Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bag Making Basics Part 4.................fabric

I was pretty busy last few days making new purses for my shops that I just did not get any time to continue with my bag making basics series:(
Anyways today I am going to write a post on the all important Fabric.
After learning the basic sewing terms,needles & threads its natural to understand what fabrics are best to make purses.
There isn't really a set fabric,you get to choose between lots of fabrics.......................from silks,brocades,canvas,cotton,leather,vinyl etc etc.

1. When you are just starting to make a purse for the first time,take a walk around your house before you head to the store or buy fabric online.I am sure you will find tons of fabric which can be used to make purses.
Go in for a sturdy fabric,not too thin,not too thick.Avoid stretchy material too..........its a pain getting the shape right.
Think of old curtains,tablecloths,linen..................I have made a purse out of a wrap around skirt too!!!
You can get the tutorial here.

2. Try out good quality thick cotton,burlap or hemp for beginners.............as you get more accomplished you can move on to silks & brocades.Leathers,should always be tried when you are fairly confident of your sewing skills!!

3. Decide what kind of purse you want before choosing a fabric.................lets say you want a nice evening  clutch you can go in for some blingy fabric but also keep in mind that you will have to add layers of interfacing and interlining & you don't want too many layers otherwise its gonna be really difficult to sew!!!!
If you want to make a daily use bag or diaper bag,go in for a nice cotton print in bright & cheerful colors;)
Well that would be my first choice,you decide as per your color preference.

4. If the fabric is washable always pre -wash & pre- shrink it before you sew it................I know it adds one more step to your purse making & I too hate doing it,but you don't want your outer purse fabric to shrink on your interfacing if you ever spill something on the bag & have to wash it..................or you can always carry it in a transparent bag so you never need to wash it;)
OK..................I have a sad sense of humor but you get the point:)

5. Choose good quality interfacing & interlining....................now when I started out I used to get confused between interlining & interfacing.Here's the deal-
you have one outer fabric right?
you also have a lining
to the outer fabric & lining you may want to add interfacing to make it stiff or so that the fabric retains some shape................so now you have outer fabric stuck or sewn to interfacing & lining stuck or sewn to  interfacing,now you add another layer of batting or flannel before the final assembly.This is the interlining.Many patterns do not call for interlining,but if you feel your purse needs more body & suppleness you can add interlining.Always cut the interlining half an inch smaller than the interfacing otherwise you are going to break a lot of needles sewing up all those layers together!!!!!

6. If you decide to add an interlining its a good idea to put interlining directly on the outside fabric & then iron on the interfacing...................it is much easier & you do not have to worry that your interlining is not even!!!!

7. Next important thing to chose is your lining.Always choose a good quality sturdy fabric .I use unbleached cotton a lot.I also like to use cotton twill.If your outside fabric is busy go in for a plain lining & vice versa.
 8. You can make the handles too in the same fabric or if you are running short of fabric get innovative!!!!
Try an old belt ,cut out that old jeans or coat!!!         Seriously I am not kidding:)
You can make plain handles by adding interfacing & sewing them  straight or go in for variations like these.

get the tutorial to make this  here

See this tutorial to make these straps.

9. Once you are more confident then the world is your oyster.....try out silks,leather,canvas,vinyl,rexine........
There are plethora of online fabric stores so I am not going to write any specific one,though I never buy fabric online...............I need to feel the fabric between my fingers to get a feel of what I will end up with:)

10. Lastly enjoy  your fabrics & your creations.Dont be afraid to screw up!!!!



Wow, very informative and helpful!

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