Monday, October 20, 2008

Tutorial: Sew A Lining Into A Crocheted Bag

This tutorial shows you how I hand sew a fabric lining into a crochet bag.  There is a line of stitching at the top of the fold in my lining as reference.  If you make a lining, you don't need the stitching line.   The Detailed Instructions are numbered to make it easy to refer to them (or keep your place) ... not each numbered item is really a step to follow.

You need:

the unlined crochet bag
the lining (use my lining tutorial if you need instructions)
stitch markers

Basic Instructions

· Pin the lining into the bag
· Sew the lining into the bag

Sounds pretty easy, huh? :)  Perhaps I just have a flair for making the simple as complicated as possible, because a 28-photo tutorial detailing these two steps is below ...

Detailed instructions (text is above its corresponding photo)

· Pin the lining into the bag.

1) Find the crochet row where you will be sewing the lining into the bag.  I like to use a row just below the handle opening.  I marked the rows with red Vs to show you what I'm talking about.  You will only have rows that look like this if you crocheted back and forth.  You could use either of the rows.  I'll be using the one I'm pointing at.

2) Use a stitch marker to mark the midpoint of both sides of the handbag.

3) Put the lining in the bag.  Line up the lining's midpoint (for me, it's the snap) with the stitch marker.  Pin the lining and bag together so the top of the lining is aligned with the crochet row where you'll be attaching the lining.

4) I put the snaps in my lining in the exact middle of each side.  Then I align the snap with the stitch marker.  Since everything is lined up with the midpoint of the side, when my bag is snapped closed, the handles match up exactly and aren't off-set at all.

5) Close the snap and fold the handbag flat to find the right and left edges of the crochet bag.

6) Line up the fold in the bag and the lining seam and pin them together so the crochet row and top of the lining are aligned (where the picture says "left side").

7) Hold the bag so it's flat between two of the pins.  Put as many pins as you can between the two pins.  Repeat for all four in-between-pins parts.

8) Make sure you don't stretch or bunch up the crochet.  The fabric and the crochet aren't going to be perfectly the same size, because the crochet will stretch if you pull it.  Just do the best you can to keep from bunching it up in the pinning stage because that will make the sewing easier later.

· Sew the lining into the bag

9) Try to be slow and deliberate while sewing in the lining to minimize how many times you poke the hell out of yourself with all the pins.  I usually end up with several huge pin gouges.  In fact, I was already bleeding by this point in the photo shoot.  It gives me shivers just remembering it ... eeeewwwwww!

10) Cut a length of thread that is 3 times the length of your handbag.  That will be more than enough to finish the job.

11) Thread your needle and knot the thread.  This knotting tutorial is awesome.

12) Find a place on your lining that is lined up with a stitch in the crochet.  Any of the spots marked with a white arrow would work because they are just to the right of set of vertical bars that make a V.  Ignore my sewing needle marked with the red arrow.  I put it in when I took the photo to show you a spot, but now I realize it is confusing because you aren't supposed to start stitching here yet.  Sorry about that.

13) Come out of the top edge of your lining right at that spot to hide your knot behind the lining.  Remember, the stitching on the top edge of my lining is just for reference.  Here it is from the back.

14) Here it is from the front.

15) Make a stitch behind the two vertical bars of the crochet stitch.

16) You are just catching the two vertical bars.  Do not go through the crochet to the outside of the bag.  This part is not an exact science.  You don't have to get *all* of the yarn in the vertical bars ... just most of it.

17) Pull the needle and thread through.

18) Pull tight.

19) Put the needle into your lining so it's inside the top fold and comes out right at the edge of the next set of vertical bars. The needle is sandwiched inside the fold of the fabric.  I do not go through both pieces of folded fabric.  If you looked behind the needle, between the lining and the bag, you wouldn't see the back side of the needle because it's inside the folded fabric.  I've said the same thing four times here because I'm trying to be clear, but this is a tricky thing to explain in words.  Let me know if you still don't know what I'm saying.  Maybe this requires more photos.

20) Make a stitch behind the next set of vertical bars.  Pull your stitches tightly as you go.  When the stitches are pulled tightly, your lining will looked tucked into the crochet.

21) Here are the last couple of steps (14 through 17) as an animated gif so you can see what I mean.  The first frame is the one that also says "START."  OMG I wish I had time to make a video of this!  Animated gifs are so 1993 ...

I had to take down the animated gif because it was way too big.  It was eating bandwidth like cookie monster eats cookies.  I hope to come up with an alternative ...

22) As you sew, be sure not to stretch or bunch up your crochet.  Keep the pins in as long as you can and make sure that your stitches match up with the points you've pinned.  If you don't attach the lining evenly, the bunching and stretching will show up on the outside of the bag making it look uneven.

23) The first couple of times I sewed a lining into a bag, I didn't use a ton of pins.  When I'd get to the last couple of inches, I'd have a ton of crochet left and not much lining because I was stretching out my bag as I sewed.  That is the kind of mistake you want to avoid.

24) When you get to where you started, go back through the first couple of stitches you made.  To make my final knot, I put my needle through some yarn between two Vs, wrap the end of the thread around the needle, then pull the thread through the wraps.

25) I hide the knot by pulling my needle and thread behind the lining.

26) Here's a shot of the lining all sewn in.  I love the clean look of the lining edge where it's attached.  And since each stitch of the crochet has been used to secure the lining, the whole thing is pretty rugged and can withstand everyday use ... and washings.  My handbag is still going strong, and I haven't been very delicate with it  since I know I can always make myself a new one.

As always, I'd love to hear what you think of this tutorial.  Especially let me know if anything is confusing or wrong.