Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sew-a-long day 5

Making Straps

Finally, our first day of sewing!  Actually we will be doing a little sewing and a ton of ironing!

Today's topic will be straps.  There are all kinds of straps you can make for bags, but the straps we are making are only 1/2" finished ( remember... the purse/wallet pattern from byAnnie is very, very small!).
  1.  CUTTING... You may remember on our last sew along day we talked about "dog leg cuts". Well this is definitely a time when you want to take special care in your cutting.  You want your straps to be STRAIGHT, so take special care when you cut them.  If I had my choice, I would almost always cut my straps from the LOF so that they would have very little stretch. I love nice sturdy handles.
  2. a must. I like to use a heavy weight fusible interfacing on the wrong side of quilting cottons when I make straps for a bag. I want the handles to last as long as my bag, and this will help!
  3. IRONING... accurate ironing will make your straps look more professional. Sometimes I see students iron their straps and the come out all wavy.  I always recommend a dry iron.  Steam will cause your fabric to stretch especially if they haven't been cut right on grain...( which I have to say is almost impossible unless you rip your fabric)
  4. STITCHING... Straight stitching is the final perfect finish for a strap. If you have trouble sewing straight lines, a long zig zag or a decorative stitch can often hide any little glitches, not to mention they look nice on some straps. (These straps are way too narrow, so I have some hints to help you with your straight stitching.)
The thing I like about the byAnnie patterns is that she likes to have you get all your parts made at the beginning so you can steadily sew to the finish line, with straps, pockets, tabs, and zipper pulls ready to go beforehand.

Here's my steps to successful handles.  

( straps are cut, we did that last time!)

Usually when you make straps you will have to cut several  strips to get one strip long enough to make your strap. I like to join my strips the same way I join my binding strips...

Once the strips are joined, I take them to the ironing board and press the seams open. Then I trim the allowance down to about 1/8".

I like this method because it is much easier to open the seams when the seam allowance is big compared to trimming them down 1/8" and then trying to open them! Also,  The smaller seam allowance takes away a lot of the bulk in the folded strap.

Joined Strip

Press seam allowance open before cutting
Opened seam

Trim to 18" or less

Seam falls open after trimming. Press well!

Now these next steps add a few extra moments to your strap making time, but I am never disappointed with the final result so it is worth it!

The next step is to add your interfacing.

 I try to be very careful with this cutting step as well. If the interfacing has a "dogs leg" in it, it will drag your fabric into the same shape. It's really important to use the same care in cutting your interfacing that you took with your  fabric.

My method for attaching the iron on interfacing, takes a little more time,but tends to be very accurate. 

With right sides together I fold and press the interfacing using my wooden roller pressed.(mountain)

I love this little wooden roller for lots of things.
In this case it is necessary, but any wooden  pressing tool would work.

Press the interfacing right sides together to form a crisp fold on the right side. (Mountain)
Make sure you don't use your iron on this!
I might have to do a tutorial on how to get all that sticky stuff off it!

With wrong sides together I press my strap strip together, using my iron. (Valley)

Press the strip wrong sides together to form a soft fold on the wrong side. (valley)

I carefully place my "mountain" fold of my interfacing into my "valley" fold of my strap. This way my interfacing is absolutely centred on my strap!  This works perfectly when your interfacing is not cut as wide as your strap.
Matching the "Mountain" to the "Valley" makes it easy
 to correctly place your interfacing on your strip.

Once the interfacing is pressed to the strap you are ready to fold.

Each raw edge is pressed to the centre fold.

I like to press one side at a time. Because of the interfacing and fabric,
 you have to apply the heat a little longer
and the fabric gets hot and so do my fingers.
I sometimes like to use a bias tape maker, but usually I have this job done before I can find the bias tape maker. With something this small, I usually press one side at a time, so the fabric has time to cool between sides.
This is a 1" bias binder.
Next, the now 1 inch strap is folded in half again, pressed, and ready to sew.

I like to use a dab of Elmer's School or Washable Glue, to hold the two sides together neatly as I press. This way no pins are needed when I am ready to sew!
I am well known as the glue lady, because I have lots of uses for
Elmers Washable or School Glue.
I buy it in every shape container available,
and this is one of my favorites.
Your straps are ready to sew!
Sewing these tiny straps can be difficult, but I use an edge foot or blind hem foot (Foot 10 for Bernina users), to keep the edges in line as I sew down each side with a slightly longer than normal stitch... 3.0 usually works nicely.   I also like a 30 weight thread ( I used Superior Sew Fine #30) for this step, with a Superior Titanium Topstitch size 16 needle.

The edge foot keeps your fabric edge in place.
Move your needle over to the right spot to sew just off the edge.

The finished strap, front and back. I love the look of the 3.0 stitch length.

Ok... the straps are made and we are ready for the next step. See you Friday!

Note... I do not work for byAnnie, Elmers Glue or Superior, or Bernina just in case you have forgotten!

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