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Quilted Patent PVC Bag

I recently made a basic PVC coated tote bag and now wanted to understand the construction of bags in a bit more detail. This black patent Quilted PVC Coated Fabric is a great design to make a bag – just thick enough to be sturdy but also handling well for sewing.

The fabric is pre-quilted and arrived folded.  If larger dimensions are being used ensure any PVC fabric ordered can be rolled for delivery as it can leave marks on the finished side.  If it will be delivered folded rather than rolled make sure you order extra to allow for some areas that may have fold marks visible.

I love the shine on the fabric, and I planned to make a craft bag that looked like an everyday tote bag from the outside but with all the relevant storage inside.

I do a lot of hand embroidery and often want to take some supplies with me, threads, hoops and works-in-progress and also my iPad where my designs stored.  I cut the fabric to the dimensions 17 inches x 13 inches with a 3 inch box corner, giving a final base width of 5 inches – I always make things using metric measurements but somehow it made more sense to work in inches for a bag.  It was easy to mark the dimensions on the back of the fabric with a pencil and to cut with scissors.

I hadn’t got a piece of fabric in a large enough quantity for the lining/pockets but had a bundle of cotton fat quarters that I had bought for cushion covers, along with a co-ordinating grey cotton.  I decided to use this bundle to brighten the inside.

For inspiration, I used the internal pockets of my Kipling bags  – on one side a key tag, phone and pen pockets with pleats to add depth.  On the opposite side were a couple of wider pockets large enough to fit 7” embroidery hoops.

The pocket sections were planned out and it surprised me how much length is required for a continuous pocket & I allowed approximately a centimetre on either side of each pocket for folding under, which creates the depth.  Before attaching the pockets, I doubled over the fabric, stitched right sides together, turned and pressed to make a double-sided pocket.

As with all my shop bought bags, I like a key chain, and these are really simple to create and secure in the side seam before stitching the bag lining.

Another point of learning for me was adding a Stiff Interfacing, ideally iron on although I only had sew in.  I attached it after creating all of the internal details/pockets but in hindsight if I had attached it first, the internal stitching would have secured the fabric to the interfacing.  Consequently, I overstitched some of the pocket seams to fix the interfacing and stop the fabric draping.

I designed the bag to have a deep base and a padded central pocket for my iPad.  However,  I mis judged the internal size and the central pocket was too wide at the bottom once the corners were boxed, but it is still a useful pocket and may even be good for my camera.

Working with PVC it’s important to do some test stitching on a small piece of fabric and for this fabric I reduced the machine tension and increased the stitch length.  I have a Teflon foot and it may have helped slightly however applying even tension with both hands whilst stitching allowed the fabric to flow more easily.

It is also important not to use pins because marks are left with any piercing of the fabric. Sewing Clips like these are ideal but as I had none I improvised with clothes pegs, although they are a bit clumsy!  I also found masking tape useful as it doesn’t leave a sticky residue.  However, I did use pins along the zipper gusset but only along the stitch line.  Similarly, any unpicking will leave needle holes.  

To keep all of my bits & bobs secure I wanted a top zip and added a gusset made in the same black PVC fabric.  I used a chunky plastic zip, on this occasion an open ended one, which I stitched closed with a small tab on the end.  Because the zipper was added after the lining was made, I stitched it in place with a very narrow seam and it is actually hardly noticeable and is a simple way to add a zip.  There are many tutorials online describing how to add a zip to a bag.It was fairly difficult to sew all of the layers of the gusset when folding in the edges and the corners and I should probably have made it with one side PVC and one side lining fabric to reduce the bulk.  It did turn out ok but I had to stitch really slowly on my domestic machine.

For the handles I cut two pieces 6 inches by 30, folded in both long edges and stitched two lines of stitches.  To secure to the outer bag I stitched a 3 inch long section approximately a third in from each end.  The handles are long enough to carry on a shoulder.

Although not perfect on this occasion, I’m really pleased with the bag & inside pockets and have a much better understanding of the construction of a more detailed bag using this PVC coated fabric.  I love the finished patent bag, which appears sophisticated & expensive looking.

Overall, I will use PVC coated fabric again , including patent effect, & I recommend sewing on a test piece to get used to the feel and the required machine tension.

A very attractive bag can be made quite easily, and the fabric would also work well for smaller pouches due to its great flexibility.

Thanks to Minerva for the fabric and to everyone for reading.

Helen @ JustSewHelen.com

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