This is the Part 1 of the Evelyn Photo Tutorial.
I had to sew up an Evelyn Tote as a gift so I thought I’d take photos along the way for a tutorial and use Pellon’s brand new Flex Foam for the first time and let you know what I think about it. AND you can see it in action.
I have over 160 photos for this tutorial so I’m going to break this up into three posts, posting one per day.
I’ll start off with a bit about Pellon Flex Foam. It feels just like ByAnnie’s Soft & Stable. I’ve been writing patterns for a few years now, and I put off even trying Soft & Stable because it’s not available locally. I had a feeling that I’d love it but I didn’t want to require it in a pattern if people couldn’t easily find it. Then came Vivian. I made three test bags, all with different interfacings, my last try was with Soft & Stable and it was my very first time using it. It was amazing and, with all the different curves of Vivian, was the only thing that worked well enough to be comfortable releasing the pattern. I was hooked at that point, but still… I had to order it online and so did everyone else. I started stocking it in my online store just for an easier way for people to have access to it.
Pellon Flex Foam was released just a few months ago and it made everything so much easier! It’s very exciting that people will have access to foam interfacing at Joann’s all across the US. I got a few yards myself and this is the first bag I’ve made with it. It is very easy to sew, even through multiple layers, and nice to pin especially when easing around corners. It’s so forgiving.
It’s a thin layer of foam, maybe 1/8″ wide, sandwiched between two layers of fabric.
It is very easily manipulated and bounces right back into shape with absolutely no creasing.
The only drawback to it at all, is that it’s not fusible (neither is Soft & Stable) – HOWEVER, Pellon announced at Quilt Market that a fusible version is coming soon. When I saw it, I jumped up and down a little (a lot). Of course the sew-in version can be made fusible with Wonder Under and a little extra cutting, which I will show you in this tutorial. I usually just baste the fabric to the foam, along all edges.
Flex Foam is a game changer for us bag makers. It’s pretty awesome stuff. If you pick some up for yourself at Joann Fabrics, don’t forget the coupons! And it’s routinely 50% off. In case it needed to be said, Pellon does not pay me in any way and I’m excited all on my own about Flex Foam.
Step 1: Prepping
Cut all of your pieces out of the exterior and lining fabrics. The text on each pattern pieces denotes which way the print should run. Cut the stabilizer (Pellon Peltex 71F) pieces.
For this bag, I’m going to be using Pellon Wonder Under 805. It’s a paper-backed adhesive that will fuse the Flex Foam to the exterior fabric. Cut this out the same way you do for your fabric, for 2 Main Panels, 2 Side Panels and 1 Bottom Panel.
Fuse the Wonder Under to the wrong side of the exterior panels, with the fusible side down and paper side up.
Once it has cooled, peel the paper backing off and your fabric is now fusible.
I fuse the exterior panels to the Flex Foam before cutting it. It saves a little time and you don’t have to mess with folding the foam to use the paper pattern piece. Fuse, then just cut out.
For the Bottom Panel, you need to first fuse the Bottom Support (stabilizer) to the exterior Bottom Panel, centered. Then, fuse the Bottom Panel foam over top. You should have foam on both exterior Main Panels, both exterior Side Panels and the Bottom Panel (in lining fabric with the Bottom Support sandwiched).
For all pieces that are to get interfacing, I place wrong side up on the ironing board, lay an uncut sheet of Pellon Shape-flex fusible side down over top and fuse. Then, just cut the pieces out of the interfacing. The handles, handle stripes, bottom lining panels, top lining panels, side panels, 2 of the top zipper panels and 4 of the connectors need woven interfacing.
The remaining 4 connectors need stabilizer. The stabilizer should be placed fusible side down on the wrong side of the connector and 1/2″ from the long side edges and bottom point, then fuse in place.
Step 2: Handle Stripes
The handle stripes are really just for looks. You can leave them off if you’d like. First, fold each handle stripe panel in half, wrong sides together and press.
Open and fold each long edge in to the center crease so that the raw edges are butting together in the middle, and press again. It should now be 1.5″ wide.
Repeat to the remaining three handle stripe panels and make sure they’re all the same width.
Fold an exterior Main Panel in half, and mark the center (where the fold is) along the top and bottom of the panel, within the seam allowance.
Measure 2.5″ to the right of each center (top and bottom) and mark. Then draw a vertical line on the panel, from top to bottom, 2.5″ to the right of the center.
Repeat to mark a vertical line that is 2.5″ to the LEFT of the center marks.
This is the only glue I use and I LOVE it. It’s pricey but worth it. I’ll be using this all through the making of this bag but you can clip/pin instead. A little glue goes a long way so use it sparingly.
Spread a thin amount of glue onto the back (side with raw edges) of a Handle Stripe. (Skip this if you want to pin)
Lay it glue side down onto the right side of the Main Panel, to the left of the LEFT vertical line, just barely covering the line itself.
Repeat to glue baste another Handle Stripe to the right of the RIGHT vertical line. The Handle Stripes should be 5″ apart, with each 2.5″ from the center.
If using glue, hit the Handle Stripes with an iron and steam to help set the glue.
Repeat to glue (or pin) the remaining two Handle Stripes to the other exterior Main Panel. Then, lay one Main Panel over the other just to make sure the Stripes are lining up and adjust as needed.
With a long stitch length, top stitch down each long edge of all Handle Stripes, about 1/8″ – 1/4″ from the finished edge.
Step 3: Overlays
Pin (or in my case, clip) two Main Panel Overlays right sides together and matching all raw edges. My linen does have a wrong side, but it’s really hard to see so the wrong side looks like the right side. Sorry about that. Sew along the long curvy edge only at 1/2″ seam allowance.
Flip the Main Panel Overlays right side out (wrong sides together) and press the seam well, matching up all raw edges. It helps to spray the seam with water and roll between your fingers.
Spread a thin amount of glue along the edges, on the side of the overlay that you want to be down against the bag. (Skip if pinning)
Match the top and side edges of the Overlay with the Main Panel and place the Overlay glue side down. It will cover the top raw ends of the Handle Stripes.
Hit it with an iron to set the glue.
With a long stitch length, top stitch along the finished curvy bottom edge. When you get to the end, pivot and sew up the side raw edge, pivot to sew across the top then back down the other side to fully secure it.
You should have a beautiful finished top Overlay.
Now repeat to sew the remaining two Main Panel Overlays together, then sew them to the other exterior Main Panel.
The Side Overlays get sewn together the same way, right sides together and sewn along the longest edge (this will be the bottom of the Overlay).
Open and press the seam flat.
Then fold the overlays wrong sides together and press again. Spread a thin line of glue along the edges, on the side of the overlay that you want down.
Position in place at the top of an exterior Side Panel, glue side down and matching the top and side edges.
Repeat with the remaining two Side Overlays and the remaining exterior Side Panel.
Top stitch along all edges of the overlay to attach.
All of your overlays are done!