Saturday, September 17, 2016

Backpack progress and.... Saying hello to Magnolia

My Singer 301 came back from the repair man cleaned up, but still very temperamental about sewing the ultrasuede. I think part of the problem was the jeans needle I was using. I believe that a ball point needle is required. But even with a new needle it was unpredictable at best. Sometimes it worked, other times it would skip an occasional stitch, and at times it didn't stitch at all. There was no figuring it out. Considering the expense of the fabrics involved, and to preserve my sanity, I moved on to Plan B.





Say hello to Magnolia. This machine has been sitting in my attic for a couple of years now. It belonged to my mom, who rarely used it. It was way too complicated for her, so she sent it in my direction. I honestly never felt the need to use it, so off to the attic it went.


Long story short, it took to the ultrasuede like a duck to water. Underneath all that white plastic it's amazingly powerful, and it truly rescued this entire project. Thanks, Mom!!





Speaking of rescues..... Wonder Clips!!! They made assembling the lining a snap. Thank you Kyle for sharing your bag making "secret weapon".





Working with the faux fur was surprisingly easy. Just the tip of the scissors are used. Slide them just under the backing fabric and snip maybe a 1/4" at a time. It's slow going, but the pile is preserved. After cutting, any loose fibers can be pulled away from the edges with your fingers. It's not anywhere near as messy as I feared it would be.




Wonder clips to the rescue again. Here a strip of ultrasuede is sewed to the fur. The pile of the fur is poked down into the seam allowance. Easy.





This is the suede flap, which is lined with a gray cotton quilting fabric interfaced with both a fusible and sew in interfacing. Two layers were required to obtain the body I wanted. Magnolia had no difficulty topstitching the assembled flap. (Even more Wonder Clips).





Slipping the lining into the fur section I can start to dream about the finished backpack. Still lots more to do though! Straps, a handle and grommets (which I've never done before).




The same goes for the boat. This is a pattern for the seats, set in place so I can dream about them. The mahogany boards for them should be delivered this week. Clearly the backpack will be done WAY before the boat!


I hope your projects, whatever they may be, are going well.



  1. The backpack and the boat are going to be beautiful. And kinda color coordinated, if your mahogany is the color I assume it will be.

  2. That backpack is amazing!

    As far as the Janome, as far as I know, all of their machines are all metal construction beneath that plastic exterior. My local dealer has several models on display that have the plastic shells removed.

  3. That is looking AMAZING!!! I am so excited for you!
    That is great that it's not as messy as you thought. I have heard that sewing with fake fur creates a big mess, so hurrah for you figuring it all out!

    Have you really never done grommets before? I feel like you have, on that vest you made?

    1. Oh, right. But those were little baby grommets set with a hand tool from JoAnn's. These seem more complicated, with a hole punch and setting tools. Time will tell.

  4. Backpack and boat are both looking great!

  5. So exciting to witness the evolution of both these projects. I love to hear about good experiences with modern sewing machines. As I think you know, I frequently use my Janome Hello Kitty machine. In fact, I used her for my recent jacket project. Very sturdy.

  6. This backpack is going to be unbelievably beautiful! I am glad the Janome came to the rescue. That boat is amazing...

  7. Backpack is looking good. When cutting fur, real or faux, try using a brand new razor blade. It will cut through like butter, and when the blade dulls, use another new one. Also, there will be much less fur flying around !