Noni Q&A: Framing Lipstick & Change

I have gotten a few questions about putting the newer Noni bags into frames (6-8-10, W, Lipstick & Change, LIpstick & Change Sparkle–just above–and more to come!). I am working on a video that documents the finishing of a little Lipstick & Change bag from start to finish.  .  . but while that is in post production, here is a step-by-step photo-tutorial that shows how to put a small bag into a sew-hole frame that has a slot (this tutorial is relevant for 6-8-10, W, and Lipstick & Change, upcoming Lipstick & Change Sparkle, Heart on My Sleeve, and others in the pipeline for 2013).

Essential Materials

First, Gather together the necessary materials on a clean, well-lit working surface: a clean paper towel to protect your work surface, your slightly damp bag, fabric glue, bag frame, beads, beading thread, a sharp thin-gauge needle, a pair of thread nippers (pictured here) or scissors, and a metal double-pointed needle or tapestry needle (top poke the bag into the frame slot).

 

Gluing The Bag Into The Frame

Step 1: Apply the Glue to the Frame one side at a time. The first step is to put a line of glue into the slot of the purse frame, particularly on the “solid” side of the frame that does not contain sew holes.

NOTE: Do not put glue in both sides as it is very easy to end up with glue on your bag where you don’t want it. Also important: DO NOT USE TOO MUCH GLUE. In other words, it is not necessary to fill the slot. Just a single slim line of glue on the non-hole side will more than do the trick. More important than getting a lot of glue is that you are using the correct glue. Use fabric glue (Liquid Stitch is a good choice). The bottle you see here is Liquid Fusion. I like it very much. It has a nice consistency, stays put, and works on fabric and other materials for a good hold. Elmer’s Glue is not strong enough. Gorilla glue makes a mess.

Place the frame, front side down, on the paper towel. Then arrange the first flap (right side down on the paper towel) so that it is ready to be poked into the frame.

I like to begin by poking one side of the bag and then the other into the frame side with the tip of a double-pointed needle or tapestry needle. I do this so that I know how much bag fabric needs to be distributed evenly across the frame.

In the above picture, the middle part of the flap has not yet been poked into the frame. As I poke it in, I make sure that the fullness of the flap is distributed across the entire frame. It is easy to move the tip of the needle from left to right or right to left in order to distribute the fabric evenly. Below is a picture of this process once it is complete – NOTE that the folds of the flap are spaced evenly across the frame top. We can still do a little adjustment if necessary at this point and again during the blocking process.

You can check that the bag fabric is secure within the frame by turning the frame over so you can see the right side/whole side of the frame. If the bag is “in” the frame, you will see the color of the bag through the sew holes. Dark holes, holes in shadow, mean that the bag has not been sufficiently poked into the slot. Simply poke the fabric in yet again.

To ensure that the bag stays put inside the frame as the glue dries, baste the bag in place using a double-strand of sewing or beading thread and a sharp needle. For good results, simply baste around the entire frame. It is not necessary to go through the sew holes at this point as you can see below.

A close up of the basting stitches: you want the stitches to be snug around the frame.

Once the basting of one side is complete, pull the bag through the frame to the right side of the frame (until this point, the bag has been pulled to the inside of the frame. . .

Then place a line of glue inside the second frame slot, again careful that you put this bead of glue on the non-sew hole side of the slot.

Poking the second flap into the frame is more awkward than the first. Mainly because the bag is in the way, you may have difficulty laying the frame down flat. . . so, I try to follow the same procedure: first, poke the sides in, then the top of the flap, distribute the fabric evenly . . . I console myself that the second side is the awkward side and just get the job done any way I can without making a mess. Deep breaths. That’s my advice. And do what works. Sometimes you’ll be very glad the glue dries clear.

 

Don’t Skip the Gluing Step: Here’s Why

I did see a posting somewhere that a Lipstick and Change maker had skipped the gluing step . . . I do not think this is wise. She seemed to think it would save her time or that she was giving in to laziness. The gluing step is possibly the quickest of the finishing steps. AND it is essential for keeping the purse in the frame should the “sewing in” part of the purse construction be compromised in some way.

I would not want to be be walking down the street and have a corner of my bag come undone with no glue to keep it in place.

The bag will be held in the frame by the glue alone if you have done this step properly. You will see that gluing and basting may take as little as 15 minutes. It’s the sewing that will take more of your time.

 

Sew The Purse Into The Frame While The Glue Dries

You may want to glue one day and sew the next. I have done this and it works. However, it is easier to sew the bag into the frame using the little beads while the glue dries. As the glue hardens, it becomes much harder to push a needle through it. So, what would normally take an hour can take considerably longer.

 

Begin Sewing at The Hinge On One Side

The First step is to begin at the hinge of one side. With your double strand of nylon beading thread already on the needle and a knot at the end, put your needle into the bag and then into a hole from inside to outside. You will have to angle your needle somewhat to get it through the hole.

Once you have come through the hole on the front, put a bead on the needle and then go back through the same hole out of which the needle just came.

Repeat this process around the entire frame. You may also want to catch a bead on the inside of the bag in the same manner as you have done on the outside. It makes for a pretty finish on the inside. If you do not want to do this, you should nevertheless put the point of your needle almost in the same place on the inside of the bag, angling your needle toward the next sew hole so that your stitches are more or less invisible on the inside of the bag.

I prefer the beads on the inside because it is prettier.

Finish off your strand of thread by making a dress-maker’s knot and then traveling inside the felt (see images below) so that you can cut the thread off at the bag with no unsightly ends sticking out.

Once both sides are sewn in place, you can cut the basting thread, pull out the stitches, removing all the basting thread. The bag is secure in the frame!

If you have questions about how to put stiffener in the bag bottom and apply the bag feet, consult the blog posting on the topic.

Your QUESTIONS provide the material for this particular blog column, so keep asking and I’ll keep answering.