boxed corners of a purse

Tutorials / Resources

- Listed in Alphabetical order.  Please scroll down to find more. – 

Bagging a LiningTo line a tote, bag or purse, make up the lining the same way you made up your tote, but in a thinner fabric and about 3-5 cm (1-2″) shorter than the outer piece, depending on the size of the bag.  When sewing the lining, leave a 15 cm (5”) opening in one of the seams of the lining.  Bagged LiningThen turn the lining inside out, and the tote right side out, and place the exterior inside the lining so that both of the right sides are together.  Align the raw edges and pin and sew along these edges.  Once you have finished sewing, carefully turn the item through the opening in the lining seam.  Now the wrong side of the lining is facing the wrong side of the tote bag and you see the right sides of both.  Having a lining allows you to cover all your unfinished seams and adds a design element as you can select coordinating fabric.  It also extends the life of your tote and provides strength and stability.

Belt With Buckle:  To make a fabric belt, cut out two rectangles, Fabric Beltsthe length will be your waist measurement plus about 25 cm (10”) and the width will be 2 cm (3/4”) wider than the post of your buckle.  Using a 0.5 cm (¼”) seam allowance, place the rectangles right sides together and sew up along both short ends and one long side.  Sew up the other long side leaving a 5cm (2”) opening in the middle.  This should result in your belt being about 1cm (1/2″) wider than your buckle opening.  Belt attached to Buckle Centre PostCut the excess fabric diagonally from the corners and trim the seam allowance on the short ends.  Turn the fabric right side out, then slipstitch the opening closed.  Thread one end of the belt through the buckle and wrap it around the centre post.  Whipstitch the end of the belt to the body about 2.5cm (1”) from the post of the buckle.

Bias Binding (Attaching):  You can either make your own, by cutting fabric strips on the bias and sewing them together to the desired length, or you can purchase ready made.  One side of the bias binding will be slightly slightly wider than the other side.

Bias Binding, one side wider than the other.

Back Side Wider

Bias Binding Raw Edge of Narrower Side Pinned to Raw Edge of Right Side of Fabric

Bias Binding Raw Edge of Narrower Side Pinned to Raw Edge of Right Side of Fabric

This wider side is the back of the bias binding, and will go the the back (wrong side) of the fabric, so that it catches in the stitch line when you sew on the front (narrower side) of the bias binding.

Sew Along First Fold of Bias Binding

Sew Along First Fold of Bias Binding

Fold Binding Over Raw Edge of Fabric With Wider Side on Wrong Side of Fabric

Fold Binding Over Raw Edge of Fabric With Wider Side on Wrong Side of Fabric

Unfold the bias binding and pin the raw edge of the narrower (front) side to the raw edge of the right side of your fabric.  Sew along the first crease of the bias binding, the one closest to the raw edge.

Fold over the bias binding, sandwiching the raw edge of the fabric in between both sides of the binding. Stitch in the ditch, along the previously sewn stitch line, on the front of the fabric and bias binding being sure to catch the wider back side of the binding in your stitch line.

Stitch in the Ditch (on the Previous Stitch Line) on the Right Side of Fabric and Bias Binding

Stitch in the Ditch (on the Previous Stitch Line) on the Right Side of Fabric and Bias Binding

Wider Back Side of Bias Binding Caught in Sewing Line

Wider Back Side of Bias Binding Caught in Sewing Line

Boxing Corners:  refers to sewing a straight line across the corners of a bag or purse.  When you box the corners of a purse or bag, you will have the bag inside out and will have to make sure the side seam is exactly centred boxed corners of a purseon the folded triangular corner.  The ruler is going to be your friend in this task.  You can use a clear square ruler for this or a T-Square.  After you have centred the seam, decide how large you want the boxed corner to be.  Anywhere between 2 cm (1”) to 8 cm (3”) will usually make for a nice boxy shape to the bag.  Measure down from the corner, the amount you want and draw a line perfectly perpendicular to the side seam.  Sew across this line and cut off the excess.

Casings (for Elastic or Drawstring Waistbands):  consists of a tunnel sewn to accommodate a drawstring or elastic at the waistline of a skirt, pants or dress.  A casing can also be used at the hems of pants and sleeves of tops.  You will need to fold the fabric towards the wrong side and press about 0.75 cm (quarter-inch), then fold down again the width of the elastic or drawstring, plus about 1 cm (half an inch).  Sew the casing closed, all along the garment, leaving a 4 cm (2″) opening.  Optional:  You can also edgestitch all the way around the top of the casing.  This flattens out the gathers at the hemmed edge and neatens the look.

Bodkin with Drawstring and Safety Pin with Elastic

Bodkin with Drawstring
and Safety Pin with Elastic

Using either a bodkin or a safety-pin attached to one end of the elastic or drawstring, thread the item through, being careful not to pull the opposite end into the casing.

For an elastic, overlap the two ends about 1 cm (half-inch), sew together and insert back into casing.  Adjust gathers and sew the casing closed.  For a drawstring, you will need to insert two buttonholes, approximately 2 cm (1″) apart at the front of the garment, within the casing, in order for both ends of the drawstring to exit and be tied.  The buttonholes can be placed so that the drawstring exits at either the inside or the outside of the garment.

Waistbands with elastic casing (left) and drawstring casing (right)

Waistbands with elastic casing (left) and drawstring casing (right)

You can also add a casing of different fabric, instead of folding down the fabric of the existing garment.  For this, you would do as above, but instead of adding the amount you calculated for the casing onto your original fabric, you would measure this amount onto the new fabric and cut it out.  You will also have to add another 0.5 cm (5/8″) or whatever is your seam allowance, as you will be attaching the casing to your garment.

Fold Over Elastic (for Waistbands, Cuffs or Hems):  You can use elastic that has a fold in it and fold it in half over the top of the waistband or cuff, sandwiching the raw edge of the garment fabric in between the two sides of the elastic.

Attach Foldover Elastic at Waist or Cuff or Hem, Stretching Elastic as You Sew

Attach Foldover Elastic at Waist, Cuff or Hem, Stretching Elastic as You Sew

Attach it by stretching the fold over elastic in sections, while being careful not to stretch your fabric, and sew along the bottom edge of the elastic, being sure to catch both sides in your sewing line.  You can attach it using a straight or zig-zag stitch, depending on how much stretch you require.