"You can figure this out, right?"
This bag was full-on schoolbag size so we knocked a little off the size, and there are a few differences in the sizes of pockets and flaps and such, but for the most part I did pretty well (especially since there were several things I've never done before). This is probably going to be wordy and pic-heavy, but I worked for an entire week straight for hours each night on this and I'm pretty proud of it. So here we go.
It's hard to take a pic of shimmer, so this will have to do. But when the light hits it the effect is pretty dazzling. OK--so let's discuss the elements.
It's hard to see and it's a wee line, but darted pockets that aren't smack-dab on a bag but kind of sewn into the seams are a bit of a math-thinker and take some tinkering to get right. I have a terrible skill of mucking up the placement of snaps/velcro on flapped pockets, so I made sure these were just right. The bias tape was a beast around such a tight curve, but it's on there.
This 3-D zipper pocket was the cause of needless worry. I couldn't fathom how this was going to take shape, but I had a cute bag I bought at Target that had just such a pocket that I used as an example. It was a little tight getting it together, but it really worked out. The weirdest thing was sewing it to the bag--you have to smoosh things out of the way to sew it down, but if you smoosh too much you end up with a flat pocket. I went slooooowwwwly and it came together fine.
Those were the parts I worried about and didn't really have to. I was feeling good about the straps and so on, but that is where my worry should have been directed. I completely underestimated the bulk situation. This is a home dec weight fabric that I lost my head on and decided to interface and fleece. Even my super-strong machine balked in a few places and asked for new needles periodically. I ended up sewing bands over the ends of all the straps so they wouldn't end up in the seams, but even that was thick.
The stitching isn't the prettiest I've ever done but it's a concession I had to make to get through those layers. If I made this again (and I'm iffy on that ever happening) bulk reduction would be the number one thing I'd keep in mind. It was the only thing that made this less than pleasurable to sew. I enjoyed the challenge, enjoyed the thinking and planning, but hated getting these straps down. It was the only thing that (literally) almost had me in tears of frustration.
I made the straps so they'd be adjustable, but they're kind of not. In a technical sense they are, but in a length sense--not so much. It was really hard to gauge the length of the straps on myself so they ended up slightly shorter than I had hoped. They're set at a great length now, but the shiny bits are just for show (but that's OK as they look good :)
We went with a fun coral lining. I used a scrap of Medrona Road to line the pocket--it might be my favorite bit, kind of like a little secret.
Normally I would put the grommets just on the exterior of the bag, but this time I put them through all layers so I could get the placement right. I really didn't have it in me to make my own drawstring cord, so I bought some and added a double-cord stop for easy tightening. I love how they work--just a simple squeeze and pull and the bag is cinched, no fuss with tying anything to keep it together.
I did the faux piping method at the top where you pull up just a bit of the lining. I like the pop of color, and it saved me from some crazy bulk while top-stitching.
As I was sewing this together I kept thinking "I hate everything about this!" but that's not entirely true. I hated the parts I didn't think through fully. I had convinced myself that never again would I make one, but I may have to retract that statement. If I hadn't made some parts so bulky the whole thing actually would have been quite enjoyable to sew. I won't be making one of these for quite some time as my brain and my machine are on a bit of overload. This is the longest it has ever taken me to sew something, but it also has the most new-to-me elements in it. Leave it to sisters to ask for the 'impossible,' right?
And if you're wondering if she liked it--she did. She loved it. It makes it quite worth all that time and effort. And now--I am off to hand-stitch the bindings to some table runners. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to simple, soothing handwork.
Saturdays: Show and Tell Saturdays,