Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thirty-One Utility Tote Liner Sew Along Part 5 - Homestretch! Liner Construction

We're almost there! All that's left is to construct the liner using the parts and pieces we've prepared -- what we're going to do today -- and then to attach it to the bag.  Let's get this puppy together!

First, if you're just joining us, you might want to check out the first few steps of putting the tote liner together:

- project planning and fabric prep
- cutting and interfacing the pieces
- preparing the organizing pocket pieces
- attaching and dividing the pockets

Referring to the original diagram from our planning stage, you should have two long side panels (A) with divider pockets attached, two narrow end panels (B) and a bottom panel (C).  

Take an end panel and lay it right sides together against one of the side panels, lining up the seams on the right side.  See below.  I probably should've reversed the top and bottom here, but I worked with the space I had.  ;)  So the bottom shows the pieces side by side.  The top shows the end panel laid properly on top of the side panel and lined up on the right edge. 

Before you seam these pieces together along the right edge, measure up 1/2 inch from the bottom and mark the spot with a pin.

When you seam the end panel to the side panel, you should start at the top and stop at this pin.  Do NOT sew through to the bottom.  Sometimes it helps me remember this if I mark the bottom with a different colored pin than the rest of the seamline.  Here, after the yellow pins, the purple pin signals to me that I need to remember to stop sewing.

Stitch the panels together with 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Repeat with the remaining end and side panels.   You should have two units that look the same.  See?

Turn one unit over on top of the other.  Line up both the left edges and the right edges.  Leaving the last 1/2 inch unsewn as in the last step, pin and seam.

Once you complete this step, you should have a bottomless box.  Like so...

Next, pin the bottom to the sides, right sides together, matching the edges. 

Here's another view, once it's pinned.  Do you see now why we didn't sew the last 1/2 inch of the side seams together?  If you had, you wouldn't be able to pin the sides to the bottom now...

Using 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew the bottom of the bag to the sides of the bag.  Seam the piece with the bag bottom against the feed dogs and the bag sides facing up.  You will stop and start 1/2 inch from either end, then clip your threads and start again on the next side.  You should do this on all four sides.

If you do this properly, your 1/2 inch seam should hide the basting you did earlier to hold the pocket strips in place on the side panels.  (That's why we basted at 1/4 inch...if you always baste 1/4 inch from the edge and then seam 1/2 inch from the edge, you will hide your basting stitches...)

Be sure to keep the other sides of the bag from getting folded under when you're putting the bottom in.  See below how I've made sure the next side is pulled away from where I'm about to sew?  That way, I don't inadvertently create a weird tuck in the bag or -- worse -- have to rip it all out and do it over.


Only one more step to go!!  Hang in there...we're almost done!  Oh, and thanks for being patient with my lag between posts, especially when we're so close to done.  My house must have a revolving door, because we've had lots of guests lately!  ;)

Here's the link to the Part 6 of this tutorial -- the final step to our sew along!