PATTERN SPOTLIGHT- THE TITANIA TOTE PATTERN FEATURE

Welcome back to the RLR Creations “Pattern Spotlight”

I’m Tanya Summers, Creative Director at Little Mate’s Wardrobe and one of your friendly admin on the RLR Creations Sewing Patterns group. In this edition, I am looking forward to showing you some tips and tricks in creating the RLR Creations “Titania Tote” pattern to help you create your very best version of one of my favourite patterns. 

 Bag and Photo by Tanya Summers of Little Mate's Wardrobe

Bag and Photo by Tanya Summers of Little Mate's Wardrobe

Firstly, you will need a copy of the Titania Tote pattern, which is available for purchase on rlrcreations.com, Craftsy and Etsy.

** Surprise!!** For our valued readers of this blog, we will have a special discount code for you to use on rlrcreations.com, so keep your eyes peeled.

So, gather your fabric, interfacing and fancy O-Ring bling (and a cuppa) and let’s go through the pattern.

I will focus on 4 main parts of the pattern.

The first 2 sections I will cover this week:

  • Front Exterior Welt Pocket 
  • Strap Connectors and contrast Bottom 

Then next week we will go through:

  • Making a Peek-a-boo feature on the Internal Zip Pocket
  • Attaching and Top Stitching your Top Main Zip

Front Exterior Welt Pocket

After interfacing the pattern, the next step calls for you to do your Welt Pocket. For many of you (as it was for me when I tested the pattern) this will be the first time you’ve attempted one of these. Trust me when I say it is just as easy as a zip pocket.

Tip #1 – For the fussy cutters –

When I fussy cut my pieces I wanted to keep intact the head nearest the top including her hair. Unfortunately what would happen then is the chin of the face was going to be cut off with the welt pocket. So I drew the welt pocket box a teeny bit down to accommodate the full face (and moved the lining on the other side down the same amount to match). As you can see below, the face is visible through the interfacing and allowed me to move it down to suit me.

 

Sew and clip as per the instructions, keeping in mind that the closer you can snip into the corner (without cutting the stitches) the squarer your corners will look.

 

 

 

 

Next, when turning the pocket lining through, I like to use a strip of water soluble fabric glue to hold the fabric to keep even pressure on the crease instead of relying on pins.

After sewing your two welt pieces together, as per the instructions, and pressing open, run a strip of glue either side of the opening and lay your welt pocket over the opening, centering the seam. I like to roll mine down from one side so I can eyeball the seam into the centre as I go. 

 
 

Check it looks correct from the front…

If you’ve come this far in, you deserve a break. Like the look of the pattern? Head over to rlrcreations.com, add the Titania Tote to your cart, enter the codeword GDAY-TITANIA and receive 25% off the Titania pattern! (valid til March 31st 2017).

Okay, phew! Enough of that excitement! Where were we? Yes, that’s right, stitch around the outside of our welt pocket opening to hold the pocket welts in place.

You can choose at this point whether to unpick the stitches holding the welts together (at step 6 on page 6) or do as I do and wait til the end when you turn your bag right side out to do it as one of your finishing touches.
 
 

To sew the pocket lining onto the welt pocket is a little bit different from the usual zip pocket, but once you’ve seen how to do it, it’s a simple process. Align the bottom of your pocket liner piece to the bottom of the welt pieces.

 

Sew along that edge by moving the Main Panel piece out of the way.

 

 

 

Press the seam open so that the pocket lining sits flat.

Fold the pocket lining piece up so that the top short edge aligns with the top of the welts. Pin together without catching the other layers.

 

 

Sew along the top edge, keeping the main piece up and out of the way. The next step is to sew the sides shut and we will use the same process of folding the main piece out of the way to sew the side seams of the pocket.

Your main piece will now look like this from the wrong side.

To create the slit in the fleece, use the measurements provided in step 1 of “Adding fleece to Exterior Main Panels” on Page 8 of your instructions. As you can see on mine, I use a quilting ruler to measure down the top measurement and use pins to measure in from the side. Then you can quickly create a cut along your ruler line keeping between those pins (do not cut over pins as your rotary cutter will get a blunt spot there and no longer cut properly).

