I do enjoy a good, basic tote bag – preferably one particular that won’t get stained and can withstand a little rain.  And of course it has to be pretty.

So when I saw that four of our Spring collections would have coated fabrics, I was entirely on board.

With a single clear hitch… I hadn’t sewn on this sort of fabric in years and I wasn’t certain if I remembered some of the tricks.  A bit of practice, some experimenting, and a small analysis helped make this a whole lot of enjoyable.  It’s not hard, even though it can be a tiny bit messy… a lot more on that in a moment.

Very first – what do I mean by “coated” fabric?  Take a woven, printed cotton fabric and add a thin PVC layer to it, creating it water-resistant and really sturdy.  It’s excellent for bags, tablecloths and mats and even a straightforward rain jacket.  While it isn’t suitable for children’s clothes, it can be employed for children’s book bags, lunch bags and toy bags.

Cutting.  Cutting the coated fabrics just requires a rotary cutter and ruler.  I commence by folding the fabric – incorrect side out.  I favor cutting with the coated side on the inside due to the fact the two coated layers won’t slide when laid against each and every other.  The wrong side often does – at least that is been my encounter.

To make the bags shown above, you will need to have 5/8 yard of 45″ wide coated fabric.

Fold the fabric in half, aligning the selvages.  Make a straightening cut on a single side, then reduce a strip that is 14″ wide by the 45″ width of the fabric.  From that piece, trim the selvage and cut two rectangles – 14″ x 16″.  Save the piece on the fold for now.  Then cut two strips – 2 1/2″ x 45″ wof.  Trim the strips to measure 2 1/2″ x 27″ – these are the straps/handles.

For a diagram of the cutting – Coated Cotton Tote Bag Cutting.

Sewing. The very first issue to know about sewing with coated fabrics is that professionals use a specific presser foot – one particular that is Teflon coated or made for sewing with plastic or coated fabrics.  The coating on the fabric likes to stick to our typical metal or plastic presser feet truth be told, it also likes to stick to the throat plate on the base of the sewing machine, which is why a Teflon coated foot never seemed to operate all that properly for me.  The other drawback to them is that the Teflon presser feet can be expensive.  Thankfully, there are options.

No. 1 – Tissue paper.  Wrapping tissue or the thin tissue utilized for sewing patterns is layered amongst the fabric and the presser foot/throat plate.  Advantage – it does perform.  Disadvantage – the tissue slides and then has to be removed from the stitches.

No. two – Infant powder.  I wrote that it may get messy.  The benefit is that it performs, it is price range-friendly and your sewing area will smell baby-fresh.  The disadvantage is that it will make a bit of a mess, but it’s easily cleaned up.  If you are worried about what it may well do to your sewing machine, I can tell you that soon after generating four tote bags and a couple of zipper bags, there wasn’t any obvious powder residue in the base of my sewing machine.

Pins.  Put them away.  Clips – like Wonder Clips – perform very best, even though paperclips will work in a pinch.  Glue pens – like my favorites from Sewline – can aid but actually, clips worked ideal for me.

Pressing.  This coated fabric can be pressed on the wrong side with a slightly warm iron only.  Anything hotter than that will alter the way the fabric feels – ask me how I know.  (I did write that I was experimenting…)

Have you ever floured a surface prior to rolling out pie or cookie dough?  If you have, you will know what to do right here.  Lightly sprinkle the baby powder on the coated surface and then use your fingers to cover the entire surface.  Shake off the excess.  Do both rectangles – and the straps.

Thread. While normal 50 wt. thread will function, I found that the stitching looked best with a thicker thread, especially the leading-stitching.  I utilised a 28 wt. Aurifil on the best and a 40 wt. Aurifil in the bobbin.  While the 28 wt. works beautifully in the bobbin, employing the 40 wt. meant that I didn’t have to do much to adjust the tension.  I also changed my needle to a 90/14.  If all you have is 50 wt., it does function but the thread basically disappears.

Stitch length. I lengthened my stitch length to eight to 10 stitches per inch.  The seams on the inside of the bag can be stitched with a slightly shorter length – 10 to 12 stitches per inch – but the best-stitching looked ideal at the longer length.

Stitching itself… Even with the powder, the coated fabric is not going to feed itself beneath the needle with the very same ease that your standard cotton quilting fabrics do.  I discovered that I required to hold my hands on the fabric and “help” hold it moving smoothly – specifically more than seams.

Assembling the bag. With the powdered, coated sides of the 14″ x 16″ rectangles with each other, stitch a 1/2″ seam allowance about three sides – leaving a 14″ wide open.  This will be the top of the bag.

Fold down 1 1/2″ on the top opening of the bag and safe with huge clips – I utilized Jumbo Wonder Clips – or big paperclips.  Prime-stitch the folded edge of the bag initial – 1/8″ away from the fold.

Then fold beneath the bottom edge to complete the hem and use the clips to hold the edge in place whilst stitching.  I stitched from the prime side with my seam allowance marked with a piece of tape – it was a 1″ hem.

For the straps, fold the 2 1/2″ x 27″ length in half and best-stitch 1/8″ from the fold – turn the two ends beneath 1/4″ before stitching.

Then fold the two edges inside approx. 1/4″ and secure with a clip – I utilized these Wonder Clips – or a paperclip. Producing a tube and turning it appropriate side out did not function for me – not for a finished width of 1″.  Top-stitch the two folded edges as close to the edge as achievable.  Because it cannot be pinned, glued or fused, keeping the two folded edges perfectly matched up can be a challenge.

Placement of the straps on the outdoors of the bag – the bottom edge of the strap is 2″ from the leading edge of the bag – and 2″ from the center.  I matched the two seams to discover the center of every side of the bag and measured from the fold.  To make it safe, I borrowed the stitching pattern from a equivalent style tote I own.  I also double-stitched the prime – as they had completed.

Wouldn’t you know, the only photo I have with a close-up is probably the messiest of the sixteen strap-attachments I did. Of course, I believe it also shows why I preferred making use of the 28 wt. thread for the stitching that would show. The tag?  That’s just a piece of Moda measuring tape from a pre-cut – pinked and best-stitched on the outdoors of the bag.

When I finished, my friends asked if I would sew with this coated fabric once more and my answer is “absolutely!”  I like playing with distinct projects and trying new tactics, they’re all “tools for the toolbox”, in that one thing I learned undertaking this will most likely come in beneficial for anything else.  And I know I will use these bags – although one particular of two have currently been claimed by others.  I also have a grocery-shopping bag reduce out, waiting to be assembled.

From left to proper, the collections with coated fabrics are:

So there you have it – sewing with coated fabrics.  You required a new project to play with this weekend, didn’t you?

Content Friday!

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