Here's what the sewalong will look like over the next few days:
- Day 1 (that's today): Preparing the pattern, cutting the fabric and interfacing, and fusing the interfacing
- Day 2: Sewing handles and handle connectors, and creating pockets
- Day 3: Final assembly of bag
- Take the pattern to your local office store and have the pattern copied
- Use your own home copier to copy the sections of the pattern you'll need
- Trace the pattern onto tissue paper or tracing paper (this may be the simplest/cheapest option)
- Trace the pattern onto quilter's templates (this is the option I chose)
I often write myself a list of what to cut from each material, but the book already has it laid out in that format, so I just followed along straight from the book. Once you're done, go through the list one last time to make sure you've got everything. For cutting, I like to start with my interfacing. For this bag, the lining is all interfaced with shapeflex, so I cut my interfacing first, then fused it to my lining fabric, and then cut out my lining fabric - this helps save a bit of time by not having to trace the pattern onto my lining fabric. Make sure to cut on the fold. Some other people save cutting time by simply interfacing the entire yardage of the lining fabric, and then tracing and cutting both together; this option does save time, but it isn't a very frugal method. You can also use the interfaced lining fabric as your pattern piece for when you cut the foam - this way you don't have to fold the foam in half and it allows for more accurate cuts. For my exterior fabric, I used my clear templates, and this helped me visualize the design of my exterior fabric so I could have it just where I wanted.
If you like, you can secure the foam interfacing to the exterior fabric at this point. I find the Flex Foam, similar to the Soft and Stable, has a nap to it, so the fabric stays in place quite well. To secure the foam to the fabric, simply sew a basting stitch with 1/8" seam allowance along all the edges. If you used fusible fleece, then you'll want to fuse at this point instead of the basting stitch.
I highly recommend following the book's suggestion and cutting the pocket trim on the bias, instead of a straight grain cut. It's a small piece, so won't "waste" a lot of fabric cutting on the bias. We'll be using this piece on a curve, so the bias cut will allow us to place the trim along the curve nicely.
Once everything is cut and fused/basted, place it in a pretty pile and gather your matching hardware, thread, and zippers, and come back here for Day 2 of the sewalong to get started with pockets and handles.