Tag-Along Day 7 of 7


Friday’s are my favorite day of the week for two reasons.  The first is because it is the last day of the work week.  The second is because it’s when I get to share one of my favorites.  Today is super special since it’s also the reveal of my Tag-Along modified tote.

That’s A Wrap

Well I can’t believe it!  My very first This & That Tag-Along modified tote is complete.  When I started on this journey I had two goals in mind.  The main purpose was to construct a tote that would provide safe transportation for my iPad and companion keyboard.  My purse would have been the obvious choice but, if you are at all like me, carrying one more thing in my purse just wasn’t going to happen.  The second goal was to join up with the Stitched in Color Shelburne Falls Contest.  After all who doesn’t like a chance at winning something.

Once I declared myself a candidate for the contest I set out to create something that would satisfy both objectives.  The Tag-Along pattern had been purchased previously from one of my favorite local fabric stores.  It, among other things, was waiting in line on my To Do List.  After seeing the gorgeous Shelburne Falls fabric it seemed only natural to pair up the two.

Over the past seven days I have taken you along on my journey in the construction process.  I’ve shared both my failures and successes, my likes and my don’t likes.  All in all I think it’s been a well-rounded adventure.  All that’s left now is the reveal of my finished masterpiece and linking up with Stitched in Color.  So, here we go.

Drum Roll Please!

Introducing my This & That Tag-Along modified tote constructed from Shelburne Falls fabrics

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There She Is!

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Her Bottom

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Her Pockets

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My Keyboard Pocket

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My iPad Pocket

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One Last Look

So What Do You Think?

Isn’t that the nicest tote bag you have ever seen?  Bet you would like one for yourself?  I can’t tell you how much fun I have had and how pleased I am with the outcome.

Now I have one really BIG favor to ask.  On Monday, April 8th Stitched in Color will select three of the items registered in her contest.  Those three items will compete for the contest prize, a fat quarter set of the complete Shelburne Falls collection.  The winner will be chosen by YOU! Now of course I’m hoping my fabulous Tag-Along modified tote will be one of the three finalists.  If by some strange reason that doesn’t happen I still need you to visit Stitched in Color’s blog to vote for your favorite. As soon as she announces her three finalists I will send you a link to vote.  Stay tuned for further updates.

If you would like to go back and re-live the construction from day one I’ve included links to the previous six posts here:

Day 1 of 7

Day 2 of 7

Day 3 of 7

Day 4 of 7

Day 5 of 7

Day 6 of 7

Tag-Along: Day 6 of 7


The journey is almost finished.  I started constructing my Tag-Along tote last Thursday.  Tomorrow’s the big reveal so we better hurry up and get this thing finished.  Oh, and don’t forget I’m entering my tote in the Stitched In Color Shelburne Falls Contest tomorrow.

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This is what the tote looked like yesterday.

Let’s Add the Pockets

We are now ready to position the pockets on the inside of the rail fence sandwich. Each pocket must be placed 2″ down from the 12 1/2″ (My modification:  15 1/2″) outside edge. Now grab the 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ (My modification:  15 1/2″) inside bottom strip. Turn under both long edges 1/4″, press. The pattern tells us the strip’s measurement, after pressing under 1/4″ on both long edges, should be 32″ x 12 1/2″ (My modification:  15 1/2″). The 32” has to be a typo because the strip started out at 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ (My modification:  15 1/2″). I believe they meant to say the strip will end up measuring 2″ x 12 1/2″ (My modification:  15 1/2″). Our newly created bottom strip is now ready to install.

To place the bottom strip in its proper location first place your rail fence sandwich lining side up. Lay the bottom strip, created above, in the center of the project, making sure the bottom edges of the pockets are covered. Once you are satisfied with the placement top-stitch along both long sides of the bottom strip close to the fold line.

We’re Rounding the Corners

After finishing the application of the pocket bottom strip we are told to baste around the rail fence sandwich, then round off the corners. It didn’t make any sense to me to baste around the perimeter first because the corners were going to be trimmed away.

