We just did a few of the tougher steps for this bag, so it’s time we were rewarded with something more straightforward… including sewing in a straight line! 3 cheers!!
On the outside of the bag, the side panels have pockets. For Step #7, we are making the lined pocket that attaches to the side panel. In Step #8, we will take our pocketed side panels and attach them to the main exterior panels and it starts looking like a bag. But first, you need to locate your side pocket and side pocket lining pieces. The pocket lining pieces are ever so slightly longer than the pocket pieces as you can see in the following picture.
Just like everything on this bag, you’re going to do the following steps twice for both sides of the bag. So, go ahead put the side pocket lining pieces and side pocket pieces right sides together at the top. One end is more narrow than the other… the top is the narrow end. Pin them in place. If it’s pinned correctly, you’ll have some of the side pocket lining extending beyond the end of the side pocket pieces as shown.
Following the seam allowance instructions in Amy Butler’s Style Stitches, stitch the seam for both pieces. Then you’re going to press the allowance toward the lining piece.
Now we’re going to fold over the side pocket piece so that the wrong sides are together. Fold the piece so that it lines up with the bottom edge of the side pocket lining piece. You will see the lining fabric create a little strip of contrast fabric at the top of the pocket as shown in the following picture.
Next, we will take these pieces to our steam iron and press the top of the pocket flat so that we get a nice, even, crisp edge. Remember to be mindful that your bottom edges are lined up when you press the top of the pocket.
We are going to baste these two pieces together so that they don’t separate and create problems in the next few steps. It’s best to pin them together to make your life easier. Use as many or as few pins as you need to secure these together for basting.
This is just a basting stitch! No need to be pretty or fancy… just a long stitch will do. Amy Butler gives you the seam allowance that you should sew on and I like to start at on end and just sew all the way around. At the corners, I leave my needle down in the fabric, lift my presser foot, rotate the fabric, put the presser foot back down, and keep basting. Your fabric pieces may not line up absolutely perfectly and it’s OK! They shouldn’t be way off from each other, but nothing in sewing is perfect, so just concentrate on basting these pieces together so that when they become one whole piece, they are flat and the edges are even.
Now you need to locate your exterior side panel pieces… they’re shaped similarly to the side pocket and side pocket lining pieces, but they’re bigger.
This time you’re going to take your newly lined pocket piece and lay it, with the right sides facing up for both pieces, on top of the side panel piece. Line the pieces up at the bottom edge (the wider end) and pin in place as shown in the following picture.
Once again, we’re going to baste… you may end up basting a second time on top of the basting line you just did. Totally OK! Following the same procedure that you did for the pocket and pocket lining, baste both lined side pockets to the exterior side pocket panels.
Again, you may find that your edges aren’t perfectly cut and don’t line up perfectly… it’s OK!! You will see that my edges are not perfect, either, but I basted them all together so that the pockets lay flat against the side panels and everything is still lined up evenly.
If you really are a beginner making this bag, it’s really common to be surprised, confused, and/or frustrated that fabric pieces don’t line up perfectly. Just know that even those of us who have sewn a few more things make mistakes, cut fabric unevenly, and have to make adjustments. The more things you sew, the more you will realize how everything fits together and that the unevenness inherent in fabric cutting is hidden like magic through our seam allowances. Nifty!
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