Monday, April 4, 2011

Bag Lady

Buttercup bag detail

Well, I took a brief respite from sewing last week because my right arm was hurting from wrist to shoulder. But I jumped back in on Friday with some bag patterns that had been languishing in my "patterns" folder on my computer. Bags are great because they come together relatively fast, in comparison to quilts!

Per my usual complacence, I made a variety of mistakes design choices on each of the bags, which I will now point out to you :)

Here is my attempt at the Made by Rae Buttercup Bag, which is a free pattern. You can see many versions in the Buttercup Flickr Group. I was going to make a muslin version first with some fabric that I didn't really love and then save the precious Parisville prints for after I had some experience. But my muslin fabric bled a little when I washed it, so I decided to bypass the dress rehearsal and go straight for my pretty fabrics.

Buttercup bag

But, being the moron that I am, I taped a piece of the pattern incorrectly, which meant that I had to do a little fudging. Since I'm a fudge-ologist, I made it work. I made only two pleats and had to narrow the band. I used actual muslin as the lining, so I used lightweight woven interfacing for a little structure, but I think it could use even more. I'd like to try it again (with the pattern properly taped this time!) maybe a little clutch with a side strap?

I also attempted the Phoebe Bag, another free pattern, from Rebekah at artsy-crafty babe. I used a Jennifer Paganelli Flower Power print in Sky. I used a remnant of a sheet that I'd used for a previous project for the lining. This pattern uses fusible fleece, which I hadn't used before.  It also has an interior pocket. (Check out my classy lamp/purse-holder!)


My mistakes - I fused the interfacing and fleece to the exterior fabric instead of to the lining, which is what the pattern calls for. I was also so excited to have all my pieces together that I completely forgot to sew the darts before I assembled the purse. I was able to back out and put some make-shift darts in the exterior pieces. So, those parts could be better but this is a really versatile pattern and could definitely be amped up with some different hardware - zippers, d-rings, strap.

Finally, I purchased my first PDF pattern from Anna at Noodlehead, the 241 Tote. The pattern also has a version with two interior pockets (that's why it's called the "241 Tote" - 2 bags in 1 pattern). The directions were very clear and the pattern includes numerous helpful photos.


I really like this pattern and I can't wait to make a couple more! Shockingly, I only made a small mistake on this one, which is that I did not leave the turning hole (not sure what that's called) at the base of the lining but instead at the joint between the exterior and lining. So, it didn't make a major difference in the final construction. I used some of the Ikea canvas/home dec fabric that I picked up in the Twin Cities and since it was a heavier weight, I didn't need to interface those pieces. At first I was concerned because I didn't have any black thread for topstitching, but I decided to just go ahead and use the white thread and now I really like the effect, kind of sporty.

So, I had several firsts on these projects - first fabric button, first time using fusible fleece, first time using magnetic closures. And, since I was using a variety of fusibles, I also pre-washed my fabrics, which is unusual for me. I'm constantly amazed at the free tutorials and patterns that are available out there on the inter-web. You can learn so much and try so many new techniques. I think I was in such a hurry and so excited to make these projects and that always makes me careless. Even still, I think these are great projects, especially for newbie bag ladies, like me. I'll definitely be making more.


jenni said...

i am also a master fudge-ologist. happy to meet a fellow fudge-ologist. :)

Lee said...

Gorgeous bags! Especially the Parisville one - it doesn't look fudged! So it was supposed to have three pleats? I haven't seen how it's supposed to look, but I think I love it with two! Especially since you've got the print so nicely centered.