 

Pull the lining through slit you just created in the fleece, making sure that it sits flat.

 

Iron the fleece to the main piece to hold it in place


Strap Connectors and Contrast Bottom

Firstly pin or clip your pocket up and out of the way.

 
 

Prepare your strap connectors by drawing a line longways down the centre of the piece. (*Please note this is slightly different to the instructions in the pattern, but will give you the same end result).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next run a strip of temporary fabric glue or double sided tape down the centre of the line you just made and fold the long sides in to meet at the centre. I like to use double sided tape for vinyl especially as it holds better than glue, but just be aware that certain tapes may ‘gum up’ or put a stick residue on your needle. If that happens carefully clean the needle with an alcohol wipe to remove the adhesive. Fold the strap connector through your o-ring and stitch to secure as per instructions. (I like to do my straps using the same method (draw line in centre, fold to centre, use tape to hold) then fold them in half longways again to get 4 thickness of vinyl.)

 
 

Use your quilting rulers as a handy guide when positioning your strap connectors. As my rings as thicker, I make my top measurement 1¾” instead of 2”, but that is just my personal preference and will not effect functionality. Check your side measurement is correct for the size you are making (ie 3” for the small size and 4” for the large size)

 
 

Once your strap connector is in the right place, use a little bit of Sewline Glue or double sided tape to hold the strap connector in position temporarily while you stitch it in place. If you are having trouble with skipped stitches or your needle isn’t moving, try using a ‘height adjustor’ or even folded vinyl of the same height under the back of your foot to make it level again.

 
 

 

If you have thick rings like these you may also use it on the opposite side of the foot to keep even pressure on each side as well as being level front to back.

**Please note that I will be using rivets to strengthen my strap connector attachment instead of using the strengthening X-box stitching as described in the pattern. If you do not intend on using rivets, please follow the instructions in the pattern to on how to sew the stitch box (as detailed on Page 11).

Use your rulers again to position your second strap connector and sew it again like the first. Repeat the process for the opposite Exterior Main Panel, then join the front and back panels as per the instructions in Section “Adding the Bottom Accent on page 12.

 
 

For my bottom contrast panel, my personal preference is to fold the edge rather than having the vinyl backing showing. When cutting my contrast piece in vinyl I will use the ‘cut on this line for fabric’ option. I measure down ¾” and draw a line and add my double sided tape to the outside of that line.

 
 

I then fold the edge to meet that folded line and you have a perfect 3/8” fold. (I use 3/8” as opposed to the ¼” stated as vinyl tends to be a bit harder to get a good fold on only ¼”). Lay your overlay on top of your joined Exterior front and back Main Panels and sew as per the instructions in the “Adding the Bottom Accent” section on page 13

 
 

Turn your piece over and you will see why we need to pin the external welt pocket lining up and out of the way. Phew!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yay!! That’s the outside done!!  (Aren’t you glad you pinned up that pocket!!)

Check back in next week-

To see how to make a peekaboo pocket for the interior…

 
 

…and some tips and tricks for to attaching and top stitching your top main zip

 
 

As always please share your creations on https://www.facebook.com/groups/RLRCreationsSewingPatterns/. We all love to see the beautiful bags that are made using the Titania Tote pattern (and of course any other RLR Creations patterns). So grab your discount code (ok I’ll be nice and put the GDAY-TITANIA discount code here too), head to the rlrcreations.com website and get creating on your very own Titania Tote, in either handbag or tote size.

 

*Please note these tips and tricks used in this article are the ways that I have found to be a quick and easy way to complete my Titania Tote. They are by no means the only way to do it. If you have a tip or trick that you would like to share with us, please join our RLR Creations Sewing Patterns Group and post your tips in there!!

 

See ya next week!!

If you would like to learn more about the extremely talented Tanya Summers and see the amazing  things she creates hop over to her facebook page at Little Mate's Wardrobe and take a moment to view her fabulous bags at her Etsy Store HERE!