Airport Sling Sew Along - Post #1: Supplies, Cutting, and Interfacing.

4/14/2016 10:11:00 PM

We are thrilled to start our fun sew along event today!

If you have been looking forward to starting some projects found in our book On the Go Bags, co-written by Lindsay Conner of Lindsay Sews, today is the day we get started.

You may have already joined the On the Go Bags Facebook group, but in case you haven't, check it out for all of the sew along info. I'll share some details here below, as well as the prizes you can win just for sewing along. :) We'll do about 2 weeks of instruction for each bag, and then you'll have 4 weeks to finish for a chance to enter your bag for giveaways. I'll give you some details about our sponsors and prizes below, and then we will get started on the FIRST SEW ALONG POST!

April 15 to May 30: Airport Sling

Airport Sling Prizes 2 Sew along with us to make my "Airport Sling" from the book for your chance to win one of these prizes. All prizes will be randomly selected from participants who submit their finished bag photo to the Facebook group by May 30th. Winners chosen on June 1st!

1 winner: 1 package of Pellon Flex-Foam®
3 winners: 1 package of ByAnnie's Soft and Stable, 36" x 58" white
1 winner: Aurifil thread collection curated by Annabel Wrigley, Maribel for Windham Fabrics
1 winner: 1 ebook of the winner's choice from C&T Publishing
1 winner: 1 Craftsy class of the winner's choice

Let's Get Started!

In this first sew along post, I am going to go over your supply list and talk a bit about some fabric changes & choices you might have. We'll delve into interfacing and stabilizers, and then get all of the cutting done, and interfacing applications out of the way. I've got some tips and hints for you that will help you be successful in making your Airport Sling AHH-MAZING!  

So what is so special about the Airport Sling?  Well I am totally in love with it, but it's my design so I need to sell YOU on it's cool features. This is a comfy cross-body bag with an adjustable strap. It's got room for wallet, sunglasses, keys etc. Perfect for travel or life "on the go". What's best about it? Hello, passport pocket! The exterior passport pocket with card slots and pen slip pocket is the the key feature here, and over the next week or so I am going to show you how simple this can be to put together. I'll help you make it, but you'll still need to use your book in conjunction with my tips and tricks. Nice pocket, hey?! 

Supplies & Fabrics:

The suggested fabric list for the Airport Sling is pretty straight forward, but there a few things that are worth noting:

1) In the book I suggest that the outer fabric be home decor weight cotton, sateen, canvas duck, or twill. (54" wide).  For that fabric choice, interfacing or another option to add thickness to your bag exterior, is not necessary! IF you would like to use some of your lovely quilting cottons, however,  GO FOR IT! 

If you are going to use quilting cottons or anything lighter than home decor weight, you will want to add a layer of fusible fleece and/or interfacing to the outer fabrics or your bag will be a flop. A floppy flop, that is. I recommend a needled fleece that is quite dense, like Pellon Thermolam Plus for this, but there are other brand name options available. 

2) If you do choose to go with a quilting cotton, remember that you will need a bit more fabric than suggested, because quilting cotton comes off of the bolt 42-44" wide, not 54" wide like the home decor cotton does. You should be safe with 1 yard. 

3) Because I was using decor cotton in the book, I didn't feel it was necessary to interfacing all of the lining pieces. With this sew along, not only am I using lighter weight fabric, but I am also going to add a slip pocket to the lining. When adding pockets, it's best to add them to interfaced fabric so that the pocket doesn't rip off through wear and tear. So if you are using thinner exterior fabric, adding pockets, or have preference for a bag with more stability, you might want to allow yourself some extra interfacing. I'll tell you when & where to apply it further along.

