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

Tag-Along: Day 2 of 7


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.

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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.

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For this project I needed (90) 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ strips.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Looking good!

Craft Who?

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.

Oh, Oh!

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.

Improvise

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.

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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!