Welcome to Day 2 in my journey through the construction of my Shelburne Falls Contest Entry. I’m so glad you made it back!
Let’s Get Started
So here we are at the threshold of my new adventure. Let’s not waste any more time. These are the options I chose for my Tag-Along hybrid.
Pattern Supply List:
- (24) 5″ charm squares (I am using Shelburne Falls Charm Pack)
- 3/4 yard main fabric (I chose the Circle Square Lilac)
- (1) fat 1/4 accent fabric (I selected Dress Floral Lilac)
- 3/8 yard lining fabric (I’m using Deco Fans Lilac)
- (1) fat 1/4 binding fabric (I selected Crest Blue)
- 14″ x 24″ fusible craft-tex
- 1/2 yard of light fusible interfacing
- 9″ x 12 1/2″ vinyl (I used fabric instead)
- (1) 14″ zipper (I didn’t use this)
- 3″ of Velcro
- (2) 1″ buttons (I used three)
Before cutting anything I took time to starch and carefully press my fabrics.
Next I sorted through the charm pack deciding which pieces I would use and which ones I would not. After organizing them into colors it dawned on me I would have to use all (30) pieces. The pattern only calls for (24) but since I am making my bag larger I will need all (30) charm squares. No need to eliminate any squares. On to cutting.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
How does that famous saying go? “Measure twice, cut once.” Or was it, “Measure once, cut twice?” I get confused? Perhaps that’s why I can be prone to making mistakes. Cutting the charm squares makes me a little nervous. The jagged edges make cutting the squares a bit challenging. When measuring, the outer most edge of the points is where you place your ruler. Accurately seeing the points through the ruler is where I struggle.
For this project I needed (90) 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ strips.
After successfully cutting all (90) I organized them first by color family and then in groupings of three. Three strips are sewn together to make each rail fence block.
Let’s Go To The Sewing Machine
Once my strips were sorted I began sewing them together. I chain pieced the first two strips of each block, snipped the blocks apart, then carefully pressed open their seams. The third strip was then added to each of my rail fence blocks. Adding the third strip meant my (30) rail fence blocks were now assembled. All I had left to do was press open their seams.
I laid my blocks out on a cloth I use for starching. I’ll have to tell you the story about that cloth some time.
I lightly sprayed the front side of each block with Best Press then left them to rest for a short time. Next I took each one to my ironing board placing them with the right side down. Each seam was carefully pressed open. I prefer to press from the wrong side because I have better control of my seam directions. I also prefer pressing the seams open rather than to the left or to the right. When I do it that way I think I get a much flatter seam. Here’s a photo of my blocks on the starching cloth.
Move This One There
With the blocks all pressed and ready to go came the never-ending process of arranging them. Each grouping needed 15 blocks. I divided the pile of rail fence blocks into smaller piles. Next I moved and moved and moved them around until I was satisfied with the outcome. Here’s one set.
Now it was back to the sewing machine. I stitched the rail fence blocks into segments of three, starched and then pressed them. I now had five rows of three blocks each. Those five rows were attached together to form one side of the Tag-Along tote. I repeated the same steps with the other fifteen rail fence blocks, then starched and pressed them as well. Our rail fence blocks are now finished.
Shall We Meet In The Middle?
Time to begin constructing the Tag-Along modified tote. Next up in the directions is the attachment of a 4 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ (I cut mine 15 1/2″) outside bottom strip cut from my Circle Square Lilac fabric. I pinned the strip to one of the rail fence blocks, right sides together (rst), matching together the 12 1/2″ (mine was 15 1/2″) edges.
A 1/4″ seam was sewn. The same steps were repeated with the other rail fence blocks. Once I finished stitching the second rail fence and the outside bottom strip together I pressed the seam.
Not all of the supplies needed for my Tag-Along were available at Fabricworm. Some items had to be purchased locally. The Tag-Along pattern calls for craft-tex. Craft-tex is something I was not at all familiar with. Before going to my local discount fabric store I searched on the internet for craft-tex. Unfortunately I came up empty-handed. Their answers to my question had nothing to do with my desired outcome.
While shopping at the discount fabric retailer I asked for assistance in locating craft-tex. The exceptionally helpful lady told me to search for double-sided fusible interfacing. Once I knew that was what I needed my search became much easier. I ended up with Peltex 72F Double-Sided Fusible Ultra Firm Stabilizer.
My Tag-Along tote is now ready for the fusible stabilizer. Sandwiched together will be the just-finished rail fence blocks, our double-sided fusible stabilizer and a 12 1/2″ (I used 15 1/2″) x 22 1/2″ piece of the Deco Fans Lilac for the lining. Before sandwiching all three layers together the fabric for the lining needed to be cut. Here comes screw-up # 1. Remember earlier how we discussed the mantra of, “Measure twice, cut once?” Well I guess I kind of forgot that mantra when I cut the fabric for the lining. I followed the pattern instructions exactly. Normally that would have been super. However, remember I decided to modify this pattern. When I cut the fabric for the lining I forgot to use my modified measurements. Oops! I just created myself a problem.
I paused for a while to ponder my solution. The fabric I had leftover was not long enough to accommodate the measurement of 22 1/2″ so somehow I had to make up for the shortfall. My fabric was purchased on the internet, which meant I couldn’t just drive to the store to secure another piece. Besides I had fabric left, just not enough to cut a 22 1/2″ piece. I did, however, have enough to piece one together. I’m very conservative when I cut fabric. I always try to cut my pattern pieces in a way that leaves as much useable fabric as possible. That way when I screw up, which I undoubtedly will, I have a greater chance of being able to fix my mistake. Also, the larger left over pieces make wonderful specimens for future projects.
The only way I knew how to fix my issue was to piece the lining together. Since that was my only option I followed through and created a new lining.
If you look closely you will see the seams where I pieced together the segments. Notice how the section in the middle’s pattern runs in a different direction. I figure this added section is in the middle of the Tag-Along modified version anyway. I doubt it will be that noticeable and truthfully I really don’t care. On to the next step.
Make Mine A Fabric Sandwich!
Per the pattern instructions it’s now time to fuse together the rail fence segment, the double-sided fusible stabilizer and my improvised Deco Fans Lilac lining. I’ve never had experience with this stabilizer so this will be a learning experience.
The instructions were quite simple. I sandwiched together the rail fence blocks, the double-sided fusible stabilizer and the lining. Next I pinned and lightly pressed together all three layers. Then I removed the pins and, using a damp pressing cloth (I used a white dish towel), securely fused both sides of the sandwich. When I was finished my fabric layers were slightly damp. I continued ironing the fabric until it felt dry to the touch. In no time I successfully completed the prescribed steps.
Hooks & Loops
The only thing left to do to the fabric sandwich was attach a small strip of Velcro. Velcro is something I typically have on hand so I didn’t bother adding it to my shopping list. I dug through my stash and located three options. The first was way too wide for this application. The second option was black. Given the colors incorporated in my fabrics I didn’t think that was a suitable option either. The final candidate was white and measured 5/8″ wide. This was the one I chose. I cut the required piece and machine stitched it in place. After clipping my threads and looking back at the package I was amused to find a copyright date of 1991. I guess that Velcro has been around for a while. Next up, the handles.
That’s Enough For Now
I think I have worked you hard enough for today so let’s stop here. Hopefully I haven’t bored you to death. If you are still with me then make sure to stay tuned for Day 3. Until then have a wonderful day!