What fabric did I choose? 
I'm using some fabric from a pretty collection called Wonderland, designed by Katarina Rocdella for Art Gallery Fabrics. The outer fabric is the cream coloured feathered print, which is actually a light canvas duck print. It's not very heavy, so I'm going to treat it like a quilting cotton and add fusible fleece to most of the outer fabrics that are cut from it, but I'll detail that a bit more later! For the lining fabric, I picked 2 from the same collection. The pink fabric will be for my passport pocket and the bird cage print is the for the interior of the bag; both are quilting cotton weight. 

Outer fabric: 5/8 yard - home décor cotton, sateen, canvas duck or twill (54’’ wide)
Lining fabric: 3/8 yard - quilting cotton (40’’ wide)
Interfacing: 1 yard - light to medium weight fusible interfacing (20’’ wide) such as Pellon Shapeflex SF101 or Fusible Featherweight 911FF.
Stabilizer: 2’’ x 3’’ scrap of 1 side fusible Pellon Peltex 71F or similar heavyweight bag stabilizer.

What bag hardware am I using?
- I'm using a small turn lock for the exterior slip pocket.
- (2) Rectangle Rings 1" wide. (You could use O-rings, D-rings,  or even triangle strap connectors if you choose!)
- Zippers!  You only need one 14" zipper for the bag, but you are seeing 2 here, because I'm going to show you how to put in a zipper closure as another option instead of the magnetic snap.  Your zipper will work best if the width is 1 1/4" wide. We need some extra room for stitching and bag zippers that are a bit wider, such as a #4.5 or #5 zipper will work best. Choose a nylon zipper, it's easiest to sew over.
- (1) Magnetic Snap (not shown, oops, because I'm not using it - but I will tell you when/where to put it in.
- (1) Metal Bag Label - another optional item - but for me, I can't make a bag without an Emmaline label ;-) 

Cutting Fabric:

First of all…. get those THREE pattern pieces cut out. Copy them, trace them on the window, or what ever method you like, but get them ready!

Cutting the first piece: The first thing I tell you to do in the book, is to cut a 4 1/4" X Width of Fabric (WOF) strip for the bag strap. What is width of Fabric?  That will be the width of the fabric as it comes off of the bolt. So on one side you will have the selvedges, and the other you will have the fold, and you will cut across with your long ruler. If you are using the 54" wide fabric, you are going to have to fold that in half or your 24" ruler won't get across the width of it.

Cutting a 4 1/4" strip across the width of the fabric.
Strap Length: There is something important to think about here if you are using quilting cotton! If using fabric that is 44" wide (quilting cotton) your bag strap is going to be a bit short for a cross-body bag (unless you are petite). If you want it longer, you'll have to add a piece to the length. Cut another 4 1/4" strip and add it to the end of the first one by sewing it on a 45 degree angle (shown below). Sewing on a 45 degree angle is important so that you don't have a thick, bulky join that won't sew over easily and will not slide through your strap slider. After you have added your second piece, trim the strip to your desired length. Tip: Throw a measuring tape over your shoulder and figure out how long you want it!

How to make the 45 degree seam:
1. With right sides together, overlap your 4 1/4” wide strips at a 90 degree angle. You will have the ends hanging over about ¼”. Stitch across the corner as shown.
2. Trim excess fabric, leaving a ¼” seam allowance. Press the seam open.

Continue with your cutting:
Next in the instructions I have you cut (2) 2 1/2" x width of fabric strips and then subcut them into 7 strips 10 1/2" long. WHAT THE HECK IS SUBCUTTING? "Subcut" is often used in cutting lists for speed cutting. It really does make things so much faster. The strip is cut from the width of fabric, on the fold, and since it is double thickness, you are cutting 2 layers at a time. You can even stack strips and cut 4 or 6 at a time - but let's not go crazy here, we don't need that many.

Put the ruler across the width of fabric, cut the strip 2 1/2" wide, trim off the selvedge and cut the strip into 10 1/2" lengths, cutting 2 at a time because of the double layer.

