Yesterday I wrote about an element of the bag lining that I was working on for my latest bag sewing project, but today I have moved to working on the construction of the exterior. Again I have decided to work a few very minor changes to my previous bags, and these are tiny details that will go unnoticed by anyone but me, but I am working incrementally on these tiny elements whilst I develop a few additional skills and idea of my own.
Neither a technique nor a skill, one slight change is in the type of interfacing I am using. My first bags all used a medium weight fusible interfacing, but my last bag (the one made from tape-measure design fabric) used fusible fleece to add extra bulk and substance to the bag. The project I am working on at the moment also uses fusible fleece, but I am using a different brand that is a lot softer but also a lot more lofty.
I was nervous that it was going to add a little too much substance to the bag and thought it might feel like sewing through loft insulation, but I my sewing machine is just about coping and the larger size of the bag means that the extra fabric bulk will not look out of scale.
I wanted to make a feature of the pleats but give the front a wider flat panel as I thought that the tartan-style design of the fabric lent itself neatly to some almost kilt-like styled pleating. I lined the pleats up to highlight specific areas of patterning in the fabric, concentrating on the strong horizontal and vertical lines.
The thicker fusible fleece used as interfacing softened the edges of the pleats slightly after they were pressed, but this only serves to hold them aloft with what looks like a sightly more airy drape, suggesting movement or a flaring at the bottom of pleats, just as you might see at the bottom of a kilt. Where I wanted to keep the pleats sharp and strongly defined however was at the very top, where they sit neatly into the top band of the bag. To ensure that this definition was achieved I decided upon some additional stitching to assist the pleating.
I stitched a parallel line in a short straight stitch close to the pleat edge, only a millimetre or two from the very edge of the pleat, ending this with about ten tack stitches of a stationary zigzag stitch on the very widest setting. I wasn’t sure how this was going to look as I sewed them, so it was a bit of a gamble, but I think it paid off as I absolutely love this little detail that anyone who looked at the bag would never notice but that just adds that little bit of extra styling.
Hopefully I’ll have a few pictures of the finished project in the next few days!