Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Messenger Bag and Eighth Inch Borders

Well, here’s the new bag.  Definitely a learning experience here!  There’s a couple things I’d do a tad differently but basically this is a go. (The colors in the photo still stink.  You’ll just have to take my word for it: this is very southwest and glow-ey and the colors really are fabulous).

Two things I’m particularly happy about: 1) that I figured a way to put the zipper in that I liked and 2) that I came up with a new way to add an 1/8 inch accent border that is really simple. 

First off: the zipper.  This makes me incredibly happy.  I wanted it to have a bit of a gusset and be cut so that there weren’t coils in the side seam allowance making things bulky.  So, let me say, with all due modesty, “Who’s your daddy?!”  Look at that zipper!  (To give you a sense of how far off certain shades are here: the actual color on that zipper is a very deep burgundy!  What the heck?) 

And, for those who are interested, here’s how I did the eighth inch blue accent border:

  1. I cut the strips one inch wide (instead of the technically correct 5/8") and simply sewed them on as usual.
  2. After all the inner border strips were added, I placed  the 3/8" mark on the ruler down the seam line and drew a chalk line down the edge.
  3. I added dabs of glue (using Roxanne’s Glue Baste-It) down the inside of the chalk line.
  4. I then lined up the next border fabric (which I also cut 1 inch wide – even though it’s destined to be a quarter-inch finished) with the chalk line and lightly pressed to hold it in place.  (You obviously could use pins or just hold it in place if you are adverse to the idea of glue).
  5. At the sewing machine, I lined up the edge of my quarter-inch foot with the edge of the second border fabric. 
  6. After sewing, I trimmed the accent border (the blue fabric) to an eighth of an inch past the edge of the red fabric (so there would be a gradation on the seam allowances – creating a flatter surface).
  7. That’s it.  Iron it open.  NOTE:  I used the same technique to add the quarter-inch borders as well.  (Draw the chalk line at a half-inch).

If anyone tries out that border technique, let me know how it goes.  Of course, I’ve probably just reinvented the wheel and somebody out there is already doing this, but since it’s new to me, I’m feeling pretty full of myself at the moment.  (Always a fleeting experience!) 

Anyway, I like the bag well enough but between figuring out the zipper and coming up with this new trick on the accent border, I’m a happy camper.


  1. Love you bag. Thanks for all the instructions too. Zippers have always scared me. The info on the accent border was great too. Thanks for sharing.