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Aster Handbag Sew Along - Day 1

Hi everyone, welcome to the Aster Sew Along! First off, let me introduce myself. I’m Wendy from W.D. Handbags; I’ve been sewing bags for longer than I care to admit. I started sewing on a bit of a whim, I was bored one day and came across a tutorial on how to make a basic boxed corner bag and thought it was brilliant and I need to make that (little did I know it’d become an obsession!). This was long before the days of Facebook and its groups, and fantastic hardware and pdf patterns; it was a lot of funny looks when going to the fabric store looking for the right interfacings, fabrics and trims.

When I look back it’s comical to say the least, but I’m thrilled to see where this whole handmade revolution is headed. There are some seriously talented people out there! Along with the talented Bagineers, we have access to some pretty stellar pattern designers... I’ve been testing for Blue Calla for a little over a year. I love her designs and the way she makes things come together is fantastic, they’re straight forward but they look oh so impressive when you’re done.

Speaking of done, are you ready to get started so you can impress your friends with a designer look handbag that I promise is crazy easy but will look like you slaved for months? ;)  I’m so excited to get started-I hope you are too!

First off we need to get our pattern, which you purchase here (use coupon code ASTERSAL to get it at 25% off!) Go ahead and get that printed and cut out, we’ll then gather our supplies. This is what we’ll need:

Exterior fabric:
1/2 yard quilt weight or home decor/canvas
1/4-1/2 yard home decor width vinyl

Lining fabric:
1 yard quilt weight cotton 

3/4 yards foam interfacing (20” wide)
1/2 yard Peltex (20” wide)
4 yards fusible woven interfacing (20” wide)

Notions and supplies:
(2) 18 mm magnetic snap
(4) 1” rectangle rings (if making vinyl connectors) OR (4) Long John metal connectors (from Emmaline Bags)
(2) 1” D-rings
(2) 1” capable swivel clasp
(1) 1” rectangle slide
(1) 8” zipper (#3)
(4) purse feet (optional)
(1) turn lock (optional)

You may also want to have on hand: a disappearing ink pen/Frixion pen/tailor's chalk, and double sided sticky tape.


 Now that we have all that settled, we’ll move on to cutting our fabrics! I’m sure everyone has a system when they’re cutting out their bags, I like cutting out my exterior pieces, then interior, then the vinyl accent pieces. I know we’re early on in the game but I have a tip for you...ready? On my pattern pieces I like to highlight what needs to be cut – exterior, interior, accents in different colours, then I use my Frixion pen (not a paid endorsement I just really like them! ;) ) as I’m cutting and check off what has been cut. Then when all is said and done and my bag is complete, I can wave my pattern piece in front of my iron and voilà! Like magic my check marks have disappeared and I didn’t forget to cut anything out.


                Next up we’re going to cut and fuse our interfacing on all of the pieces per the pattern instructions. I like to take my exterior side panel top piece C, and fold it in half to mark the top and bottom points of the side peltex piece, sometimes I’m not as great at eyeballing things as I think I am *wink*. After placing my marks, I iron my interfacing over the top then trim.

Our next step is the attaching the peltex to the bottom vinyl piece.  The pattern says to use double sided tape placed 1/2” from each long edge,  now time for a confession. I have no double sided tape. *gasp* I know it’ll make the job easier but I just haven’t located the right stuff and well, I make do without. If you have it, use it, and ignore the clips in the next pic, if you don’t and you’re a rebel like me well, follow along! Are you ready for another tip? We’re going to learn to bury our threads. It’s something common in quilting but not everyone knows or does it with bags but is a simple technique that can elevate the end look of your bag.

We’re going to make sure before we start sewing that we have a long tail from the top thread and bobbin thread. When you start sewing to attach the peltex, don’t backstitch; go all the way around the rectangle and stop one stitch length shy of completing the rectangle. Weird? I know. Stick with me I promise it’ll work.

Flip over your piece, and see those long bobbin threads? Give each one of those a little tug, you’ll see a little loop form, use a needle and pull those up through the peltex side. You’ll have four threads, which we’re going to knot so the threads won’t slip through the other side and will act like your backstitch. 

Still with me? Okay, now take one of your threads and feed it through one of the last holes of your previous stitch (peltex side to vinyl side), and bring it back down through the top to the peltex side to complete the stitch we left open previously. Last step is to knot all four threads together then trim. When looking at your bottom vinyl piece you shouldn’t be able to see when your stitches started and stopped.

Next we’re going to attach our purse feet, using the marks on from your pattern piece, mine have prongs so I centred my slits on either side of the pattern piece mark, and then used my seam ripper to make my slits. Smaller slits are better, your prongs will push through relatively easily...too big will make them less secure. Fold over the prongs and set aside.

And we’re done day 1! Now go grab a cup of something yummy and come back tomorrow; we will be attaching the vinyl accents to the exterior pieces, and we’ll do the exterior construction!

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