(My modification: I marked and trimmed the corners using a small plate as my template, then cut along my drawn line with my scissors. After I had rounded the corners I basted around the entire outside edge.)

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Time to Seal it Up

My rail fence sandwich is now ready for binding. I can’t tell you how excited I am to finish my project. The excitement is barely manageable. Now that I’ve made it to the binding I can hardly stand it.

The binding was really kind of straight forward. The author of the Tag-Along recommended using 2 3/4″ bias binding. While I would agree that bias binding is a must, given the four curves you must maneuver around, I don’t, however, agree with the 2 3/4″ width.

(My modification: I used 2 1/2″ bias binding and I thought it was more than adequate.)

The bias binding was cut from the Crest Blue fabric. The author recommended purchasing a 1/2 yard. I would totally agree with this quantity. However, I will mention that you will have plenty of fabric left over.

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The Tag-Along pattern tells you to first stitch the binding onto the inside edge then turn it to the front and stitch down the other edge. For once I did exactly as the pattern instructed. Of course I did add one little step.

(My modification: On the top side of the rail fence sandwich I ran my iron along the binding with the intention of simplifying the stitching process.)

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The binding was incredibly easy to sew. As I turned first one corner, then the second corner, then the third corner my heart began to jump. I was ALMOST done! The anticipation grew and grew until finally I was on the home stretch. As I back-stitched a few stitches it was finally evident that I had indeed finished my very first Tag-Along tote. How awesome is that! Of course two small details were left to take care of. First was to see how my iPad and keyboard looked in their brand new tote bag and the second was to take a whole slew of pictures.

That’s A Wrap

Well I can’t believe it!  My very first This & That Tag-Along modified tote is complete.  All that’s left now is the reveal.  I know you would like to see the final project today but you will just have to wait until tomorrow when I will be linking my post with Stitched in Color’s Shelburne Falls Contest.  Until then here’s links to my previous posts:

Day 1 of 7

Day 2 of 7

Day 3 of 7

Day 4 of 7

Day 5 of 7

Tag-Along: Day 5 of 7


Today I’m multitasking.  It’s WIP Wednesday and time for installment # 5 of 7 for my Tag-Along tote. This tote will be entered in the Stitched In Color Shelburne Falls Contest on Friday. Not much time left so let’s get started.

Where We Left Off

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When we parted company on Day 4 we had just finished the pockets. Next up, tabs.

Tabs

There are two tabs. (My modification: three tabs.)

The tabs were cut from the Circle Square Lilac. Each tab has two pieces. Before proceeding with the assembly we must round off two of the corners.  These two corners will become the top edge of the tab. The pattern tells us to use a large spool for a template.

(My modification:  I chose to use a small bowl.)

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Here’s a photo of my curved edge.

We Need Velcro

After drawing the curved line a piece of Velcro was attached to the right side of the fabric 1/2″ down from the future curved end of the tab.

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The photo above demonstrates where the Velcro would be placed. Remember we are now looking at the right side (rs) of the fabric.  The curved line that we drew is on the underside of this tab.

Stitch the Tabs Together

Once the Velcro was attached it was time to stitch together the tab pieces. Two tab rectangles were layered right sides together (rst) to form one tab. A 1/4″ seam was stitched around three of the edges. The end opposite the curved edge was the one left open. The tab would be turned right side out (rso) through that opening.

Once stitched together excess fabric was trimmed from the curved edge, the tab was turned right side out (rso) and pressed. Leaving the raw edges untouched, I top-stitched along the remaining three edges.

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Pictured above are all three tabs complete with their Velcro, rounded edges and top-stitching.

Let’s Add an Embellishment

The very last little detail was to add an (optional) button to the front side of each tab. I dug through my button box for specimens. I easily came up with these three identical buttons. Because I hate hand-stitching buttons I sewed them on with my sewing machine.

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Here’s how my tabs looked.

Securing the Tabs

Time to attach the tabs to the rail fence sandwich.

