Sunday, May 26, 2013

Let's finish that hex bag!

Okay, I'm back with the end of the hex bag instructions. As I'm working my way through it, I realized that for this size, you can actually make a bag out of 2 fat quarters of the exterior fabric and 2 fat quarters of the interior fabric. So, you can have fun picking out fat quarters!

I did make one slight change between the last post and this. I opted to not include the instructions for the bag handles.

For the refresher:

Remember the 1/2 inch seam allowance!

For the exterior, start by ironing on the fusible quilted backing to your exterior piece. Then, with right sides together, pin the sides and the long bottom. Back stitch at the start and end, and sew along the three sides.
Exterior  - sew three sides

As with the interior, press the corner seams flat so that you match up the seams. Check the inside of the bag to make sure the seams are meeting and pin the outside along the seam. You can check both sides to make sure the pins are entering and exiting along the seam. Measure in from the very corner 2 inches and draw a line perpendicular to the seam. This line should be about 3 inches long. Now, sew along the line. It is very important to backstitch here. Repeat on the other side.
Sew the side bottoms

Trim the fabric to 1/4 inch from the seam. Turn the bag exterior right side out.
Trim corner

For the bag bottom, cut from the plastic mesh a piece that is 3 inches by 10 inches. To double check this measurement, measure along the seams at the bottom of the bag. You may need to trim the mesh down a little more. You just want it to fit the bottom and lie flat. I like to pin this to the bottom with safety pins while I install the feet to make sure it doesn't move.
Cut the plastic mesh

To mark the location of the feet, I measure in 3/4 of an inch from the long side and 1.5 inches down from the short side and mark the fabric. I will mark it with a pen or a sharpie because you're going to be making an incision right through the marking and the feet will end up covering the ink.
Measure for bag feet

Using your seam rippers, make a 1/4 inch incision for each bag foot. Depending on the size of the square of the mesh, you may also have to cut the mesh slightly for the bag feet to fit through the mesh.

Insert the feet from the bottom to the inside of the bag. You may need to use plyers to slightly separate the two prongs. Once there is enough of a separation, use your hands and bend the prongs down. Do this for all of the feet. The bag feet are now holding together your plastic mesh and the fabric.
Insert bag foot

Bend prongs of bag foot to secure

When all the feet are installed, the inside of the bag should look like this:
Bag feet installed

The bottom exterior looks like this:
Bottom exterior with feet

And now for the magical last steps
The exterior piece is right side out. The interior piece is wrong side out. Place the exterior piece inside the interior piece so that right sides are facing each other. Start by matching and pinning the seams. Once the seams are pinned, pin around the sides.
Pinning the exterior and interior together
Sew around the top edge of the bag with your 1/2 inch seam allowance, being careful at the seams. You can backstitch at the start and end, or stitch straight through while making sure that the first and last stitches overlap and lock. You want these stitches to be locked in place. Trim your threads.

Remember, the bottom of the interior lining is open. Reach your hand through and pull the bag exterior out.
Pull the exterior out

Seat the interior inside the exterior. Press the top seams and topstitch around the edge. Try to stitch as close to the edge as possible, while catching all layers of fabric. Be careful at the side seams so that you don't end up introducing any pleats.
Press and topstitch along the top edge
Now, to finish off the sewing, pull the interior back out. Press a half inch seam allowance into the two open sides. Pin the gap together, matching the folds and top stitch the bottom closed, remember to back stitch at the start and end.
Topstitch the interior bottom seam

If the hex frame is fully closed, and the screws are in, you'll need to remove the screws first. The easiest way I've found to insert and remove the screws is to hold the frame in the open position so that the two sides are lying in a flat straight line. Sometimes, a third hand is useful here. Once it is open, you can push the screw in or out.

Once you have the frame disassembled, slide each frame piece through the frame casing. I like to lead with the side with one hole.
Insert the hex frame

Hold the end open and put the pin in. Repeat on the other side.
Hold the frame open

And now, the bag is done!!!
Finished bag, open

I hope you had fun with this tutorial and were successful in your bag making attempt. I've shown you my thought process in the pattern drafting and how the bag was created so you can use different sized frame and make different sized bags based on this basic concept.

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