AbbreviationsList of Abbreviations
Matters of GaugeGauge Does Matter The Importance of Checking Errata and the Power of Gauge
Some Basics & Specifics on FeltingBasic Blocking and Felting Blocking & Felting Tube Baguettes Finishing Tube Baguettes Felting the Lattice Bag and Other Fair Isle Bags
Purses with FramesFraming Lipstick and Change (As Well as Other Tiny Bags) Sewing Purses into a Frame Using Beads as Anchors
Decorating BagsHand-Beading on Bags Cabochons as Ornaments on Bags
ClosuresZippers 101: Cutting Down a Zipper to Fit Zippers 102: Putting Zippers in Bag and Pillow Openings Turnlocks 101: Applying Turnlocks to Bag Flaps
Attending to the Bottom of the BagBag Feet and Stiffener
Lining AdviceHandles 101 Pockets 102 Lining a Rectangular Bag Lining a Triangular Bag
Supplemental Information about Finishing
Your Tube Baguettes
By Nora J. Bellows
Whether you choose I-cord handles that are sewn to the outside of your bag, or purchased handles that are applied (to the inside of the bag opening) with fabric tabs, you should apply the handles as the first step in the finishing process. Measure carefully so that handles are equidistant from each end and properly centered in the bag. For sewing, I use fabric tabs or sturdy ribbon and a double strand of better polyester sewing thread that matches the color of the bag. Use small stitches and take some of your stitches all the way through the felt fabric.
Flowers and other embellishments need to go onto the bag early in the process, but be mindful of where you will need to work/sew as you continue the finishing process. For example, if you will need to work close to the top edge, you may not want to sew flowers down completely right near the bag opening/top edge. Save those final stitches until you have finished your work up there. If you forget, no matter: simply sew your stitches through the flower as well, careful that your stitches remain invisible. This will ensure that your flowers and other embellishments are well-sewn to your bag.
For sewing on flowers, I recommend a double strand of nylon beading thread. It comes in a range of colors, is thin, and will cut your fingers before it will break. This makes it excellent for sewing on embellishments, as they might be pulled around a bit and you don't want them to get pulled off. Don't worry much about how your sewing looks on the inside of the bag (unless you plan to leave it unlined) but do make stitches look invisible on the exterior of the bag.
The first step in sewing in the zipper is picking the correct zipper. Do not use dress zippers for your bags -- they are too light weight and not meant to get the sort of wear and tear that a bag zipper gets. Pick a zipper that has larger teeth and is just larger overall. Winter jacket zippers work well. I like the large-toothed plastic zippers that come in a range of colors. For really wonderfully fun zippers, see if you can get your hands on a RiRi zipper.
The tube baguette wants to be a structured bag. Therefore, I recommend that you stiffen it with plastic needlework canvas. I prefer the largest, stiffest rectangular sheets I can find (at a shop called AC Moore in my area). I like to buy the smaller round sheets for the tube ends and then cut them to fit.
Through a bit of trial and error, ensure that the stiffener fits snugly so there are no gaps -- better to stretch your bag a bit than to have the stiffener insert be too small. Sew the stiffener pieces together (so that the stiffener bag mirrors the shape of the bag itself) with a single strand of yarn, or with cordonette (a heavy cotton thread that is very, very sturdy), and a tapestry needle. Manipulate the finished stiffener into the bag itself and tack all around, in both the body and the ends. You will want to make sure that the stiffener is about 3/8 inch from the bag opening so you have enough room to sew in the lining and to avoid any interference between zipper and stiffener.
Put on Bag Feet
Bag Feet can be purchased in many local yarn shops -- check with them first before going elsewhere. I recommend the largest size -- that is, 20 mm. Don't be tempted by the small guys. They look nice but do nothing on felt, as felt has too much pile for little bag feet. So, get the big guys.
Bag feet are easy to install. Just punch the ends through the felt and the stiffener, then spread the little brads on the inside. You may need to snip a cell or two in the stiffener to accommodate the brads. Make sure you measure and measure again, first with a tape and then with your eyeball. Again, if not right, do over. The little hole you punched in your felt the first time will not show if you must take the feet out and re-do.
You may want to use the stiffener pieces as templates for cutting out the pieces of lining (add 1/2" seam allowance on all sides). After sewing the lining pieces together using a sewing machine, use a double strand of better polyester sewing thread and invisible stitches to sew the lining into the bag body about 1/4" from bag opening. Be careful not to sew too closely to the zipper opening.