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The first tab is attached to the outside of the rail fence sandwich. The tab should be centered along the outside edge (between the handles) with the Velcro side up. Make sure the tab is not placed on the rail fence sandwich edge where we attached Velcro way back on Day 2 of 7. The pattern tells you to pin it in place.

(My modification: I machine basted.)

The remaining two tabs are stitched on the lining side of the rail fence sandwich Velcro side down.

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Well that’s it for today.  There’s not much to finish.  Tomorrow’s the last day of construction and Friday’s the big reveal. Left on our to do list is the attachment of the pockets and center strip, trimming the corners and application of the binding.  I hope you’ll be able to be here for the finale.  It would be a shame for you to miss out.

I’m Linking Up

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced’s WIP Wednesday.  Make sure you pay a visit to her blog.  There’s so many wonderful projects to check up on.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Here are links to the Tag-Along previous posts:

Day 1 of 7

Day 2 of 7

Day 3 of 7

Day 4 of 7

Tag-Along: Day 4 of 7


Welcome back!  It’s been amazing to watch the progress on my Tag-Along tote.  If you’ve been following along then you know I’m entering this in the Stitched In Color Shelburne Falls Contest.  When we parted company on Day 3 this is how it looked.

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Next up, pockets.

Hold This For Me

The Tag-Along pattern includes two pockets. One is fashioned from fabric and closed with a Velcro tab. The other is constructed from vinyl and has a zipper closure. The fabric pocket was just fine for me. The vinyl one, however, I thought wouldn’t work so well with my iPad or keyboard. I opted to replace the vinyl pocket with a second one of fabric.

Let’s begin assembling our inside pockets. The front side of my pockets was cut from the Dress Floral Lilac and the back side from the Circle Square Lilac. Fused to the wrong side (ws) of both pieces was a layer of light fusible interfacing. Both pockets as well as the Tag-Along itself are secured with a tab closure. The tab closures were cut from the Circle Square Lilac. They too had a layer of light fusible interfacing ironed on to the wrong side (ws).

Let’s Get Rid Of Those Wrinkles

As I mentioned on Day 3 my fusible interfacing was pulled from my ancient stash. It was riddled with folds making an accurate cut slightly challenging. Last night I laid out the pieces on my cutting board. Then I placed a heavy object on top.  I hoped that by morning some of the creases might have disappeared. When I lifted the heavy object I was not at all surprised they were still there. I knew it was a long-shot but I had nothing to lose in trying.

Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions

When fusing interfacing, typically a pattern will instruct the user to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The instructions for my fusible interfacing had long since disappeared and I had no idea what brand it was. Taking a shot in the dark I set my iron to wool. To protect my pressing surface I put my applique pressing sheet down first, then my fabric pieces, and finally the fusible interfacing. Before laying the fusible interfacing on top of the fabric I made certain the shiny side was down. No fusing interfacing to my iron today. On top of the fusible interfacing I briefly applied light pressure with my iron. After fusing the interfacing to my fabric pieces it was time to begin sewing.

Let’s Put The Pieces Together

With right sides together (rst), I stitched the pocket lining to the pocket front along the bottom or 12 1/2″ edge (mine was 15 1/2″) using a 1/2″ seam. I laid the pocket unit on my pressing surface with the right side down.

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(My modification: before proceeding with the pattern instructions I chose to, from the wrong side (ws), press my seam open. The pressed seam allowed the fabric to lay much flatter for the next step.) I picked up the entire unit, flipped it over and laid it on my pressing surface with the right side (rs) of the fabric against the pressing surface. Grabbing the 12 1/2″ raw edge  of the pocket front (mine was 15 1/2″) I lifted it and pulled it up towards the 12 1/2″ raw edge of the pocket lining (mine was 15 1/2″).

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Matching raw edges together, I pressed along the fold. The Circle Square Lilac pocket lining  now extends 1/2″ above the Dress Floral Lilac pocket front.

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Time to top stitch both layers together just below the seam where the pocket front and pocket lining meet.

