Get ready to fly in style!
November 28, 2011
Third up in our "From Film to Closet" series, we're borrowing inspiration from the television screen instead of the silver screen. How in love with "Pan Am" am I? DEEPLY. The show is so incredibly stylish, so beautiful and so smart. And boy, oh, boy, do I loooove those darling little Pan Am carry-on bags all the gals have.
So, enough with the envy! Time to make my own version!
For this project, I used solid vinyl (I made one in hot pink and one in medium blue). This vinyl has a fabric backing, which makes it super easy to sew and gives it a little extra strength.
Here are the pieces I cut:
1 rectangle 18"x 37.5" -- This is the main body of the bag. I wanted rounded top edges, so I used a saucer as a guide to shape the corners of the rectangle into smooth curves. The bottom of the bag is the center area of this rectangle.
2 rectangles 23"x3.5" -- These will be used for the zipper inset of the bag.
2 rectangles 12.5"x7" -- These will join with the completed zipper assembly to form the sides of the bag.
1 rectangle 4"x60" -- This piece will be used to make your straps.
You'll also need a 22" zipper.
On to assembly!
First, I inset the zipper. I first stitched each side of the zipper to a 23"x3.5" piece, right sides together.
Once both sides of the zipper are attached to the vinyl pieces, I top stitched the folded edge of the vinyl from the right side, catching in the raw edge underneath to create a smooth fold. This is what the zipper inset piece looks like:
Next, the 12.5"x7" pieces attach to each end of the zipper assembly. I used the same topstitching method with these seams that I did with the zipper.
One the top and side pieces are all joined together, that assembly is set into the 18"x37.5" piece. I made a really technical drawing of how these fit together. Basically, if you think of your large rectangle with rounded corners as a taco shell, your zipper assembly will run along the raw edges of the taco shape to form an enclosed space.
My trick to match my edges up is a little unorthodox here. I mark the centers of each piece, and then I start sewing from what would be the bag's center top edge. This means that I sew each side of the zipper assembly in two sections, each running from the center, across the top and down the side. This ensures that my zipper assembly ends at the span of the larger rectangle that forms the bottom of the bag. Once I get both sides in place, I make any adjustments necessary, and then stitch the short bottom side edges, ending up with a box.
1. When applying a straight edge to a curve, clip your straight edge to ease things along.
2. Every time you stitch vinyl, you make a hole in it, so stitch carefully!
Time to make straps!
Fold your long strip the same way you would bias tape. You can't apply heat to vinyl unless you want a melty mess, but if you fold it and run your finger along the fold, it does have some crease memory.
Once you have your fabric folded, you want to sandwich it between two pieces of tissue paper, or one piece folded around your stitching area, and stitch along the long edge where the folds come together. The tissue will keep the vinyl from sticking to your foot or your stitching plate, and the tissue tears away from the stitching easily when you're done. (So, save that gift tissue! It can be recycled!)
Once you have your strap piece stitched closed, stitch down the other side so you have symmetrical stitching.
Once all stitching is complete, cut your strap in two so you have two pieces, each 30" long.
Next, you'll mark the positioning of your straps on the outside of the bag. Mine are 4.5" from the side of the bag, and 2 1/4" from the top. I made tiny marks in each position with a ballpoint pen.
Here, you can see my positioning mark (you want to make sure marks won't be seen when you're finished), my strap and a scrap of tissue paper all sandwiched together.
Next, I folded the strap up to conceal the raw edge, and topstitched the strap into place. Complete that step with your other three strap points, and you're done!
This is a very basic bag, but the sky's the limit (pardon the pun) when it comes to all the ways you can customize it. You can line it, add pockets, add piping -- whatever your heart desires! How fun would it be to make one using glitter vinyl, or contrasting colors? Or, you could use a stencil to paint your own personal logo on it. I can name a dozen things you could do, but what's more interesting is what you come up with! Bon voyage!
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