I've tried all kinds of different methods but still have the same problem and it only seems to occur on purses. Purses, I had decided, don't like me! But with a craft fair looming and things for children urgently needed I decided that I was going to spend all week if I had to trying to solve the problem.
I listed my main criteria...
a lining in a different fabric from the outer,
no raw edges showing inside.
then I set about making up my own patterns until finally (and yes it did take a whole week) I managed to tweak my method until all my boxes were ticked. This was no easy task. As someone with limited visual-spatial ability it was quite a challenge for me with many failed attempts and mistakes that prompted more than a few loud and gutteral 'GARGH!'s (apologies to the window cleaner). I have had a sewing journey and to make sure I never have to go through that again I wanted to record my method as a tutorial. I also hope that if there's anyone else out there with a dislike of bulky coin purse corners it might prove useful to them too!
|The finished purses!|
1 x outer fabric 8" x 6"
1 x lining fabric 8" x 6"
2 x lightweight, iron-on interlining (I used Vilene H180)
1 x zip 8" minimum
1 x length of coordinating ribbon 21cm (optional)
You will also need...
A zipper foot
A size 16 needle (for heavy weight fabrics)
1. Iron the interfacing onto the wrong side of the outer and the lining fabric.
2. Pin the outer fabric and the lining fabric with their right sides together and sew ONLY down the longest sides. Trim any excess fabric to reduce bulk and make sure the shorter edges of the layers are lined up nicely together (if not trim slightly). It should look like this...
3. Turn your fabric right sides out and then press the side seams.
4. Zigzag stitch the short sides ~ I used the settings width: 3.5 and length: 1. The needle should just miss the fabric when it falls to the right then catch and bind the fabric when it comes down on the left. When you're done your short edges should look like this...
NOTE: The reason for this is because it reduces bulk. If the fabric were turned in and hemmed like the long sides the extra layers of fabric would cause problems when sewing on the zip.
5. Pin your zipper face down to the top of the right side of your fabric sandwich as shown in the photo below.
6. Reset your machine to its regular stitch and change the foot to the zipper foot. Sew the zipper onto the fabric in a neat line above the teeth ~ roughly where the pins are.
7. Fold the fabric down from the zip so that both the fabric and the zip are right sides up as shown in the next photo and press the fold.
8. Now topstitch the fabric in place. NOTE: You will probably find, even with a size 16 needle, that the bulk makes it difficult for your machine to sew and your needle might just go up and down. To solve this problem you need to manually walk the first few stitches by turning the wheel of the machine and, when the needle is up, raising the presser foot and inching the fabric along. Do this a few times until you can feel the feed dogs catching and moving your fabric for you, then you can stitch as normal.
|Topstiching the zip.|
NOTE: At this point it's worth checking a few things to save you uttering a loud 'GARGH!' further down the line. It's important to be sure that the the folded fabric is lined up with the fabric underneath and that your zipper is positioned evenly to match the sewn side otherwise you'll get a wonky purse. The best way to check is to carefully slide the zipper along. It should all be lined up like this...
10. If you're happy then open it back up and stitch the zipper in place as before.
11. When it's done fold the fabric down away from the zipper, press and topstitch. This is where the extra length of zip on the side is needed as you can fully open the zip and keep the zipper pull out of the way. Without this you would not be able to topstitch your purse. When you're done it should look like this...
12. Turn your purse inside out and press it flat with the zip positioned about 1/4 of the way down from the top, keeping in mind that if you have fabric that needs to be a certain way up for the pattern to work then when you turn it back again you want the fabric the right way up on the front (zipper side) and upside down on the back.
13. If you want a ribbon strap now is the time to add it. Fold the ribbon in half and pin inside the fabric sandwich in line with the zipper and with the raw edges poking out by roughly 1.5cm. You can choose which side you want it on. If you want it on the right (in the above photo) it will be on the same side as the zipper pull when closed which makes it easier for a child to open and less likely to drop their change if they hold the purse by the ribbon when the zip's open. On the other side it's away from the zip and looks a bit neater. I still can't decide which I prefer!
14. Making sure the zip pull is halfway open (so you can turn it through when sewn and so you don't snip the zip pull off when trimming the overhanging zip later (yes I really did do that!!) you now need to sew the short sides closed. Remember the trick for getting your machine going by walking the stitches manually if it struggles with the bulk. I sew down the side and when at the bottom, with the needle down, lift the presser foot, turn the whole purse 180 degrees then sew back again so there are two rows of stitches to hold the zip more firmly.
15. After you've sewn both short sides closed you can trim the excess zip.
16. Turn the right way round and push out the corners using something blunt like closed scissors or a chopstick then press.
17. You're done! Add a couple of shiny coins and give to your little loved ones as a gift, or take your own money and a credit card out on the town :)
All the fabric is available in the shop (Robert Kaufman's Metro Market and Michael Miller's Dumb Dots) and we now have 8" zips in a variety of colours for just 75p!