Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Barrel Bag Sew Along Instructions: Week 3

Sew Along: Week 3

barrel bag tutorial
Barrel Bag 

This week your bag will really begin to take shape! We will be inserting the zip. 

I would first just like to point out that, shockingly, I forgot to do what I am about to instruct you to do! Apologies in advance for this, I just got too excited! 

Next Step:

It is necessary to finish the raw edges where the zip will be inserted. These are the edges of your main fabric which measure 52cm. 

By 'finish' I simply mean that we cannot leave the fabric with the raw edges it has at the moment because it will fray. You can either

- overlock these edges,
- run a zig zag stitch along them,
-or, bind them with bias binding.

You have a 1.5cm seam allowance here, so make sure whatever finish you use stays within this distance of the edge of the fabric. 

The Zip:

Don't be afraid of the zip! We are going to topstitch it in place. Your zip should be about 45cm/18".

Place your now-finished edges together and line them up as if you are going to sew down them, joining them, with the RS's of your bag together. Be sure to keep the handles out of the way. 

Taking a 1.5cm seam allowance, sew about 5cm down the edges, then stop, backpacking securely. Turn the bag around and do the same at the other end. 

how to sew a zip
tack in a contrasting colour

Use chalk or a fabric marker to draw a line 1.5cm from the edges running along the rest off this edge we are working on. 

Then, preferable in a contrasting colour, make a neat line or tacking stitches along the line you have drawn. Make these stitches as straight as possible. 

inserting zip
seam pressed open

Press this seam open, along the whole length of the machine stitches and tacking stitches. A long thin sleeve board is useful here if you have one. 

Next, pin and tack your zip into place, so that the teeth are carefully positioned where the bag will open (under your contrasting tacking stitches).

For sewing in the zip, you can use your one-sided foot. However, when I have bulky fabric I often like to use my walking foot for sewing in zips. This helps to prevent the puckering that sometimes happens.

sewing machine walking foot
walking foot

Making sure your needle will not hit the zipper teeth (this will most likely break it), and starting with the zip closed, sew in a neat box down one side of the zip, across the end if you can, and up the other side and the opposite end. You will need to move the zip handle a little as you get to the end of your box- leave the needle down through the fabric so as not to interrupt your line of stitching. 

Remove the rest of your contrasting tacking (you will most likely have had to remove a little already in order to sew the box all around your zip). This is where the contrasting colour is really useful: you know easily that these stitches can be removed. 

Also remove the tacking that held your zip in place as this is no longer needed. 

Open your zip- both to check that it all works, and in preparation for the next step!

Well done! 

sew zip bag instructions
barrel bag with zip

Thank you if you have tagged me on social media (here or here) to let me know how you're getting on. I love seeing all of your fabric choices. And don't forget, if you need any clarification just use the contact form to the right and I will try to explain anything that might seem confusing. 

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