Subcutting 10 1/2" lengths from the 2 1/2" strips. 
Next,  I have you cut (1) 9" x width of fabric strip and then subcut it into (2) 10 1/2" pieces.  The first photo below shows me cutting the 9" strip, and the second shows me cutting the 10 1/2" pieces. Essentially, you are cutting (2) pieces that are 10 1/2" wide x 9" high. If you would rather plunk your 12.5 x 12.5" gridded ruler on there and cut them that way, feel free!

Cut a 9" strip across width of fabric.
Cut into (2) 10 1/2" pieces. 
MUST READ: We have arrived at the most important part of this WHOLE POST. I've have a few makers stumble with this because a step in cutting is missed, so I'm going to pay special attention to it here!

Take 1 of the rectangles from above and fold it in half along the 10 1/2" side. So this means it will be folded to 5 1/4" wide x 9" high. Pin the Exterior Panel and Slip pocket pattern piece to it, placing the "place on fold" on the folded side. Cut the solid line to separate the 2 pattern pieces. Do not cut the fold.

Place fabric on fold, and cut on solid line to separate.

Turn the piece around and open it up and you will now have an exterior slip pocket!
Why did I make the slip pocket out of the piece cut out of the panel? Well, why waste it?  At the time of writing the book, we were informed that we had very limited space for pattern pieces, so I conserved space and recycled the cut out material for the outside slip pocket. Later, we ended up with extra space on the pattern pull out - who knew!  Note: if you are using a directional print - well, you might just have to pitch this one or use it for the pocket lining. In the next cutting step, you will reuse this paper piece to cut one more slip pocket piece.

The rest of the cutting instructions are very clear, you've got the hang of it now and you shouldn't have any more problems. 

Tip: For those of you that are used to drawing out rectangles on paper, I hope you will try using a gridded ruler to cut your pieces. You can cut 2 or more layers at a time. Place your ruler on the fabric, and cut the right side edge and top edge only:

Place the ruler on the fabric, allowing room to cut a 10 1/2" wide x 10" high piece. The left and bottom edges will be crooked and too long to start with. Trim the right edge and top edge. 
Then turn the fabric counter clockwise 2X, place the ruler on your fabric at the required measurement and cut the right side edge and top edge again. Turn and trim!

Rotate the fabric counter clockwise 2X, line up the 10 1/2" wide and 10" high lines on the cut edges, and trim off the right side and top. Done!
Let's talk interfacing:
Cut the interfacing as per the list provided. Some of the pieces are noticeably smaller than their co-ordinating pieces, and I do this to reduce the bulk in the seam allowances.

You'll have to cut some additional pieces of interfacing & fusible fleece if you are using quilting cotton for the outer fabric though, and I'll list those here for you, AND I will mention them again when I am ready to use them. So when we go through the sections to sew the bag together, I will make sure you have the correct pieces, and that they are interfaced correctly. So if you don't get it now, don't worry!

Strap - cut a 4" wide strip of woven interfacing that is 6" shorter than your bag strap. Hint: you'll have to use a few lengths of interfacing to make this, and those you will fuse end to end when you adhere them.

Exterior pieces - cut fusible fleece for the exterior panel, exterior panel that is shaped like an "n", 2 exterior tops, 2 exterior bottoms, and Exterior Passport pocket. (if this is confusing, it will be explained later!)  Trim the fusible fleece so that it is 3/8" smaller around all sides than the co-ordinating fabric pieces before fusing.

Lining Side Panels - since I will be adding an extra slip pocket inside the bag, I am interfacing the lining side panels for strength and durability. You can do this whether or not you add a pocket. I have done it with and without and there wasn't much of a difference. It may me personal preference.

Fuse all interfacing and fleece as per the directions OR wait until we stitch each section and when I tell you which pieces you are using, I will tell you if it's interfaced.

About the STABILIZER for the purse lock: This refers to heavy interfacing that we are using to strengthen the area where the bag lock on the front slip pocket is attached. You can leave this off for now and we will revisit it later.

