so you’ve bought the pattern and started thinking about what fabrics you will use. Certainly you’ve read the pattern from start to finish, because that’s what we all do, and you’ve cut out the pattern pieces needed! So did you decide on the Large size or Small Maker’s Tote?
Well, since I’m taking it easy on this Sew Along, my new Maker’s Tote is going to take a few days. Today, I cut my fabric for the Small size exterior, cut the Foam interfacing to fit the exterior and also cut the pieces for the round pocket on the front and the zipper pocket on the back. It took me a few moments to choose the zipper color, but instead of a black metal zipper, I thought a nice dark cherry metal zipper for the back zippered pocket would match nicely with the Cotton and Flax Linen Cotton Fabric. I did not make the contrast binding, but I will.
I know that doesn’t sound as if I can give you any tips, but here it goes. After I cut my foam interfacing, I always, zig zag around the perimeter of the interfacing. Why? The zig zag stitches compresses all around the interfacing and it makes it easier to apply the binding at the end. It’s a bit of a pain to do and slows me down, but I have learned this zig zagging pays off in the end. Try it…you’ll thank me later! If you have a keen eye, you will notice I also zig zag the middle of the interfacing. You don’t need to do this. I do it because it helps me line up the interfacing with the seam of the exterior fabric, but there’s no need…just a little OCD on my part (or rather CDO the letters in the right order please!)
Next I added the much thought over recessed zipper to the back of the Tote exterior pieces. The pattern has wonderful instructions on how to do this. It is the way I apply most of my recessed zippers whether internal or external. I say MOST because on Anna Graham’s newest pattern the Traverse Bag (excellent bag, by the way) the external zipper is installed a bit differently and it should be.
I also fused my foam to my exterior piece. Now, I’ll be honest. I don’t usually add the zippered pocket on the back of the Tote. I don’t add it because I don’t like how the foam interfacing looks a bit loose around the recessed pocket pieces. I love a tailored bag. Which is one reason why I use a fusible Foam interfacing…you don’t have to, but I prefer it. If you read the paper which comes with the foam interfacing, you will note, that it calls for a damp cloth. If you use fusible foam interfacing with your Maker’s Tote, make sure you use a damp cloth as you iron. It truly makes a difference to eliminate wrinkles and sagging. But be careful, the damp cloth gets very hot, so watch where your hands. I’m glad I added the zipper pocket to this one!
Last but not least is the contrasting, oh so clever, rounded pocket! Such a great opportunity to create interest! In the pattern, and on so many pictures of the Maker’s Tote, you will find a heavy duty snap right in the middle of the pocket top. I really love the look of the snap, but honestly, I always have trouble snapping it. So for me, it’s a “fake” snap and a pocket which doesn’t . It’s probably operator error, but I’m happy with just the look. If you find a way to get this snap to work, let me know. I’m sure it’s me. Now something I had not considered but @robotmomsews added a heart shaped lock closure to hers…check it out…gorgeous! So the message is, lot of options for personalizing on that pocket. You may or may not have noticed that I wait to add my front pocket until AFTER I fuse the foam interfacing to the exterior pieces…I like the puffiness of doing it this way, but again, your call.
Here’s the trick with getting rounded corners on that pocket and stitching to drop over dead for! Once you sew your (interfaced) outer round pocket piece to its lining (using a small stitch length (2 mm), before you turn your pocket to the right side, trim your interfacing close to the stitches on the rounded corner (see picture) and also trim the corners, to eliminate bulk. BE VERY CAREFUL TO SEPARATE THE INTERFACING FROM THE FABRIC BEFORE YOU TRIM. Use a point turner to work on your points and rounded corners. Oh yes, two more things…I don’t interface the outer pocket piece all the way to the top of the pocket. I usually leave 1/2″ on top without interfacing. This makes turning to the right side and turning an edge to finish closing the pocket crisp. Not interfacing to the very top is easy to forget, but once you forget and your pocket lip is a bit messy, you’ll remember next time! Don’t forget! And now, for the stitching…simple…use an edge stitch foot and a 3mm stitch length! Yes, it’s a pain to switch your foot and change your stitch length, but you will love the look! I promise!
Well, that’s a bit to remember, so I will call it a day. Tomorrow, I will work on the lining and all the great features it has for makers…hence the name! There will be more tips and pictures on that as well. Hope your Maker’s Tote is coming along, or at least the thought of making one, is becoming doable.