Tote bag: Using a sheer floral over black - stiffener?

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Tote bag: Using a sheer floral over black - stiffener?

Postby chattyme » August 27th, 2008, 9:28 pm

Hi all,

I'm just starting a tote bag project as a gift. I found some beautiful sheer floral fabric in the dollar bin at Walmart. It stretches in one direction, but not the other. It doesn't display any fabric info so I don't know what it is - but I like it a lot. I also purchased some black shiny costume material that will serve as the backer/liner of the bag. Now that I'm home, I started second guessing my plan. This will be a soft bag, not stiff. Is that okay? Or is there some law that declares a tote must be stiff? Help? I can't imagine using a fusible webbing on the sheer. I'd lose the black background of the satiny piece. If I do want it stiff, what could I use / do? I plan to crochet the straps and sew them to fabric or ribbon and use them as the handles. Never done that before so I hope it works. I picked up invisible thread and will be using that for the first time, too. Lots of firsts on this project!! :D

Oh - I also picked up 4 yards for $4 of this lovely synthetic fabric that I hope to make a skirt and maybe a top from. No declaration of what it is either. Is there a way I can find out? It's a nice neutral earth tone in the brown taupe family somewhere.
chattyme
 

Re: Tote bag: Using a sheer floral over black - stiffener?

Postby nonie » August 27th, 2008, 9:40 pm

Bunny is the expert in this department, I don't think a tote has to be stiff. Sounds like it is going to be beautiful.
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Re: Tote bag: Using a sheer floral over black - stiffener?

Postby chattyme » August 27th, 2008, 9:47 pm

I'm tickled to get your feedback. Thank you.
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Re: Tote bag: Using a sheer floral over black - stiffener?

Postby Karens Krafts » August 28th, 2008, 7:55 am

Been trying to think of something you could do down the sides and bottom to give it 'shape'. You might want to think about how it will "hang" from the handles. I know what you mean about the fabric loosing its beauty if you put webbing in it. Still thinking.......................maybe someone will come along with a great answer.
Betty or Bunny..................you out there with a great answer? Karen
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Re: Tote bag: Using a sheer floral over black - stiffener?

Postby chattyme » August 28th, 2008, 8:26 am

Thanks, Karen. :)

Your comments made me think: What if I take that black material and make it into a sandwich with a middle of something stiff, or fusible webbing? Then the black would be outter-most - and I could attach the floral over the top with no one the wiser. :) I have to really think this through yet, but does that sound like it could work?
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Re: Tote bag: Using a sheer floral over black - stiffener?

Postby chattyme » August 28th, 2008, 9:11 am

Additional thoughts:

I have a red corduroy fabric scrap which was given to me. It is somewhat stiffer. It looks big enough that I could use it in the "sandwich" for a stiffener. It still wouldn't be very firm like hard canvas, but it would help it shape. Would that work?

Alternatively, I have some "warm and natural needled cotton" that I use as insulation in doggy jackets. I guess it is for quilting. That would be soft but firmer than the plain black fabric. Is that an option as a middle for the sandwich?
chattyme
 

Re: Tote bag: Using a sheer floral over black - stiffener?

Postby Karens Krafts » August 28th, 2008, 9:40 am

I think most any of your ideas would work. I'd probably use the warm & natural since it holds it's shape real well. I do think you need something to make it stay shaped like a tote, and not sag like a cloth bag. Sure wish someone better than me would come along. There has got to be a GREAT idea out there. I have so much stuff, I'd probably try boning in the seams, but that's because I happen to have some. I always try to figure out a way to do things with what I have. That's why I think the w&n will work. Do you have enough fabric to try a small something? Just to see how well it holds the fabric in shape? How heavy is the fabric? Like a cotton quilting fabric, a slinky synthetic, or a home dec, stable fabric?
I know there are ways of telling what the fabric is made from, but when I've tried them, I still couldn't tell, so I still buy the bargain stuff, and just "wing it". (Can't pass up a bargain!) Karen
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Re: Tote bag: Using a sheer floral over black - stiffener?

Postby chattyme » August 29th, 2008, 3:06 pm

Hi Karen, Thanks for the further ideas. :) It all helps.

I do have enough of everything - except the black satiny stuff - to do a little trial. That's a good idea - I'll give it a try.

To describe the material weight:

The floral is so sheer and lightweight it doesn't count for anything at all in shape.

The black satiny stuff is like lining material - light and slippery on one side - no shape.

The red corduroy is about as heavy and stiff as denim - maybe like the denim used by Lee jeans for women. It was originally used to make a dress for a woman I know when she was pregnant. I just washed a segment of it today and it retained its feeling.

And you know the W&N, of course.

Does that tell you what you were asking? I think ultimately making a small test would be best. I'll keep you posted on that! :)

OH - on last thought - you mentioned boning which I've never used, but I had contemplated the idea of using wooden dowels in the corners. I don't think it would work though - because it would be possible to snap them - they're only 1/4" round.
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Re: Tote bag: Using a sheer floral over black - stiffener?

Postby chattyme » August 30th, 2008, 8:35 pm

I do not recommend doing this sort of project. It is really hideously difficult! The satiny black material is a bear on its own - and I should have known that since I cursed at similar material using as underlining when making my first simple skirt recently. It simply has a mind of its own - but when trying to wrap it around both sides of a piece of heavier fabric - it is even more difficult to work with. Then ... adding this ultra light weight sheer into the mix is like trying to pin water to a piece of saran wrap. It is maddening. The worst part is that after fighting this battle all day long I find the layers are so thick that the seams and corners of the bag are very hard to cope with and sew through. I'm plunging onward and making the self-handles right now. The crocheting pieces wouldn't sew well to the fabric and so they've been junked.

This may not be a gift after all. It is a bit too ... ugly. I may keep it as my crocheting bag! Grrr.
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Re: Tote bag: Using a sheer floral over black - stiffener?

Postby chattyme » August 31st, 2008, 7:58 am

Quick update. It was still a bear to do - but it has left ugly status and gone on to attractive after I did a couple hours of hand stitching to make the inner seams behave last night. I tacked down all the seam edges and the points at the bottom where I made the mitered corners to square the bag bottom. It is amazing how much this improved my perception of the bag. I guarantee there will be no repeat performance of this style of construction, however.
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