Introduction: Sewing the Top of the Case
Now we're really getting somewhere!
In this lesson, we're going to finish up sewing the case and also insert the elastic loop for the button.
We're using an elastic loop and button style closure for this case because it is one of the most simple closures to sew - we're avoiding making a buttonhole entirely! The elastic is folded in half and anchored in the top seam of the case. It will be looped around a button on the opposite side for easy opening and closing.
This type of closure is fantastic for bags, wallets and other accessories, but I highly recommend using something stronger when making closures for clothes. Metal snaps or hook and eye closures are better choices!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
For this lesson, you'll need:
- Your sewn lining and outer fabrics
- A 4-inch piece of round elastic
- Sewing pins
- A needle and thread
- Tape if you have any around
- A pencil, chopstick or other implement to push out corners and turn the fabric to the right side
- Water soluble pen and clear ruler if you'd like to mark the sewing line (optional)
- Sewing gauge (optional)
Step 2: Inserting the Outer Fabric Into the Lining
Turn the outer fabric right side out. Be gentle while turning! Even with the extra stitch for reinforcement at the top of the seam, it's still possible to pop the stitches with too much force.
Use whatever tool you've got to push the corners out. Be gentle - you don't want to push right through the stitches.
Once the outer fabric is turned right side out, insert it into the lining fabric. I like to use the eraser end of a pencil to push the outer fabric into to lining if the case is too small for my hand to fit in there. :)
Another shot of how to use the pencil! Just keep using it to push the outer fabric into the lining while you pull the lining fabric towards you.
This is what it should look like when you're done. Now we'll start pinning!
Step 3: Marking and Pinning the Case
If you would like to mark a sewing line for the top of the case you'll need to do that now! We're using a 1/4 inch seam allowance here too! It's easiest to mark the line before you pin.
I'm not going to worry about it here and instead use a sewing gauge to make sure my stitching is in the right place. :)
Line up the seams on the sides of the case and pin them into place about 1/2 inch from the top. You'll need four pins for this - two for each side seam! These pins are important because they'll keep your seams from moving while you sew.
On one side of the top of the case, place two vertical pins about 2-3 inches apart. This marks where we will start and end our sewing.
Now we'll do the other side of the case!
Step 4: Inserting the Elastic
Cut a piece of round elastic 4 inches long.
If this is your first time working with elastic, I recommend using a small piece of tape to secure the ends together. We'll remove it after it's sewn into place!
Place the elastic in the middle of the other side of the opening, wedged between the outer and lining fabrics. (You can measure to find the exact middle and mark it - I am eyeballing it yet again!)
Carefully pin the elastic in place horizontally with the top of the elastic meeting the top of the case. Make sure that the top of the lining and outer fabrics are lined up.
Step 5: Sewing the Case
Let's begin sewing! Double thread a needle and knot your thread.
We're going to use a 1/4 inch seam allowance here as well. Feel free to mark your sewing line as we did before or wing it this time! I am winging it, so I use a sewing gauge to make sure I have my stitches in the right place to start.
Start sewing at one of the vertical pins marking the opening and sew around to the other, leaving an opening in between. Make two tiny stitches at the beginning of the seam like we did before. We need to help protect the seam from the stress of it being turned right side out. :)
Remember to pull out the sewing pins as you sew past them!
When you get to the side seams, make sure that you sew over them in such a way that they're being sew down flat. Their orientation is not important, but it is important that they are nice and flat so you don't have big bumps in the seam allowance. (Take a look at the photos below - see how the left side seam is sewn down?)
When you come around to the elastic, make many tiny stitches over each half of the elastic. Wrap the thread all the way around the elastic, too. If you can push the needle THROUGH the elastic or the casing on the elastic, that's even better! You will probably need to use a thimble if you choose to go that route. (Please don't use your teeth to pull the needle through! If you have some pliers around those are a good tool for this.)
You want to be sure the elastic is staying in place, so tug on the ends of the elastic to test it when you're done. If it shifts at all, sew it down some more.
If you do a bad job of sewing the elastic down, you won't be able to mess with it again until the case is right side out. It's pretty hard to fix it then!
Keep on sewing past the elastic and use two stitches at the end of your sewing. Remove any pins left in the fabric.
This is how your case should look at the end.
Step 6: Remove Any Marks and Pins
Once you've completed sewing the top of the case, you'll need to get it prepped for the next lesson.
DO NOT press the case now - you'll end up with more wrinkles! We'll press it once it's turned. :)
Check and make sure you've removed any remaining pins.
If you've marked a sewing line around the top, remove it with cool water and press out the excess water in a towel. Let the case dry before continuing.