(My modification: I also basted the raw edges together to provide a bit of stability.)

Since I am making two of these pockets it was now time to repeat the above steps.

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Last but not least was the addition of Velcro. The Velcro was stitched on the center front 1 1/4″ from the top edge of the pocket.

You can see in my photo I have placed a pin at the pocket center and the edge of my ruler 1 1/4″ down from the top edge of the pocket. I machine stitched my Velcro on both pockets.

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This was the last step in the pocket assembly. When I was all finished I had two neatly constructed pockets.

Not Much Left!

I can’t believe we are almost finished. Assembling this Tag-Along tote has gone so smoothly.  Only three days are left. Thanks so much for sharing in my journey.  See you next time.

Here are links to the previous posts:

Day 1 of 7

Day 2 of 7

Day 3 of 7

Tag-Along: Day 3 of 7


You’re back!  Are you ready to get to work?  Time to make progress on our Tag-Along tote for the Stitched In Color Shelburne Falls Contest.

We Need Handles

A decked-out tote bag needs handles and this one is no exception.  There are two handles, each measuring 7″ x 14.” The fabric I chose for my handles is the Circle Square Lilac. Fused to the wrong side (ws) is a light-weight fusible interfacing cut the same size as the fabric.

The interfacing, just as with the Velcro, came from my stash. The interfacing was found tucked inside a box. When I removed it from storage it had obvious folds. Jokingly I thought how nice it would be to press out the creases. Of course that would be a terrible idea. What a disaster that would be. Without any challenges, I fused the interfacing onto the Circle Square Lilac.

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What Did That Say?

Have you ever read something over and over again yet still not understand what it says?  I have, multiple times.  The next steps, in creating the handles, were a little confusing. The printed words say, “With wrong sides together (wst) fold long edges of handle rectangle to meet in the center. Press. Fold in half and press. Fold in half again and top stitch . . .” They lost me after the first “press.” Here’s how I interpreted the instructions the first time:

1. I placed my first piece of fabric on my pressing surface (rsd).

2. Next I folded each long edge in toward the center line (wst) and pressed.

3. Next I folded the strip in half by meeting up the two long edges and pressing.

4. Again I folded it in half by meeting up the two long edges and pressing.

This method seemed a bit odd. On one edge of the handle was a nice fold. On the other there were multiple folds. I wasn’t at all happy with the outcome. Some how it just didn’t seem right. Either I totally misread the directions or there just had to be a much better way. It didn’t really matter who had the issue. I just knew I had to change it.

Let’s Do That Again

I read and re-read the instructions again. After digesting them I decided to do things a bit different. Here’s how I approached it the second time:

1. With my fabric flat on my pressing surface, (rsd), I folded one long edge in toward the center and pressed.

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Then I did the same thing to the other long edge.

2. Starting on the same side I used in step one above, I folded that edge in toward the center again and pressed. I repeated the same with the other long edge.

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3. Finally, I folded the first long edge over to meet the second long edge and pressed.

The end result gave me a closed fold on one edge and two folded edges on the other one. On top of that it looked much neater and was much easier to make than my first attempt. I repeated the same three steps with the second handle. With both handles neatly folded and pressed I top stitched them as directed.

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After completing the construction of the handles there was one last step to do.  All that was left was their installation onto the rail fence sandwich. If I had followed the instructions as printed, which I seldom do, I was told to pin the handles to the designated edge. I didn’t really like the idea of using the pins so I basted them in place.

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Here’s a photo of my Modified Tag-Along as it appears now.

My Tag-Along tote has come a long way since Day 1.  Left on our list of things to do are pockets, tab closures, binding and the very exciting reveal. It’s been so fun watching the transformation.  With only three days left I can’t wait until the reveal.  No sense getting ahead of ourselves.  Let’s take one day at a time.

That’s all for today! See you next time.  Oh, if you are interested in reading the previous posts for this project you may find links to them here:

Day 1 of 7

Day 2 of 7