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Does the briefcase suit?

As I mentioned last week, I developed a new briefcase pattern, and made one out of denim. Of course, that was the prototype. I wanted to make another briefcase to verify that I had the pattern correct. As I looked around my playroom I realized that just might be able to use the leftovers from the suit bag.

I separated and ironed all the lower pieces of the coat, and made some decisions. The pockets on the lower front would be great for the front of the briefcase. The lower front pieces were already curved, so they would work well for the outer corners. The lower back just needed to be cut to size.

Then I had to find a lining. When I looked at the remnants of the shirt I used on the other project, I realized there might just be enough fabric there to make the lining. The leftovers of the shirt front were too skimpy as is. If I were to use some of the seam allowances, I might just have enough fabric. I picked out the bottom hem and where the left side of the shirt was folded under at the buttons. Success! After sewing the lower shirt fronts together I had enough for the lining.

I chose a brown zipper and sewed it into the side piece. Brown would be my trim color. It would go in the zipper, webbing, and bias tape around the interior seams.

And now for one of my dirty little secrets, I'm not perfect. I like to stabilize bag linings, so I got out my fusible stabilizer, and went to work. A short time later I got quite angry with myself, I had fused the stabilizer to the wrong side! #*%_$¥/×#! The sleeves were still available, so I created another "front placket", and sewed that down. It looked acceptable.

After a few more starts and stop, including sewing the zipper, I was ready to sew the sides to the front and back. !#=^/*@%! It looked like I didn't have enough fabric on the side pieces??? How did that happen? After all, I had done a paper mock up, and then created the pattern from that, complete with seam allowances. Well, come to think of it, I did have to round the corners on the denim briefcase a bit more before the sides fit.

When I matched up the side pattern piece with the front/back pattern piece, I finally realized the problem(s). One, since sewing the denim prototype I had discarded the side piece with seam allowances. Two, sewing the pattern pieces together is different than just taping them together and adding seam allowance afterward – the curves at the corners make a big difference.

I didn’t want to add any more pieces to the sides. That meant I needed to remove 3 running inches from the seam. I rounded out the corners a bit more. That helped. Then I took less than 1/8 inch off the sides and top of the front/back pieces. Finally, I took almost 3/4 inch off the bottom of the front/back pieces. Success!

I sewed on the webbing with hardware for the shoulder strap, as well as the handles. Finally I could sew it together! I used the bias tape to cover the inside seams.

During all this time I was thinking about how I would manage the webbing. I had enough of it, but it was narrower than I liked. Before I sewed the webbing onto the hardware I made a shoulder pad using a one from a store bought item as a template.

It was finally done, and I like it a lot! What do you think?

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