Thursday, June 4, 2009

Birdie Sling tutorial

If you love this bag but don't want to make one yourself, please contact me for prices for a finished one.

Just to warn you this is a really long post. Please be patient with me, this is my very first sewing tutorial & there are a lot of steps here, so I hope I don't leave anything out or confuse you. Disclaimer: try not to get confused with the difference in patterns. I was actually making 3 bags at once (in an assembly line format). These bags are for my daughters to use as book bags next year, so I wanted them each to be a little different, but they are all using the same fabric.
This is an Amy Butler pattern so I can't share the actual pattern with you but if you do decide to purchase the pattern there may be some helpful hints here that aren't in the pattern instructions. I purchased my pattern from Henrietta's Handbags (great customer service-I had my pattern within 3 days of when I purchased it). There were a few things that were somewhat confusing for me, so I hope I can clear things up a little for you.

One tip before getting started...I used just regular iron-on interfacing on my first bag & then I went to the store & bought some nicer stuff (by the yard) which was a lot thicker & much more sturdy for making bags with. I would definately recommend the thicker interfacing for bags. It was only $1.97/yd. at Walmart.
Another tip: I found this material at Goodwill (a second hand store) in the form of king size sheets. I paid a total of $8 for both & made these three bags plus I have enough material for at least one possibly two more bags. My point here is to keep your options open, sometimes one persons trash is another's treasure. Sometimes you can find great deals in places you wouldn't expect.
Ok, here we go...
1. Cut out all pattern pieces from material & interfacing. Then iron-on all interfacing to pattern pieces.

2. Sew the pockets together with the right sides together (the interfacing should be on the outside so when you flip it it will be on the inside~as shown in Pic. A), leaving a 4 inch opening on one long end. Snip the corners off, being careful not to cut into your stitching (Pic B). Then turn the pocket right sides out.

hint: I use the end of my scissors (closed of course) to stick inside the pocket & poke into the corners to push the fabric out so it makes a nice corner.

Pic A
Pic B

3. Next, stitch your pocket to the lining 2-1/2 in. from the top of the lining & centering it. If it's a large pocket & you want it a little smaller you can stitch right down the center (Pic C) to make 2 pockets. This made the large pocket perfect for my wallet on one side & I put my sunglasses case on the other side with my keys. Make sure to back-stitch on both sides at the top of each pocket for extra reinforcement.

Pic C

Pic D

4. Make the pleats in the main exterior panel. Patterns always say to baste these down but I usually don't ever do this. I jsut keep them pinned & sew them down when it's time.
Pic E
5. Pin & sew the band to both main exterior panel & to both lining pieces.
Pic F
6. Press the seam allowance open.

Pic G

7. Stitch the main panels together, right sides together. Repeat with the lining. When stitching the lining, leave a 4" opening at the bottom (see pic I).

Pic H

Pic I
8. Clip out at the seam edge where the band & the main panel meet (also on the lining), making sure not to cut into your stitching. This may seem like a pointless step, but it's important for seams to lay right in the end.
Pic J
9. Ok, here's the tricky part. I hope I can explain this in a way that you can understand. Time to make the gussets. At each corner (in the main panel & the lining) lay the corners down flat into a triangle, matching the seams together (see Pic K). You can pin it, but I just hold it together & then turn the material right side out (while still holding the seams together) & check to make sure the seams are lined up (see Pic L). Then pin it 1-1/2 in. from the corner.
Pic K
Pic L

10. With the material still laying flat measure 4 in. up on both sides (Pic M) & make a little tick mark with a pen.
Pic M

Pic N
11. Now make a slightly rounded line connecting where the pin is to each tick mark (see Pic O).

Pic N
12. Now stitch along this line, making sure to backstitch at each end.
Repeat on the other corner of the purse.
Pic O
13. Cut excess corner off, leaving 1/2 " seam.
Pic P
14. Time to make the handle. Put both pieces right sides together, then stitch all the way up one side, back stitching at each end. Then stitch the other side leaving an 8" opening in the center, making sure to backstitch at each end. Then turn right side out pulling through that 8" opening (sorry I forgot to take a pic of this). Once you have this turned right side out, press & then edge stitch along each side, leaving the short ends open.
Pic Q

15. Turn the main exterior right side out. Then find the middle of the handle & pin it to the side (see Pic R) of the main exterior, matching the middle of the handle with the side seam.
Pic R

16. Repeat to attach handle to other side. Make sure you keep the handle straight & wrap it under the bag (see Pic S).
Pic S

17. Stuff the exterior panel inside the lining. Pin together, then stitch pieces together (pic T.1, T.2).
Pic T.1

Pic T.2
18. Through the opening at the bottom of the lining reach in & pull the main exterior panel through (see pic U & V) until the whole bag is through until it looks like pic W.

Pic U
Pic V
Pic W

19. Once the bag is all the way through, top stitch the lining closed. Then push the lining inside the main exterior panel until it looks like the bag you want. Top stitch over the edge at the top of the band giving the bag a finished look (pic X).
Pic X

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.
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