Friday, January 04, 2013

Thirty-One Utility Tote Liner Sew Along Part 2 - Cutting and Interfacing

Welcome back to the Thirty-One Utility Tote Liner Sew Along!  For the next step, let's focus on cutting and stabilizing our fabric.  If you're just joining us, welcome! ...and be sure to check out this posting to catch up.

What you see above is the entire layout for the inside shell of my bag liner.  Remember this list?

Last night I cut everything from the list except the fusible interfacing. 

Here you see the two large side pieces laid out on the fusible fleece for fusing.
Instead of cutting the interfacing pieces to fit my fabric, I decided I would fuse my fabric first and then cut the entire pieces from the fusible.  Everything fits a little better that way.  If you're unfamiliar with this technique or working with fusible interfacings, check out this post filled with lots of good tips for keeping it from turning into a frustrating mess.   I even updated it today with some new information!

First thing this morning, I started thinking about structure and support. This liner is going to be a bag in and of itself, and it needs plenty of body.  For my interfacing, I decided to work with fusible fleece.  The fleece will give the bag super-soft feel, offer more support to the structure than standard interfacing, and provide a good, heavy foundation for stitching the pockets.  (And it won't stress my machine like the stiffer sew-in I used for my diaper bag.  I swore I would NEVER put myself through that again!)

Everything is fused...ready to cut!

An important note about bag interfacings:

Usually, when you interface a bag, you attach the interfacing to only one layer of the bag.  That prevents too much bulk from building up.  Normally, you would attach the interfacing to the fabric pieces that make up the outside shell of the bag.  That gives the outside of your bag the body to look beautiful!  The lining, or inside shell is normally much looser and not interfaced.  

This time, I'm going to try something different.  This lining project is an entire bag in itself, but since the purpose is to line another bag, I want the inside of this bag to have more body.  I want the inside shell to look nice, and I need it to provide lots of support to the pockets and contents.  In that way, I'm going to do this opposite from most bag projects:  I'm going to fuse the interfacing to the inside shell.

If you're sewing along with me, I recommend NOT attaching fusible fleece to the pocket fabrics.  I have something different in mind for them.

The individual pieces should look like this once fused and cut.
One last thought as we jump into the fusing: 

In my interfacing tutorial, you may have noticed that bulky interfacings were the exception to the "fuse first" rule.  Instead, I cut bulky interfacings to size minus the seam allowances, so that when the project was constructed and turned, the piece had the body of the interfacing without the bulk in the seams.  The risk associated with that method is that the fusible will lose its grip and the interfacing no longer be bonded.  That's a minor risk with an item that won't be put through much abuse.

By fusing first and cutting second with this project, I've made a choice to have the fusible extend to the edges of my project.  By doing this, I can ensure the interfacing will stay put when the completed project is used, abused, washed and dried.  HOWEVER, the fusible will also add considerable bulk to one side of my seams, so it might be a mistake.

I guess we'll see, right?  :)

All inner shell pieces fused and cut out.  Ready to start construction!