Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How To: Make A Boot Binder Sleepsack - PART I

These posts will cover every step of my process for making the boot-binder sleepsack. Let's get started...

First, cut out all your parts (I use L+R as shorthand Left and Right):
L+R front panels
L+R Rear panels
L+R Shoulders
L+R Foot pocket side
Foot pocket bottom
High Heel pocket cap
L+R internal sleeves
Long Tongue (for rear zipper)
Short tongue (for front-access zipper)
Hood L+R front panels
Hood L+R rear top panels
Hood L+R bottom panels
 Clip and sew darts on L+R shoulders and L+R rear panels.
 ...flatten (and topstitch if you like).
And flattened. 
 And done:
Ready for the next step...
 Next, clip and sew L+R front panels together leaving opening for zipper (align at neck opening).

Remember to leave an opening for the zipper (it's all too easy to just keep sewing)! Follow marks indicated on the pattern.
Glue and flatten entire front seam (including the part where the zipper will go). 
Flattened seam from the front: 
Keep that transition smooth around the zipper opening.
From the inside: use double-sided tape to hold the zipper in position for sewing.

Use another strip to hold the tongue in place. 
Topstitch the front seam through the zipper and tongue. Just remember to fold back the tongue when sewing the second side, otherwise you'll sew it completely shut. That would be a problem...
Using the tape and sewing both the zipper and tongue at the same time gives the front seam a very clean look: Very nice...
Next up: the foot pocket. We begin with the L+R foot pocket side panels. 
These are clipped and sewn at the front seam, flattened and topstitched. 
Clip and sew foot pocket to the L+R front panels, aligned on the center seam. 
Sew it up...
(a view of the inside)
 ...and topstitch.
 This part of the binder is so cool looking... Love the foot pocket!

Next, we'll clip and sew the Left + Right rear panels to the L + R front panels. 
I start aligning at the shoulders and work carefully along the way to make sure things line up. 
When aligning long pieces of stretchy material like leather, it's easy for things to not align. You want to take you time to ensure symmetry between the two sides. 
Sew those sides to the front panels once you're happy with the clips. 

(lots of glue on these side seams...)
...flatten and topstitch. The foot pocket now looks like this: 

Next up: the shoulders. Remember these from step 1? 

Clip those puppies in place. Just like the side seams, the shoulders can be tricky to clip, but for a different reason: in this case you are attaching a curved shape (the shoulder) to a flatter shape (the body of the binder), so you are mating two different things together. Take your time to get things aligned just right before sewing. 
You know the drill: glue, flatten and topstich the shoulders. 
As you can see, I use a couple of boards clamped to my workbench to hold the piece while the glue dries. 
It can just hang out for a few minutes while the glue sets up. 
Once flattened and sewn, we have the neck hole coming together. 
I topstitched this seam as well, although you don't have to if you want a cleaner look. On this sack, I'm using matching red thread, so it's a very neat and subtle look. Very pretty with this leather. 

Now it's time to close up the bottom of the foot pocket. The piece gets clipped and sewn, aligning on the front center seam. 
Once sewn, you end up with this: 

Next, we're going to sew a couple of inches of the part that will become the heel pocket. 

Once that's done, the heel pocket end gets clipped in place. 
This little piece is actually the hardest part of the whole thing to sew. 
It's a little tube that has to be capped just right, a tiny little piece. 
I end up putting some foam in the pocket to help it hold its shape while I'm running it through the machine. 
That's it for part one. Next up: making the hood!

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