Thursday, June 28, 2007

As promised...

Here's the scoop on how I put together a 'simple' patch pocket for my quilted bags. You can see I had pieced the front, what I want to be the outside of the pocket...using some of that yummy strip pieced fabric among others. This is made the desired size plus seam allowances, 1/4" on each edge (the pocket finished measurements are the same size as the projected front of the bag. It'll help to give the bag dimension, body and a defined shape).

Next step is to layer the batting, outside of pocket and lining (last two layers right sides together). The lining and batting (in this case) are cut to the same size as the pocket. The reason I put the batting on the bottom is that I find the pocket and lining layer don't crawl on each other as badly as they do if they're on the bottom, so the pocket is less likely to come out trapezoidal.

Next, I stitched around the left, top and right sides (using my 1/4" seam allowance) - NOT the bottom edge. I clipped the corners, then turned the pocket right side out.

Once the pocket was turned right side out, ran a topstitch line across the top edge (this one was at 1/4" from the top, sometimes I do a different placement). At this stage I'll usually stitch some vertical lines to stabilize the piece and to emphasize the quilted texture...and most of all to help give the pocket vertical strength. In the early days of my bag making, I had a lot of difficulty with pockets sagging. Since doing the vertical stitching - almost not at all!

That's the basic method that I use. For this particular bag I made a smaller patch pocket to fit on the main front pocket (somewhere for my pen, and hotel room keys to go). With a bit of careful measuring it fit right in the middle, on the centre brown stripe.

In order to stitch that smaller pocket on I matched the raw edges at the bottom edge with the main pocket, then stitched from the bottom edge up each side of the small pocket (1/8") catching the edge of the small pocket, then continuing right on up to the top of the main pocket. (More of that re-enforcing vertical stitching!) Then I measured in and drew two chalk lines for pencil/pen slots. They were stitched the same way, from the bottom to the top, right on up and over the top edge of the small pocket (I do often backstitch here, as this is the place that gets the most strain) and right on up to the top edge of the main pocket.

I'll often layer pockets in this way. You'll see more of that with the pockets designed for the inside of the bag.

A little tip for really nice topstitching that I learned a long time ago was to use the blind hem foot, move the needle position over until it is about 1/8" to the left of the foot's 'fence'. Run the fabric under the foot so that the edge is against the 'fence' and the stitching will be on the left of that edge by 1/8". It's a slick trick, and works almost every time.You don't have to be so worried about following a seam guide, as the fence acts as a physical one for you. It is especially helpful for topstitching things like this where you can't see your usual seam guides on the machine bed.

For this (and most of my bags) I make the pockets all first, then put the whole works together at the end. This pocket (the bottom edge is still unfinished at this stage) was now put aside.

I guess my last post wouldn't be called a 'teaser' if all you wanted to see was the finished bag! I kind of gave the game away, with that.... You'll see, though, that there's a lot more to this than the final product. Man, I love process.



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