Woohoo! It's time to finish our bags. Here's a recap if you're just joining us now, and looking for the other posts to catch up:
Before we can do the final assembly, we need to attach the handle extenders and rings. First, fold the curved end of each handle extender down by 3 1/4" and press in place. You'll want to have 2 matching sets of mirror image curved handle extenders. Using the pattern piece as a guide, place the handle extenders onto the exterior bag front and back, then pin in place and stitch along previous top stitching lines up to the crease line (the folded curved edge should be unsewn at this point). I drew a line along the crease to see it better for sewing. On the front of the bag, the handle extenders should be covering the side (raw) edges of the front pocket.
Now slide on the rectangle rings into the crease and fold back down. I used fusible webbing here to secure the folded ends back into position before I have a chance to stitch them onto the bag panels. Topstitch again along previous stitching and just under rings, about 1/4"; you may find a zipper foot easier here so you can get close to the hardware - I just moved my needle all the way to the left and used my regular foot and found it worked fine. Repeat for all extenders, so you have 2 on the front and 2 on the back.
Fold exterior bag bottom piece in half, matching short edges and follow measurements in book to cut your piece to size. I used my quilting ruler and rotary cutter. Once the exterior is done, use it as a template for the lining piece. I just laid the folded exterior piece over the folded lining and cut in place.
Fold each exterior main panel in half and finger press or use a marker to note the centres of the top and bottom of the panel. Mark a line in the seam allowance on the wrong side of the bag bottom 1/2" from each end. Match the centre of the exterior front panel with the centre of the bag bottom piece, and pin or clip in place. Then, working your way out from the centre, pin the rest of the bag bottom to the front panel. It should go up the sides about 6" from the top of the panel. Sew in place with a 1/2" seam allowance, starting and ending at the 1/2" line you marked previously, making sure to backstitch at start and stop. Repeat to attach other long edge of bag bottom to exterior back panel.
Now match up unsewn portions of front and back of bag and sew in place from top of the bag up to and just over the side seams, making sure to backstitch. Repeat all these steps for lining, except leave a 6-8" turning hole in the bottom of one lining/bag bottom seam. With the turning hole, it's important to backstitch at start and stop. Trim your seam allowances, but leave seam allowance over turning hole intact.
Now we need to install the magnetic snap in the lining. Alternatively, you can do this step before sewing the lining shell together. Use the washer from the snap to mark your slot placement 1 1/2" from the top of the bag, and centred. I like to use my seam ripper to make the holes for the prong slots. I use foam or fleece scraps on the back to reinforce the snap. You can look at page 88 of the book for more detailed instructions of the snap installation.
Once you have both exterior and lining shells done, turn exterior bag right side and put it inside the lining, so right sides of lining and exterior are together. Match up all the side seams and bag centres (previously marked). Pin or clip in place and sew lining and exterior along the top of the top of the bag.
Once you have sewn them together, turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining. (We're soooo close!) I used a turning tool at this point to make sure the tops of my bag were nice and sharp where they're supposed to be. Press along the top. I also use Wonder Clips to make sure the top stays nice and crisp before I topsitich. Then topstitch about 1/8" away from the top edge. Lengthening your stitch length here will allow for a nice, even look.
Tuck in the seam allowance of the turning hole, and stitch up, either by machine with a very small seam allowance, or by hand, with a blind stitch. Finally, attach the handles to the rings: Press the ends of each handle 1/2", then another 1" both to the back of the handle. Slide through the rings into the second crease, hiding the raw ends of the handle. Attach the other end of the handle to the ring on the same side of the bag, making sure the handle isn't twisted. Clip into place and repeat for other side of bag. Now's your chance to adjust the length of the handles if you want. Once you're sure you're happy with the handle length, sew in place, securing with a stitched rectangle. If you like, add rivets too.
Now give the whole bag a nice press and show it off!
To be eligible to win a prize, use #HeyMercedesSAL on Instagram to post a picture of your completed bag. You can also use this hashtag to share your progress - it's so fun to see what everyone is up to. Just make sure your account isn't private, otherwise I won't be able to see your pictures. If you prefer, you can send me a picture of your completed bag; just upload it through my contact page. You have until March 31, 2016 to complete your Hey Mercedes bag for the contest. Contest open internationally.
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Hi! I'm Reece and I love to sew! I'm also a mom and a wife. I love being crafty and sharing tips.
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