A photo of Michele Faulkner, a Caucasian female with natural dark blonde and grey hair and wearing glasses, is holding a piece of beige fabric with a nautical theme on

Bags with details!

I’ve been challenging myself this Spring to get even more creative and one area is getting yet more detail into my bags. 

I‘m frequently asked about this and I’ve started doing little videos of my work, a behind the scenes peak as it were, on my Instagram account and Facebook page. You’ll find them at @michelefaulknerart

Here are some specific tips on some of the details:

~ Zippers (regular nylon ones)

I use my GP (general purpose) foot rather than the zipper foot. The foot rides the zipper on the inside and lines up with the zipper edge on the outside. By using a GP foot you have more control over keeping the fabric and zipper in place (a GP foot has a greater surface area to press down on the fabric), thereby increasing your ability to sew a nice neat line close to the zipper teeth. Perfect for a nice zipper sandwich or for adding contrasting fabric edges.

~ Joining fabric

It’s fun mixing up fabrics and for a neat join that needs to look finished on the front and back (say in an unlined bag) I fold the edge of one piece 1/2” towards the right side and the other piece 1/2” towards the wrong side. I then insert the folded edge of each piece into the fold crease of the other. Top stitch close to the folded edge on each side, press, and voila, you have a neat French style seam join!

~ Pocket welts

What are welts? Well they are the trim around a pocket opening (think of the front pocket trim on a suit). They finish off a bag nicely and also mean that it’s easier for the user to find the pocket when rummaging. I love doing welts and in a future iteration I’ll do a full tutorial with my own little tweaks. For now, my hot tip is to make sure that when you attach the piece of fabric that forms the welt (trim) to the fabric that’s going to have the pocket opening, you sew the pocket opening shape (the long thin rectangle) with a very small stitch. Then, after making the slip for the opening, you snip hard into each corner to improve the look of the trim on the right side.

Keep in touch for more tips and happy sewing!