Airport Sling Sew Along - Post #3: Finishing The Bag Exterior

4/23/2016 03:36:00 PM

Welcome to Post #3 - Finishing the Bag Exterior.

If you have just joined us, Lindsay and I are sewing up some projects found in our book On the Go Bags, and this sew along is for the Airport Sling bag.

Join us in the On the Go Bags Facebook group, to join the sew along fun and chat with other participants!

If you have missed a post in the sew along, 
here are the previous posts:

Let's Get Started:

In this edition of the Airport Sling sew along, we will be focusing only on page 116 -119 in the book. We'll work on the exterior slip pocket, completing the bag shell, and boxing the corners.

I've made another video for you to share which pieces we will be using. Any instructional tips I have in there will be repeated below. Watch carefully because there will be a skill testing question at the end of the post!

Page 119 - Make and Attach the Slip Pocket

Transfer the markings:

Before you get started, you'll need to transfer the target markings onto the front piece of the slip pocket, and the front of the slip pocket flap (if you are using a twist/turn lock), or the BACK of the slip pocket flap (if you are using a magnetic snap).

Follow the instructions to create and attach your slip pocket. I've got a few tips here that will make things a bit easier for you!

The first thing you will do is attach the turning part of the twist lock, or the female side of the magnetic snap onto the marked spot. I would use your ruler here and double check that it's centred. I've attached the turning part here:

In Step 3 I have you add your turning part of the lock first, and then sew around the Slip Pocket pieces. This does create quite a lump inside with the turning part there, but it's totally doable. If you would prefer, you can add the turning part (for a bag lock) or the magnetic snap half (for a magnetic snap) after it is turned right sides out. Tip: Glue a piece of fleece over the back of the metal washer and prongs on the wrong side of the fabric to protect your phone or other items that might get put in this pocket!

If you need some extra help adding a bag lock, here is a tutorial for you. 
If you need some extra help adding a magnetic snap, here is a tutorial for you.

At the bottom of page 116, it tells you to repeat steps 3-5 for the slip pocket flap. This is what it will look like when that is done. You can see the added piece of stabilizer I have fused to the wrong side of one piece. This can either be fusible fleece or peltex and is for added thickness and strength for the bag lock plates or the male side of the magnetic snap.

Add the Rest of the Lock Parts: Turn the flap right sides out, press, and topstitch as instructed in step 8 at the top of page 117, and if you are adding the bag lock plates you can follow the instructions in step 9 or use the tutorial I linked to above.

Adding a Magnetic Snap: If you are adding the magnetic snap, you can add the other half of the snap TO THE BACK SIDE of the flap only. Do this by reaching through the opening to separate the layers so that you don't poke holes through both the front and back sides. You can follow the tutorial linked to above, reaching through the opening to turn the prongs over.

Attaching the slip pocket to the bag front is pretty straight forward. I only have a couple of hints for you here:

  1. Make sure you have your exterior panel positioned so that it's 10 1/2" wide and 9" high, and not turned the other way!  The book has a typo and says "10" high". I didn't see this during the editing process. The cutting directions are correct!
  2. When stitching the top of the slip pocket flap on in Step 12, my machine was having trouble with the layers and the angle the foot was sitting on. Switched to my walking foot/quilting foot and boom, troubles were over!
Page 118 - Assemble the Exterior Shell
You might as well leave that walking foot on from the hint above, because you'll want it if you are working with some fabric that is backed with fusible fleece. It will stitch through like a dream with the walking foot. Lengthening your stitch length through thick fabric and layers always helps too. Here is what it looks like with the tops/bottoms on the exterior panels before they have been pressed over and topstitched. There are so many layers at the bottom of that passport pocket, I switched to a jeans needle after breaking whatever needle was in my machine! I guess it didn't deserve to be there ;-)

After step 2, when all of the pieces were stitched and topstitched, I decided I wanted a firmer bottom - don't we all? So I used some double sided tape to stick a strip of "Stiff Stuff" along the length of the bag base strip. You can see it in the photo below (the one the pin is sticking through). I have to say that I don't know if it made much difference. If you are going to do this, you should cut it short enough that it's not going to be in the way when you box the corners. 

Speaking of boxed corners, if you haven't done this before you might have trouble visualizing it from the drawing, so this is what it will look like when you have placed the side seam down on the base and pinned it in place. This is done in step 4, but this is the view from the TOP.

Let's go back to the photo that was above this one, this is the view from the bottom:

Step 5 at the top of page 119 seems a bit confusing, because it is! This definitely could have been written better and the drawing could have been better to. This isn't exactly how I wrote it, but I guess the tech editor thought it was confusing the way I wrote it, so fixed it for me. Let me make this clear, the line (blue line in the photo above & blue dashed line below) should be 1 3/4" long and the point will be about 1" from the line. Here is a clear drawing!

Tip!! My machine kept skipping stitches when I tried to sew this dashed line, even with my walking foot. The issue was that other seam that is in the point. It makes a bump and puts your foot off kilter!  I had to go ahead and cut my points off before stitching, which is normally a no-no, but worked in this case. If this is happening to you, I would pin well, mark your sewing line, and cut off the point leaving as much seam allowance as you can. Then sew your second seam line, turn it right side out to check and make sure it looks like the photo below, and then go back and trim back the extra fabric next to the second seam line.

Here is how that gorgeous corner looks!

While we are on page 119, you might as well make the bag strap and add the strap tabs (strap anchors). If you are using some very thick material, you may encounter some difficulties with the thickness of the strap anchor tabs when you are topstitching at the end of the project. If you are using denim, upholstery fabric, or canvas - this might be you! I would consider using a different method than described, which just involves sewing a tube.  Cut your strips 2 1/2" wide instead of 4" and assemble them this way instead:

This concludes my 3rd post in the sew along. I'll be watching the facebook group to see all of your Airport Slings in construction. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them there. Oh, I do have a question for you though! Let's see how many can tell me: Who is my video co-star? Comment below!

In our next post we will be working on our bag linings with an optional pocket and zipper opening. See you later this week!

Thanks for reading!


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  1. It's Jerry! Janelle if I want to make my bag bottom deeper, do I need to just adjust the size of the exterior/interior bag base and cut it out at the depth I want, or do I have to do other adjustments as well? Thanks

  2. Nice Airport sling bag. This is a perfect bag to carry small things like cosmetic products, sun glasses, small pouch etc.Thanks for sharing the post!!
    Fashion haul


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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