Step #5 of the Cosmo Bag is the step that gave me the most problems the first time I made this bag. Judging from the comments and direct messages I have received from my original post last year, I can tell I’m not alone! The thing is, once you know what you have to do, it’s really quite easy. The biggest problem I had was the lack of illustrations and clear wording in the instructions.
Here is MY version of step #5…
At the end of Step #4, you should have ended up with exterior main panel pieces that have been pleated and basted. It should look like the following picture. If your exterior main panels do not look like this photo, please go back to Step #4 and make your adjustments before doing Step #5.
If you pleated your exterior main panels correctly, you’re ready to attach the small band piece. This is not terribly intuitive the first time you assemble this part of the bag… the written instructions also do not explain it well. I find it easier to match my actions visually, so you will want to lay your pieces right sides together with both curved edges touching each other. The picture, below, should help get you oriented.
Yes, really! These two edges are really going to go together. I like to start by pinning the centers together and then matching each corner and pinning them in place. You will instantly see how the fabric curls up and inward… it should look like the picture, below.
Once my corners are matched and pinned and I’m sure that my center is also lined up well and pinned, I then add pins in between the anchors I’ve already pinned in place. Just match up the raw edges of the fabric and allow it to naturally curve. I call this Zen Sewing… go with the flow of the fabric.
When you look at these two pieces pinned together from the opposite side, you can see how the seam line is going to look… as demonstrated in the picture, below.
Next, it’s time to stitch the seam! Follow Amy Butler’s seam allowance in the instructions, backstitching at both ends, and because this seam is on a rather extreme curve, you’ll want to make sure you’re stitching through flat fabric. Take your time and if you need to clear out bunches of fabric as you’re sewing, just go slowly and make sure your needle is in the down position before you adjust the bulk and clear it away from your stitch line.
When you finish, your seam should look like the picture, below. When you take your hands away from the fabric, you’ll see how it totally curls up on its own!
If you finger press the band up, you’ll see how the band creates a lovely curved detail at the top of the bag. It should look like the following picture.
Before we press this seam, we’re going to make our lives just a smidge easier. We are going to cut some notches in the seam allowance, which will help create some give in that extreme curve, which will allow the band to really lay flat in line with the exterior main panel. Remember to slow down, take your time, and be REALLY careful that you don’t clip into your seam that you just stitched!
Now we can press this seam flat… and you’re going to press the seam (with all those notches) upward toward the band piece. Give your seam some nice shots of steam with your steam iron — your cotton will love it, trust me. From the wrong side, your band and exterior main panel should look like the picture, below.
From the right side, you should see a nice, clean finish. If you need to press on this side, go ahead and do that, too.
To really finish off the band attachment, we’re going to top stitch from one end to the other. Remember to back stitch at both ends so that your stitching doesn’t unravel as you’re working on the side panels in the subsequent steps. You will stitch with the right side on top and remember to be conscious of the notched seam allowance underneath.
Your finished band, attached to the main exterior panel, should look like the following picture. Remember to do this entire series of instructions for both bands and exterior main panels. When you’re done, you’ll need these to tackle Step #6.
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