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Sewing with Faux Suede - 'City Slicker Advanced' (ChrisWDesigns)

When I made my City Slicker (Advanced)  I noticed in the instructions this picture of one Christine had made in faux suede.  I loved it!  When I showed my friend Emma my new bag I told her about this one.  She asked if I could make a faux suede one for her, in shades of grey!

So I went on-line and eventually tracked down these two on e-bay (Charcoal and New Grey). She also wanted a grey striped lining, and that was harder to find.  I finally settled on this 100% cotton with a narrow grey and white  stripe.  Then I collected all the hardware, zippers, matching thread and interfacing.  Next was to check up on how to set up for sewing faux suede.  Conflicting advice ranged from using a universal needle, a stretch needle and a leather needle.  In the end I chose to use a Microtex Needle!

Sewing Machine Feet Organizer

Feet - I used my even-feed (walking foot) for most things and my stitch in the ditch foot for edge and top stitching.  
Needle - Microtex, size 90/14 from my Sewing Machine Needle Organizer

Thread - Gütermann’s Sew-All thread colour 701 on the top and 634 for the bobbin

Cutting out - although it's not real suede I still avoided putting pins in it except in the seam allowance, just in case.

Sewing - I tried out my stitches and top-stitching on a sample, and with a piece of Soft & Stable, and was happy with the results.

Pressing - I used steam and a press cloth, and brushed the nap afterwards with a clothes brush.

Top-stitching - this is where I used my stitch in the ditch foot, with the needle moved to one side. However, when it came to fitting the zipper tab to finish the bag off I found it worked better if I reverted to the even feed (walking) foot and moved the needle across to the right.

Conclusion - the fabric was fine to sew, but a bit of a struggle to manoeuvre in places.  As a result it was a little too 'full' when I attached the outer to the lining.  It doesn't "do" ease.  It showed up more when I attached the zipper casing and I got some light puckering. Other than that I'm pleased with the results.  I love Christine's pattern and the detailed instructions!

This is the back, showing the lining material binding I used on the slip pocket.  This is the slip pocket from the Intermediate version, as Emma wanted that rather than the welt pocket included with the advanced pattern.  I have yet to make one of them, as I made one of my signature clear vinyl slip pockets on mine!

Here is the inside with the zipped pocket, faux suede slip pockets, pen pockets and sunglasses pocket.  I made a real effort to match the stripes across the bottom seam this time!  I turned the stripes on the pockets so they didn't have to line up with the ones on the lining.  I also added a key leash, bag bottom and bag feet.

The final touch was adding a shiny 'handmade' tag to the zipper.  I bought a supply from and used a key ring to attach them.  I find it easier to pull on the key ring than the actual zipper pull.   

Handbag vs dress zipper

I had bought ten zippers from Zipper Island in Etsy, but didn't include grey when I chose my colours! If you can get proper handbag zippers they are well worth it as they have bigger, longer zipper pulls, but unfortunately they are not readily available in the U.K.  

As all the photo's look like I was using black and white film, I decided to add some colour to my last shot!

You can see the bag feet in this picture!  I deliver it tomorrow, so I hope it's how she imagined it.

See Faux Suede at FabricMart!

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