Start cutting! 
Please choose your fabrics, share your photos in the facebook group and start your cutting and fusing. I'll be there to help you out if you have any questions. My next post will be in 3 days, Monday, April 18th, and we will get through all of the exciting bits of making a passport pocket.

Updated: Hop to Post #2 Here! 

Thanks for reading,


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  1. shirley schenmeyerApril 15, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    thank you for the detailed cutting instructions. they were very helpful. Shirley Schenmeyer

  2. I'm excited to join in on this...just caught it in my e-mail update today :) I was wondering if you could tell me how much fabric I'll need? I ordered the book, but it won't be here until Tuesday and I wanted to order the fabric, too, so I can get started asap! Thanks!

    1. Hi Nicole! No problem!!
      Outer fabric: 5/8 yard - home décor cotton, sateen, canvas duck or twill (54’’ wide)
      Lining fabric: 3/8 yard - quilting cotton (40’’ wide)
      Interfacing: 1 yard - light to medium weight fusible interfacing (20’’ wide) such as Pellon Shapeflex SF101 or Fusible Featherweight 911FF.
      Stabilizer: 2’’ x 3’’ scrap of 1 side fusible Pellon Peltex 71F or similar heavyweight bag stabilizer.
      (1) Purse twist lock
      (2) 1’’ Metal rings for bag strap
      (1) 1’’ Metal adjustable slider for bag strap
      (1) 9/16’’ Slim magnetic purse snap
      (1) 14’’ - #5 Zipper (1 1/4’’ wide, heavy duty)

    2. Thank you so much! I just ordered all of the specialty stuff from your site and am excited to get everything else so I can start the project!

  3. Love your fabric choices Janelle, it will look so pretty!

    1. Thank you, Mara! I can't wait to have my finished bag too. I seldom seem to have the perfect fabric on hand without order, but this time I already had it!

  4. I also am in love with your fabric choices. Especially your choice for the exterior. I just moved into my house and my sewing room is the last to be set up. I'm going to try to make that happen quick so I can join in on the fun. I really like your writing style and humor, makes me feel like we are sitting side by side.

    1. Thank you!! Great to have you with us! These posts will stay up on the blog, os of you are a bit late, that's not a worry!

  5. Great tutorial. Will you have a closure option for those of us who prefer not to use the "lock"? Thanks.

    1. Hi Laura, the lock goes on the front pocket, and I can definitely tell you to use a magnetic snap or a press snap for that. What would you like to use as a closure?

  6. Cant wait until we do card slip pockets as i have problems with these when folding

  7. Thanks for the detailed info. I have my fabrics and ordered all my hardware. This was my favorite project from the book. Thanks for doing the sew along.

  8. Thanks for the detailed info. I have my fabrics and ordered all my hardware. This was my favorite project from the book. Thanks for doing the sew along.

  9. I appreciate the tutorial. Even having it I still messed up. Also, did you notice the pattern in the book says to cut the pieces 10x10 1/2? My sling is still ok unfortunately it is narrow (9"). I'll have to try it again.

  10. I appreciate the tutorial. Even having it I still messed up. Also, did you notice the pattern in the book says to cut the pieces 10x10 1/2? My sling is still ok unfortunately it is narrow (9"). I'll have to try it again.

    1. Hi there sorry to hear you are having troubles. Yes the cutting instructions in the book are correct, there is an errata for when it is referring to picking up your pieces to use, but if you cut them as per the instructions, you will have no troubles at all! Page 117 - Airport Sling

      Step 10 should be: Place the flap onto the slip pocket, closing the lock, and center this pocket unit on the other 10 1/2" wide x 9" high exterior panel. Measure for the center and pin the slip pocket in place.


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The contents of this blog, including text, original photos and ideas are the sole property of the author. If you intend to use my text or images, please link back to this blog and give credit to Emmaline Bags & Patterns. A notification email would be greatly appreciated too! Please do not ever republish an entire post, any tutorials, or post photos of my family. Thank you, Janelle