Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Birdie Sling-All but the Topstitching

Birdie Sling

Long BS post. That's BS for Birdie Sling (it could also be BS for well... you know). The pattern is ubiquitous. I bought mine at, since my LQS didn't have it but it is easily found elsewhere. I did some research before starting, like I do. And I made some modifications based on what I read. Here are a few links to others who have made the Sling and offered their advice: Jennifer @ I was told to get a hobby; Kathy @ Pink Chalk Studio; Make It Modern; and It's a Pretty Modern Life.

Birdie Sling WIP

OK. This is an Amy Butler bag, so it is large. As I mentioned, I'm making it as a beach bag. My husband said, "It doesn't look that big on the hook, but when you put it on, it makes you look really small." Added benefit? No, I'm only 5'2" (and a half!), so it just adds to my hobbit-like appearance. But my friend is taller, so it will be good on her (that's probably why Amy can pull off a big bag because I know she is quite tall herself!). Some people have reduced the pattern with success.

This feels like a pretty substantial bag but not too heavy. I used a pretty thin cotton from Joann's for the outer and the ever-present pink cotton shirting from Hancock's for the lining. I followed the interfacing directions (fleece on the lining, woven on the outer, straps, and band) and I feel they are just right for quilters cottons and lighter. This allows for crisp pleats and some drape to the bag. But this is all personal preference. Some people might prefer it to be more like a hobo or one of those old Esprit bags (you know you had one!) that are pretty flimsy and scrunchable. Others might like even more body. Obviously, either is totally fine, but you have to think about the strength of the bag and the stresses on the seams; the bigger the bag, the more stuff you put in it, the stronger it needs to be.

Birdie Sling pleats

Almost every single blog post about the Birdie Sling says to add a magnetic closure. Who am I to argue with the experienced masses? Magnetic closure - check. One thing noted by Kathy at Pink Chalk is that older versions of the pattern contain an error in attaching the band to the top of the bag body. This could certainly result in more gaping at the top (suggesting the need for a fastener). So, check the link to see if your pattern is correct.

Sometimes with these bulkier bags I have to do what I was told never to do - pull on the fabric from the backside of the needle. Sometimes, though, it just needs that extra little push.

Birdie Sling inside

Graduated to zippered pockets! They weren't even that hard and it adds such a nice finish to the project.  I thought there should be some place for valuables. Then I added a nice big pocket for books, sunglasses, and sunscreen. I also added a key clip. Keys are so easy to lose in larger bags!

I added about 4 inches to the strap pattern. A normal person might put the seam midway between the strap pieces, but I staggered mine. I just thought (perhaps wrongly) that it would be less stress on the seam if it wasn't directly at the point taking the brunt of the weight. I extended the strap piece B by 4.5" inches on the straight part. Also, the part of the strap that connects to the band is slightly concave (convex?), which is a little tricky and a bit bulky, but it's a nice detail.

Birdie Sling gussets

I already have all of the pieces cut out for another one. (I had a color crisis and decided that the pink/brown fabric might say "baby bag" more than "beach bag" and my friend wouldn't like it, so I cut out a bold primary print, as well. I ended up sending her pics of the fabric and she picked the pink one, anyway!) This one will be made out of homedec canvas, so I'll be mixing up the interfacing and playing with strap length.

The bag obsession continues...

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