There’s is nothing I like more than to make something I need and will be in constant use. Being able to make it to a design I like, a design that will be functional for me and then with the fabric of my choice is one of the joys of creating. I imagine dressmakers feel exactly the same.
I do a fair bit of hand sewing. Nothing like as much as many sewists but I’ve a long term Glitter project on the go and there’s always someone wanting badges sewn on or labels etc. So in response to this last year I made myself another bionic gear bag to hold hand sewing stuff.
This is a fab design and I’ve made a number blogged if you’re interested here. I love the zips, the fold out tray and it’s a good size but as a hand sewing caddy that’s on display (because it’s used so much) it’s blue which doesn’t go in our living spaces and floppy! It’s deliberately floppy as it’s really a travel bag so it can be crushed down in bags etc and take as little room as possible. To this end it is a boon on flights where much to the horror of my children I sew.
So I was on the look out for a hand sewing bag/caddy that was smart enough to have on display but crucially functional. And I found it in the Project Caddy of Aneela Hoey. This lady is a very talented designer both of fabric and bags/pouches. This is the first of hers I have used and it certainly won’t be the last. The instructions were clear and comprehensive. Perhaps choosing to do it at the weekend and in the kitchen so I could use the island unit for cutting out wasn’t the best idea because of all the disruptions from teens wanting feeding, lifts, more feeding, more lifts etc. It’s a pattern that needs careful thinking through not least because I was using a rather unusual, for me, fabric.
I’d seen this fabric in blog land and immediately had to have some. It took some tracking down but when it arrived I discovered it was rather more yellow than I had anticipated having been drawn by the rich reds and oranges. Nonetheless it needed to be used and I thought given this project might not be particularly successful it was worth a try. But of course it meant cutting the pieces to make the most of this large scale pattern and no bird or butterfly got cruelly cut.
As a consequence the cutting took hours….. This was in part because of the frequent interruptions as mentioned above but also many of the pieces for this had to be cut in fabric and then again in various types of interfacing. In fact if you do the sturdiest version of this bag then you’re using four different types of interfacing. I can’t speak highly enough of my local quilt shop The Cotton Patch who went through with me the pattern and from which I could source at least three of the interfaces needed. The other one I got from Sew Hot with their usual lightening service.
The actual sewing was relatively quick up to getting the base done but the lid was more of a trial. If I do this pattern again I must hand baste more to check neatness etc particularly around the top. But that aside, in the main, the combination of careful cutting and marking definitely paid off.
I am really pleased with it. And it’s vast. I’ve covered a couple of boxes in the fabric to make containers. And enjoyed myself putting everything away.
Sky was fascinated by it as you can see and was constantly head-butting it hence the cat hairs. If I were doing it again I’d make the side lining seam at least an inch not 1/2” as the lining is a bit puffy and ill fitting. But other than that I would make it just as the pattern suggests.
I use this blog as a ready reference for me. So if there are tips along the way or specific issues then I try to record them so I’m not left scratching my head knowing that I once had worked this out but for the life of me have forgotten! So as this was an interfacing dominated project which introduced me to three new to me interfacings I thought I’d list out what I’ve learned and then use it for reference.
This is particularly so as interfacing has been quite a mystery to me given how many types of interfacing there are and yet they all look vaguely similar, so it’s very confusing. What further adds to the confusion is that you can combine different types of interfacing so for example in this pattern you are required to use up to 3 different types of interfacing on one piece of fabric. But in reality my most successful finishes have often been because of using a combination of interfacing on one fabric piece. So based on some experience of using a number of different types of interfacing in various bags and pouches with varying degrees of success I have listed what I’ve found albeit I’m far from expert and do please share any interfacing experiences or favourites you have.
Thick interfacing for items that typically need to stand up
Annie’s Soft and Stable. This is thick, foam covered fusible interfacing. It has a spongy feel to it. It worked very well with Anna Graham’s Noodle-head’s Divided basket
Peltex 71F. This was new to me but recommended for the Project Caddy. It’s fusible and firm but can be bent and springs back. Useful when you need to turn the bag inside out to pull the lining through. It’s rough though so needs at least a couple of fabrics covering it to feel nice. It gives a more rigid structure than Soft and Stable.
TIM Ted – this was also recommended for Project Caddy. It’s very firm, firmer than Peltex and doesn’t spring back easily. It is sew in type interfacing. This was slotted into the caddy between the exterior and interior lining. Perfect for something that needs to stand upright
Vilene or their new name Visilene (why bother changing their name?) H630. This is quite a thin fusible wadding and on its own it’s rather insubstantial I find . Being fusible is helpful although it doesn’t fuse well but maybe mine is old. With Project Caddy I used it to soften and smooth the exterior piece which definitely gave it a nicer finish.
Vilene H640. Thicker and with more substance this gives more heft than the H630. I like it for larger bags and totes. For larger totes I nearly always use upholstery fabric. It’s often cheaper and sturdier or I will use a linen type quilting cotton like that used here.
Another thicker fusible wadding is Pellon 987F. This gave a nice quality feel and structure to the Fold Up Sewing Folio
Lighter weight interfacing.
I have a few of these which I’ve used to basically make the fabric stiffer and less floppy. This is a good complement I’ve found to the fusible waddings above.
Pellon Craft Fuse. This was new to me. It’s fusible and fuses well unlike the Vilene H630 above. But it has a tendency to ruck and it’s very difficult to remove once that’s happened. You can see an example of that here.
Vilene S320 is is similar to craft fuse in all respects in terms of function. Fuses well but can ruck. I have found this is a good combination with Vilene H640 for bags to give them structure and a professional look.
SF101 This also helps give cotton weight quilting fabric a much firmer feel. This was recommended by Aneela for the caddy. It’s woven whereas the other two listed are more like paper. I’ve tried to capture the difference in the picture below, the SF101 is under the scissors. It’s fuses well and didn’t ruck. In fact this may be a new favourite of this type for that fact alone. I would have used just this interfacing for the caddy but I ran out and had to switch to craft fuse for a couple of pieces.
I don’t think I’ve cracked it when it comes to interfacing and I will keep trying others. But what I have done is put each in separated plastic bags all labeled as they still look very similar.
Of course now there is no excuse but to crack on with those glitter block pieces in the caddy!