...or how do you turn this...
Kerpow!! This show-stopper clutch bag is the first working prototype of a bag design that I am working on. It's 2 tweaks away from (to my mind) perfection. This bag was a joy to make and the glossy black acrylic frame is a breeze to use. I am going to show you just how easy it to use in this blog post.
This amazing fabric is Echino, 'Hide' canvas and the frame is our Audrey's Arch Acrylic frame. Never be afraid of big ol' patterns, you can have so much fun homing in on small pattern sections - like I have on this bag.
Tutorial on how to attach your fabric purse to the acrylic frame.
- You will need - your stitched fabric bag lining and exterior and.. ...some paper sticky notes (if you don't have stickies, similar sized paper are also fine); the acrylic bag frame screws (our frames come with screws - they don't always, so do check!) small cross-head screw driver and small flat head screw driver. And NO GLUE!!! Yes people, I SAID NO GLUE - HOOORRRAYY!!!! :)
JUL 2016 UPDATE You may may find that you do not need to use the little paper rolls. They are used for bulking out the fabric layers (to ensure a tight bond/fit for fabric purse into the frame). If your layers are already nice and thick you can do away with the paper rolls. Test by screwing in a screw (minus a paper roll) and gently tugging to see if you have a nice secure bond.
Make some paper rolls - just in case. The paper rolls are there to bulk things up in places where you think the screws need a bit of help. In my bag I only need 3 paper rolls. Make a few to have them handy for later. Make the rolls approx 3/8in (1cm) wide x 2/8in (6mm) tall.
2. When using acrylic frame this tip will make life easier (and give a study and professional result) - ensure your fabric purse is nice and thick. You can do this by layering up with thick fabrics and thick interlining and interfacing combined. You NEED this thickness to ensure and nice snug fit into the frame channel and to give the screws something to properly bite into.
In my thick-layered purse I have used a canvas fabric exterior (interfaced with med weight fusible) + awesome double sided fusible foam + a linen lining. This combo feels gorgeously substantial, hardwearing and totally professional.
3. Ensure that your purse lining and exterior are stitched together - stitch the purse lining to the exterior close to the top edge. This way you only need to worry about inserting one layer into the frame (as opposed to 2 separate layers (that could slip around, escape and become a right nuisance!)
The purse frame channel is 3/8in (1cm) tall, so to avoid these stitches being visible on my finished bag I need to stitch a shorter distance from the purse top edge. Here I have stitched the lining to the exterior 1/8in (3mm) from the top edge, a height which will guarantee my stitches will be hidden from view.
Also mark the frame top edge centre (I have used some wild washi tape to mark the centre). See how it pays to be accurate? If I hadn't used a ruler I might have made the mistake of thinking that middle screw hole was the centre, buuuut on no, it wasn't!
5. Get ready to attach - as with working with metal purse frames we attach purse side at a time...
...so to get ready fold down the purse side (or flap, if you want to call it that) that you are NOT going to start with. Push down this flap into the purse lining. This will keep it tucked out of the way whilst you get to work on the first purse flap.
6. Secure the purse and frame centre points - once you have the centre points secured together the rest is a piece of (cream) cake. Mmmmm!
...use the flat-head screwdriver to stuff the fabric purse into the frame channel as far as it will go. To get the fabric purse and frame centre points to accurately match, you will need to stuff the fabric a few inches either side of the centre. Don't worry about stuffing the purse sides for now, at this point we just need to concentrate on getting the centres perfectly aligned.
...the centre point of the frame is what anchors the whole show, it's important that this point is well secured. to ensure my centre point is Super-man strong I like to add one of my paper rolls to the centre point before inserting my centre screw. Use your screw driver to slide the roll underneath the screw hole.
A note about tightening the screws: when screwing the screws into the fabric we are not looking to tighten the screws as tight as we can, (so we can no longer turn them, like when we are screwing into wood for example). Instead we are aiming to the screw the screws so the the screw heads have a good bite into the fabric.
You may find that when the screws are screwed entirely into the frame, the screws will not be flush with the frame surface - don't worry, it's fine. the frame will work as is it should and the screws will take the weight - I have run extensive "place a bag of sugar in the bag and swing the bag around' tests with this bag.
Continue screwing the holes either side of the centre screw (we need to work along the top edge before work our way down the frame sides. You will need to periodically need to stuff the fabric purse into the frame as you go. At any point you feel the screws need a bit of help to get a good bite, slide in your paper rolls to beef things up a bit.
6. Neaten the bag, iron and flatten the bottom - now that the fabric bag is securely attached to the frame you can take your time to neaten the bag and iron out any creases. Turn the bag upside down and create a flat bottom for the bag. Finger-crease the bag bottom folds (eyeball like I do, or be less lazy and use a ruler). When happy that your bag bottom looks neat iron in the creases using pressing cloth.
There, nice and easy!