Thursday, August 27, 2009

Break Free

Even when one's bonds are adored and welcome, it's nice to be free of them occasionally.
A few minutes ago my bonds were loosed and now reside on the shoulders of the Mr.

Have you any idea how easy it is to navigate airport security when there are no car seats, strollers, or fleeing children involved?
I made my way to the gate at the farthest end of the terminal at a comfortable mosey. I was able to look around myself take notice of those oddities available to airport patrons who care to look.

As I meandered along the moving side walk I saw a man approaching who seemed to have a growth of some kind protruding from the back of his head.
It rather reminded me of a dog who used to wander the neighborhood where I grew up. This dog had a large cyst on one of it's haunches.
Aside from being a rather grotesque spectacle, we were all assured that the dog was quite healthy.
The man approached and a surreptitious glance confirmed that he did indeed have a growth at the base of his skull. It was not, however, a cyst. It was a tightly curled mullet.
Like that wandering pooch of yesteryear, this man, aside from his status as a rather grotesque spectacle, seams to be quite healthy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Making a Back Pack Part 3; Let's get this done!

There are a few more things we need to do to get our main ingredients ready so we can bust this thing out.
One of them is the main zipper. You'll need 2 strips a bit longer tha your zipper of choice (Mine was 18") Once the zipper is in this bit will need to be the same width as the piece your using for the bottom and sides. I started with a strip of that same width and just cut it in half.
Press in 1/4 inch on each piece.
Top stitch as close as you can get to the zipper. Employ the same method for getting around the pull as we did for the pocket's zipper.
Note, I am not using a zipper foot. I love my zipper foot, I used it for the piping, but when I'm doing a top stitched zipper like this, I like a normal foot. It helps hold everything in place, and it's nice not to bother with changing.
Top stitch the other side too.
I ran another line of stitching 1/4 inch from the first. This was done in the name of banishing raw edges. That edge I pressed under to start out with is now safely secured under the edge of my zipper.
A few more things to get the front and back pieces ready. Put the piping around the front piece.
Then, position the pocket so it makes you happy, (I bound the lose edge of the pocket while you weren't looking. I used single fold bias for that since there was only one layer of fabric that needed binding here)
and trace around it with a marking device that you're sure will wash out. This is your stitching line.
Fold the edge of your pocket under and top stitch, following your stitching line.
When It's done it will look like this.
Now the front piece is ready.
To get the back ready, we need to position our straps and sew them down
After I decided on placement for my straps I cut off the excess. I also opened the top of the strap and trimmed out the padding above the stitch line. There's enough thickness to sew through around the edge without padding in the seam.
After your straps (top and bottom pieces) are sewn in place, put on the piping.
Oh, tack that handle on beside the zipper too. Make sure it's centered.
Here's my stack of pieces finally ready to be assembled.
Find what's left of your piping. Take out a few stitches at the end.
Fold the bias back,
and snip off the exposed cord.
If we were going to join this with another piece, we'd fold under that edge, but this time we're just getting rid of the extra bulk because this is going inside the seams that hold our pack together.
Take the strip that makes up the sides and bottom and stitch that piping on. (You'll want to have snipped out the cord from both edges)
Then place your zippered piece on top, right sides together, and your lining piece on top of that. To review, the side piece is on bottom with the zippered piece facing it and the lining on top making a nice little sandwich. Stitch across the top of that (1/4" seam to accommodate your piping) and it should look something like this.
We're getting down to business now. Match up the center of your zipper with the top center of your front piece.
Work your way around, matching the two pieces as you go until you reach the end of your zipper.
Start sewing the sides to the front about an inch from the end of the zippered piece.
Continue sewing until you nearly reach the beginning. If your side piece is longer than need be, as mine was, trim it off leaving only the necessary seam allowance for joining the beginning and end of the piece.
Prepare another piece of piping and stitch it in place. Leave the lining hanging free for now.
Sew the two ends together, still ignoring the lining.

Now, bring the lining up to meet that seam, fold the allowance under and top stitch just below the piping.

Let's pause for a minute to note that one end of the zipper has a line of top stitching below the piping,
While the other does not. If this bothers you, go ahead and top stitch the other side. I wasn't in the kind of mood that cares today so I left mine as it was.

