Sewing with Cork Fabric!

I’ve been busy making another bag for my friend. I call it The Gemma© Bag! My friend told me what style of bag she liked and very nicely let me go with the flow! She had her choice of Cork Fabrics and chose these two beauties.


When it comes to choosing Cork Fabric, I learned that there are two kinds: Touch and Touch Pro. See the Sallie Tomato article link at the end of this post. I purchased both and you can really see the difference. The Touch was stiffer, not as flexible, and it might not have been suitable for the folds of my Gemma© Bag. I think I am going to see what Touch is like when I make my next Coffee© Purse with it instead. The Touch Pro on the other hand was thick and strong, and yet soft and bendable. It was lovely for this project!

The lining was my usual cotton reinforced with Pellon SF101 Shape-flex©, a light cotton woven fusible interfacing. As usual, I did a zipper pocket on one interior side of the bag with my zipper foot and a pocket on the other.

I seriously could sew row after row of topstitching on the strap with my 1/4″ seam foot. So fun! It was also fun to design what kind of stitching I would sew on to my zipper tabs too!

Finished Gemma© Bag! Insides – zipper pocket, pocket and lots of room!

The Front – a pocket with a magnetic snap closure.

The Back – I just love this … more topstitching!

The Sides and the Front – magnetic snap pocket, zipper top closure, and an adjustable strap.

I have found a few informative websites for anyone thinking of sewing with Cork Fabric. Sallie Tomato has a great article (that is downloadable too) here. U-Handbag has a great article too explaining how to sew with Cork Fabric and how to make straps and install rivets here.

Just to sum up all the things I have learned about sewing with Cork Fabric:

  1. Don’t iron it. Seam allowances can be held down with glue or topstitching;
  2. Don’t use pins that will leave irreparable holes. Use clips, Wondertape, glue;
  3. Don’t use fusible interfacing. You might not even want an interfacing or stiffener with Cork Fabric, which has lots of body and is thick on its own;
  4. Stitch length 3mm, 3.5 to 4mm for topstitching. Microtex 80 – 90 sewing machine needles. Thread is 40 wt.;
  5. If your strap ends are too thick for your sewing machine try Chicago screws. See the U-Handbag article link above;
  6. A Teflon Foot or a Walking Foot will help with the thick layers. The articles attached here say 3 or 4 layers can be done on a home sewing machine;
  7. Don’t backstitch to lock your seam ends. Pull the threads through instead and tie them off.

Cork Fabric is a wonderful replacement for leather or vinyl. It’s easy to sew and so ecofriendly! I plan on making more bags out of this unique product.

Have you ever tried Cork Fabric? Do you have any extra tips for us? Have I peaked your interest in Cork Fabric?

Happy Sewing! and if I don’t talk to you before the Easter long weekend, Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

STASH BUSTING WITH THIS PROJECT? Well, no change again! I had to buy the Cork Fabric to make this bag for my friend, and the lining was from my remanents bag. So still 131.2 meters left! But there are a couple of Sewing Challenges coming up for me next that should take a good bite out of my fabric stash – after I finish adding the photos to my Coffee© Purse pattern!

Just ONE more sewing machine … a review of the Janome HD3000

I used my Janome 3160QDC (my baby) during my last bag making session.  It worked well with a Jeans needle, but there was an “oh oh” moment when my machine was going through a few particularly thick layers of fabric and fleece and it made a strange “whirring” noise.  I backed off, stopped pushing it so much, took it easy and never heard the noise again.  Just to be safe I dropped it off today with the sewing machine repair mechanic for a cleaning and a check up.  I have in the past opened up machines to see how they work (or clean and fix them) but I don’t feel comfortable opening up a computerized machine.

For about a month now, I have been hunting for a mechanical sewing machine that was not fancy and could take all the layers I could throw at it.  Something reliable.  I asked on a few Facebook bag making sites and was told the Juki TL series was a good choice.  Unfortunately, they are ridiculously priced for my budget!  Someone else suggested industrial machines.  Those in my price range lacked features.

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

Another recommendation was the Janome HD5000 or HD3000.  More in my budget!

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

I found some short reviews of these machines on line, but nothing detailed enough to convince me!  I did find this chart though that showed me that, although there is a $40.00 price difference, the only difference in features between an HD3000 and an HD5000 is a .5 mm stitch width!

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!! Continue reading

The Rosie© bag

I’ve always got my eye out for “the perfect bag”.  Even when I bought RTW I stuck to the same couple of perfectly functional bags – wrapped in different materials and styles to change things up.

Now that I am making my own, I am attempting to find the perfect bags for myself.  I am completely satisfied with my tote bag but I am still searching for the perfect medium sized handbag.  

I think though I may have found the perfect mini cross-body bag – give or take a small change here and there.

I am so certain that this is the perfect mini cross-body bag that I have named her “The Rosie © bag”! Continue reading

My babies….

I thought I would take a break from my sewing this lovely long Easter weekend to show you my babies, both Janomes just by co-incidence. I did not buy them together and at the time I was looking for each I wanted the best and most reliable I could get in my budget.  I read lots of articles, like this one from Consumer Reports.  If you Google “how to buy a sewing machine/serger” or other variations that phrase, you will get hundreds of articles!  Even Craftsy has an article.   I thought this one was cool too.  When I was looking, the winners were Janome.

My serger is a Janome “MyLock 334”.  It has seen a few years.  It is my first and only serger and still running strong, although I know it is pretty basic to what is out there nowadays!

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I just found the pamphlet for it.  It has handwritten on it $595.00 and 16/6/90 – I guess that means it is 24 years old?

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It is pretty easy to thread, being an older serger.  It even has a colourful diagram attached on the inside to follow when threading.  It can do a rolled hem and a couple of other edging stitches.

Now unfortunately when I just opened it up to show you I saw a whole cupful of dust, thread, fabric cuttings and goo inside my serger.  Eww.  Long overdue for a clean out!  TIP:  when blowing crap out of your machine, don’t breathe in and close your eyes! 😖 (I learned that from experience.)

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There, that’s better!

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My other baby, my sewing machine, is a Janome “3160 QDC”.  This I purchased in December 2011.

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Even though I ran fabric through it sampling all 60 stitches, I still haven’t used it to its potential when sewing my projects!

You can remove the storage box and have a free arm for sleeves or …

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it also came with a quilting table and quilting accessories – the most notable of which is the “walking foot”.  Now I am not a quilter, but I just had to try it all out!

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Quilted placemats – which I do enjoy making.

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What kind of machines do you use? New or old? Are you happy with them?  Love to hear from you!