing the same but just take a bigger bite out of the lining so that it's just like a weensy bit smaller because it's like this weird thing that happens I mean if fabric is fluid you know it shifts and its stretches and it's not it's not precise so sometimes things happen and then you make the bag and something seems bigger smaller whatever but often you'll get the lining down inside the bag and it'll be kind of like like floppy but it's like the the pressure number one usually the exterior of the bag is a little more rigid and usually the lining is a little let's redo the and so sometimes that's just the nature of it that way you know it's causing the inside to sort of like collapse a little bit and you'll find that when you turn the whole thing inside out like I had this a little bit ago um you like all that lining fits perfectly fine you can turn it you know? So the lanes on the outside and then the exterior is like holding it out and it's a perfect fit but then when you turn the lining back in and you're like why is it bunches that it's just kind of part of what it is on I think if you if you nick in the seam allowance a little bit that that can help just makes it tiny that smaller um other thing I was thinking is say you had um I don't know a nut bag which this kind of unusual but there are no bags or something where the outer fabric was a little more delicate that could stretch you might want to make the lining just slightly shorter so that the way of whatever in your bag is being supported by the lining and it's not like pushing on that exterior fabric that's more delegator stretching or something like that so there's options there's tricks a lot of that just comes with practice ok? And I'm going back and I'm cutting on those lines that we drew and I'm actually outrun these a tiny bit a tiny bit shorter just to get rid of some of that bulk and I'll trim off our little intersecting triangles actually I don't want to trim off now that I've turned one yeah you don't want to trim this off too much in fact I'm going to leave this one be um just for the next step that I'm going to show you you'll see why in a minute but there's a base that we're an internal base and we're going to attach and this should be enough but just in case you might want that little play of having a little more seem allowance left um on your corner so let's just for the record say that we're going to leave that half an inch there um for our next part of the bag of stuff okay all right so I'm going to leave this inside out for a minute because we are going to make and extra stabilizing base for the bag and this will live in between layers so this doesn't have to look pretty it's just extra little bit of stabilizer and I know if you can kind of tell when I squeeze this that there's something in there um and it's just to keep it from being saggy on the bottom um it's not super rich is not like a board or anything but it's just an extra little bit to kind of keep that edge of the bag and I showed earlier the plastic grid the plastic needle point grid and the pal tex and it's just a matter of personal preference and experimentation that I'm going to use the caltex for this base so I have two pieces that are cut approximately the size of the bottom of the bag and I say approximately because we know we know that this corner as four inches but actually have this cut to three and a half because if you think about um the bag has thick miss and it's coming down and has seem allowance and it's bending and so like just fabric turning a corner and coming back as a greater distance to go than on the inside so anyway because it's not precise we're just going to turn it a little bit smaller s so that it lays nice and flat so let's see here I've got this is um I'll just hold it up here so you can see so it's three and a half and it's just a smidge shorter than that then the length so you could just kind of double check that before you so your base and I wanted to be a little more rigid than just one layer of this um cal tech so I'm going to put two together and then I have a extra piece of interfacing that's listed on your materials list and it's a little bit longer and about three times this wide because we're going to make a little burrito here so this is blue side up on the feasible and I have my two layers of caltex and I'm just going to rule this over like that and then I'm just going to refuse this is a little sandwich oh burrito I must be hungry mentioning food and do you just leave the edges hanging off? Yes so I have about a half inch on either and um and this is that is the end that's actually going to get so into that seem allowance cut off? Um yeah so that's just your that's just your extension to help you attach it to the same allowance of the bag and this is this cotton interfacing is completely enclosing the pell tech so you don't have to worry about using a press cloth in this moment all right, that feels pretty good and then just for one little extra step of stability we're going to stitch from the corner of the pell text to the other one just a big x and again this is going to be completely enclosed between layers of your bag so it doesn't really matter you know what thread color is or if you so crooked okay, so before put this on here I'm going to press this bottom seam allowance because I want that to be flat all right? So this is a little difficult to press because it's all three dimensional now but we'll just kind of flatten that out a little bit if you ever use something this particular case would you ever use something like a pressing ham or anything to stick in there? Actually yes so pressing ham I don't have one here with me now but a pressing him this really weird actually looks like a hand or an egg it's about this big and it's sort of egg shaped and typically it's um like a cotton twill or campus on one side and the other side I don't know why it's plaid but the other side's wool and I think that's because you're you steam on and will contain more he and steam so it's used I think it might be called a tailor's ham and it's used when a taylor is making a suit or something and you can actually put that up inside the shoulder of the jacket or whatever tio give it a good pressing where might not fit on the point or whatever of a um ironing board and there's also a sleeve rule which it's looks like a burrito it's just a longer shape and it's to go inside of a sleeve to press seems where you can't get with the ironing board but if you have one of those you can roll up a towel for um you know something like that just tow get in their way ok so now we have the bottom of the bag with the seam allowance press down and I have our little stability base and I'm going to line that up and penn going to trim down my access a little bit here so you can see what I'm doing so it's much easier sewing from a couple layers of this interfacing then it is through the pell tech so that's why I have that little extension on here and it'll it'll make your corner nicer so we'll pin that little access extension here to your seem allowance and then to that at the other end all right so this sends a little trickier because I was I was trim happy and I just went ahead and cut that off but um it's gonna work out just fine so when you go to so this you'll see that um mr the more the further along we get in the bag the more stuff there is to wrestle around with your machine so you know just take it slow kind of scrunch up the bag or roll part of it out of the way or whatever you need to do to get you know in your machine you might even want to take off the table part if you have one on your machine and you could like get in there better I like to leave the table extension I mean machine all on especially for the long seems because I feel like if you're sewing you know the whole side seam of the exterior of the bag that you it's it's laying flat longer before you get to the needle so I just feel like it's there's more control there but sometimes for these fiddly parts and things with them lots of bulk it's nice to get rid of that table so all right, so I think actually I'll take this off my tapes on there all right? So this you're just going to stitch close to the edge of the the same that you already have there there's not really a particular seem allowance measurement it's just a secure it all right? We're getting closer okay? So there is the base attached to the exterior bag and we're just gonna leave this inside out for now. Going to trim off some of these threads, all right? Actually, I think I can turn this right side out. So what I'm going to do is just kind of, um, I hold in my hand inside and pull it through. And then he shot those corners. All right, it's getting it's, getting baggy.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Basic Bag Cutting List
Basic Bag Diagram and Dimensions
Basic Bag Resource List
Basic Bag Tool Kit and Materials List
Large Tote Diagram and Dimensions
Small Tote Diagram and Dimensions

Ratings and Reviews

Lynnette Simpson

5 stars +++++ I thoroughly enjoyed the whole course. I found that these classes gave me the understanding and confidence of sewing 'any' tote with both a slip and zipper pocket, etc. After watching these classes of Betz I'm able to put together my own tote without having to refer to patterns or instructions. I started as a beginner not able to figure my own dimensions. Now I have confidence to do just that. Yes, very happy I purchased this class and am happy with the confidence it has given me. Thanks Betz and creative live Cheers Lynnette


I enjoyed this class very much. Great class for the beginner who wants to fine tune their techniques. The instructor is very knowledgable and guides you through the ins and outs of making a better bag. I am looking forward to her next class, I believe it airs the end of January. Thank you Betz

a Creativelive Student

Betz is organized, pleasant, and interesting. I am enjoying her courses. I watched a free preview, and that sold me on getting all of her classes. Love you, Betz!

Student Work