Hi guys 👋,
I wanted to sew a nice handbag, yet my bag making skills are really appalling. I don't know what it is that I don't get, but it simply never works. No matter how much time and attention do I put in a bag, it always looks like my 5 year old daughter's first sewing project. So the other day, when I saw that Vogue pattern for a hobo bag, I thought I'd give it a go. It didn't look like there is much/any hardware, quite slouchy, it looked like the ideal project to give bag making another go.
I had a fair bit of faux suede fabric in a lovely chocolate colour, and I really liked view D (the blue bag on the right hand side with the gathers and ring) so it was time to experiment!
So, the first thing you need to know, is that faux suede is a mid-weight, woven man-made fabric. Which means it frays when you cut it. It also has a nap, so watch it when you cut it: fabric with a nap need to be cut in the same direction, whether you chose to have the nap running up or down. It also has a slight stretch, that's why I would recommend using a walking foot and a ballpoint/stretch/jersey needle (size 80/90 works fine). I used a longer straight stitch than usual (about 3 wide and 3.5/4 long, depending what you prefer) as a smaller stitch weakens the fabric.
Like faux leather, it doesn't like being unpicked. It's not as bad as faux leather, where when your needle pierced the fabric, it's forever, but it still shows a little bit if you unpick faux suede, so you would prefer using wonder or paper clips instead of pins. You don't want to use a pattern too difficult and with too many details either. It also is a fabric who doesn't like pressing so much, on low heat it doesn't take the shape you're trying to give, on high settings it can damage the suede very quickly. My recommendation would be to use your iron on the highest setting, always with a pressing cloth, and be as fast as you possibly can when pressing faux suede.
It's easy enough to fuse interfacing for suede, so just follow the same way you would usually fuse your interfacing to any fabric (lightly wet the interfacing , glue side facing towards the wrong side of the fabric, and fuse it with your iron set at a medium heat , interfacing doesn't like hot irons at all!)
When making my bag, I struggled with gathering the handle (it's very bulky and like we've said before, once your needle went through suede it'll show forever, even if it's not as obvious as faux leather/PVC it still makes it awkward to gather it nicely like you would with any other fabric since you're supposed to remove gathering stitches) . I also struggled to make the tabs, especially the ones that were designed for the zipper, so much so that I just gave up on this tab to not ruin my bag by trying to stitch, then unpick a tab ad vitam eternam. If like me, you want to use faux suede, I highly recommend to not interface the tabs as it gets really bulky and awkward to sew.
Against all odds, the zipper was actually easy enough to put in, especially once I dropped that tab thing. I just went easy when sewing and the fabric has been easy on me too! Just used my regular zipper foot and it went just right.
For the lining, I used cotton and not that anti static lining usually found in those bags. I'm not great with very silky fabric that seem to have a life of their own, so I decided to cut a little corner by using a fabric that I know and can handle better than lining. When you slipstitch, make sure you are sewing your lining about 1/8" below the zipper seam to make sure our lining won't catch when you will open or shut your bag. See the picture below to see what I mean:
For the inner pocket, I wouldn't bother with the darts either. It's quite time consuming, they are the tiniest darts I've ever seen and it doesn't bring much more to the pocket that a simple box pleat would do. So ditch the darts and make a quick and easy box pleat for your inner pocket, I'd definitely do that instead next time.
It turned out to be a lovely bag and I'm really pleased with it. Please don't hesitate to tag me @seweasypeasy on IG and Twitter using #seweasypeasy and on Facebook @seweasypeasyblog , plus on Pinterest obviously, I'm looking forward to see your makes!