Over the last few weeks, I have been working my way through the Sidekick Mini Suitcase pattern, sharing any extra tips that didn’t make it into the pattern directions, and answering questions. The printable pattern and complete directions for the suitcase are available for purchase here.
I’m being perfectly honest here. The real reason I don’t have an E shop or sell handmade items is that I hate sewing anything more than once (or at the most twice). Sad, but true. So this making a fourth suitcase thing is KILLING me. I’m glad I have this sew-along to keep me accountable and force me to finish. So, thank you. And the Poor Neglected Fourth Child thanks you too. That being said…
THIS IS THE PENULTIMATE SEW-ALONG DAY!
First off, I wanted to address one problem that Meg shared with sewing her suitcase – needle breakage.
We are sewing luggage and it really is asking a lot of your sewing machine. If you repeatedly break needles while trying to sew this, there are a couple of things to try.
- Needle size: Are you using the right size needle? We are working multiple layers of heavy fabric and interfacings. I am using a size 100/16 needle for these last few steps.
- Don’t push/pull on your fabric while sewing, gently guide it through. Let the Feed dogs do the work for you. Pulling on the fabric while the needle is down will cause the needle to bend or break. If your sewing machine is having trouble feeding that thickness of fabric through, changing the foot pressure could help. Check to see if your machine has an adjustable foot pressure dial.
Hopefully, those few things help out. If not, feel free to ask more specific questions.
Let’s sew our suitcase halves together!
Start off by pinning the halves together along their unfinished edges – the lower half turned inside out, and the outsides of the two halves facing each other.
There is a notch in the center of your Zipper Extension piece that matches up with the back seam of the Lower Side…
… and the zipper stops line up with the Lower side’s center notch near the suitcase handle.
Tuck the ends of the zipper tapes into the seam allowances.
pin. pin. pin. pin.
Undo the zippers or you will be really mad at yourself later when you can’t turn your suitcase right side out.
Then sew ‘em together with a zipper foot (seam allowance 3/8″).
To get past the two zipper heads, stop sewing a few inches before reaching it, lift the foot with the needle down,…
… and slide the zipper head behind. Then, keep sewing.
Press (on a synthetic setting, don’t melt your zipper!) the seam allowance away from the zipper. Your two halves have become one suitcase!
To finish up the lining, pull out your Wonder Tape and pins. Stick the tape underneath the seam just sewn. (Shown with paper still on. Peel of paper to reveal second sticky side.)
Bring up the folded edge of the Lining Side to meet the seam.
Continue all the way around the edge of the lining side. Matching notches (Aren’t you glad you made those notches?) and pinning and taping in place.
Notice, I pinned from the outside.
Then, sew lining in place by topstitching from the outside. I wrangled the suitcase by hanging the bed of my sewing machine off the edge of my desk.
Take it slow. You can do this.
Did you catch the folded edge? Nice!
Some alternatives to this topstitching step:
- Hand basting can be used in lieu of pins and Wonder Tape.
- Topstitch the seam without the lining, and slip stitch the folded edge in place after inserting the side stabilizer (next week’s step).
This suitcase is looking suspiciously limp.
No worries. We will fix that next Monday.