Now we've got a situation that looks like this. Go ahead and close up that hole. Just turn those right sides together again and stitch up the gap.
Almost there!
We just need to attach the back and we're home free.
Tuck all the straps inside, match up the bottom corners and start stitching around.
Once you complete that circuit, Bind up those edges and that's it! I recommend using a wider double fold than I did. This is really thick where the straps join. Hiding on the opposite side out of the photo is a portion where this tape just wasn't wide enough to do the job. I had to bind that bit with an unsightly patch of wider tape.
By the way, when you tack the handle on, make sure you put it on the right side. It's down right discouraging to unzip and turn your back right side out thinking you're all done and then discover that you have to pick off the handle loop and sew it back on the right way. Just trust me on this.
Now, Finally, here it is!

I'm going to write one more post where I'll go back and cover the process of patterning this monster, but I may not be able to get to it until next week sometime. In the mean time we'll returned to our regularly scheduled random blogging.
Fare thee well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Making a Back Pack Part 2; The Front Pocket

If you want to appliqué on your pocket, do it now.

Once that is out of the way, it's piping time!
Place your piping along the edge of the pocket front. The raw edge of the piping should line up with the raw edge of the pocket. Stitch around until you're about an inch from your staring point.

If you have faith in your measuring skills you may have already cut your piping to the appropriate length. I never do that, I do not have such faith in my measuring skills.
If you're like me, snip off the excess piping.
Now, before you started sewing the piping on in the first place, you should have opened the seam that holds it together and snipped out about an inch of the cotton cord. Then, you should have folded the, now empty, end of the bias under about 1/4 inch.
I apologize for not having a photo of this step, I just did it without thinking. Tuck the freshly cut end of your piping into the cozy little spot you have prepared,
and stitch it down.
Ta da! The pocket front is done!
Now it's time to think about the sides of the pocket, and more importantly, the zipper.
The sides of the pocket are made of a strip of canvas 2"x the measurement (plus seam allowance) of the perimeter of your appliquéd and piped pocket piece.
Find the center of your pocket side piece and position your zipper accordingly. Once you've decided where you want the zipper to go, lay it on top of the side piece, flush with the edge of the same. Mark where the zipper begins and ends, and snip diagonally.
after snipping, press the newly made flaps open to make a little zipper window.
The side piece with it's window should fit over the zipper like this.
Throw that baby on your machine and top stitch all the way around.
When you're about halfway along the zipper, stop sewing with your needle down. Lift the presser foot and unzip the sipper. This way the zipper pull is out of the way so you can stitch nice and close to the zip edge without interference from the pull.
Oh, I also took a little scrap and tacked the lose ends of my zipper together just to reinforce that point a bit. I did it after my zipper was stitched in because I didn't think if it before then.

And the front side should look like this.
Now we're ready to stitch the pocket front to the sides. This is another step I forgot to take a picture of.
Start at the bottom of the pocket. Leaving about 5/8" unsewn, stitch the side piece/strip along the edge of the front pocket piece with 1/4" seam allowance. You should be stitching right over the seam you made when you put the piping on. Once you make it back around to where you started, sew the 2 ends of the side piece/strip together. This is why we left that 5/8" flap when we started. Man, I wish I'd taken a picture of this.
Anyway, confusing instructions aside, this is what it will look like inside at this point.
I forgot to buy a zipper of the appropriate length for the pocket. Stash to the rescue! I found I had this one that would do but at just 6 inches, it was a little short. It would have been mighty tricky to get a pencil any longer that six inches into that pocket if I'd put that zipper across the straight top of the pocket.
By off setting the zipper to curve around one corner of the pocket, I preserved the ability to utilize the diagonal space within to maneuver supplies. A zipper long enough to curve around both top corners would have been more efficient, but this will work well enough, and I kind of enjoy the effect.
Now, you'll remember that inside our newly formed pocket are a bunch of raw edges. I am not ok with this. I have a strong dislike for raw edges. Also, I want this back pack to last a good long time. If something spills in it and it has to be washed, I don't want stringy frayed awfulness hiding inside the pockets once it's clean.
The answer? Double fold bias tape.
Just wrap it around those raw edges and stitch away to seal up any string globs that may have been lurking in your pockets future.
When you're done it will look like this.
Turned right side out, it will look like this.

Now our pocket is ready to join the party.
See you next time when we'll assemble this bad boy!