Phew! First of all let’s get the weather chat out the way! Of course it is the number one subject here in the UK 😀 After months of cool, very wet weather the temperatures have suddenly ramped up. Here in central southern England we have had a succession of days in the high twenties. The forecast is for rain at the weekend followed by a dry week with much more comfortable low twenties temperatures. My poor tomato plants have gone from being completely water-logged to being fried! Not sure there will be much of a crop to enjoy this year.
Anyho! Some sewing has been going on between sweaty trips to the allotment (we are harvesting raspberries, courgettes and beans at the moment).
I bought a metre each of these Debbie Shore fabrics a few weeks a go with a friend in mind. She loves nature and keeps Doves as pets so the combo was perfect. My plan was to make my friend a bag as her birthday gift.
The more I thought about her outdoor lifestyle the more I realised a cotton bag would not really suit – not waterproof or wipe-clean. I plumped instead for making a bucket style project bag as she always has a knitting or cross stitch project on the go. The bag pattern is by Kristen Link and I followed the tutorial downloaded from Craftsy.
My version of the Bucket Bag is a bit squishy but can stand unsupported. I should have used a medium weight fusible interfacing rather than a light weight variety and maybe a double layer rather than a single layer of the Hobbs 80/20 wadding. I did use foam for the circular base so with a few balls of wool in the bag it will be sturdy enough 🙂
Using the same fabrics I cut out the pieces to make a Sunshine Crossbody Bag (pattern is a free download from Bagstock Designs). I’ve seen loads of these bags on-line with even novice bag makers like myself achieving highly acceptable results. Hum! As I have some sew-in foam interlining in my stash I chose to follow the version of the pattern using that rather than fusible foam interlining. The difference between the two versions is the sew-in foam is taken up in the seam allowance whereas the fusible is cut smaller to miss the seams. This caused me and Julie the Juki (a straight stitch, semi-industrial machine) no end of problems 🙁
It was one of those projects where the further I got into it the less convinced I was that all would turn out well. I don’t think it was a self-fulfilling prophecy more a realistic assessment of the situation. I persevered to the bitter end. The final bringing together of exterior side seams, interior side seams and the top zipper produced a very thick seam and poor Julie just couldn’t get over the hump without producing teen tiny, wayward stitches. Once turned right sides out I could see the stitching fails at the top of the sides seams and an issue I’d been having with the lining led to a mass of pleats in the interior of the bag *SIGH*
I went back to the sewing room next day to inspect the bag with a clear head. I concluded making it had been a useful learning experience: I’d managed to attach zipper pulls to lengths cut from a continuous zip :-); discovered there’s a time and a place for sew-in interlinings; understood better the limitations of using a zipper foot as opposed to a standard foot to top stitch and sew seams; enjoyed feeling confident re. installing zippers; and could accept a ‘fail’ in my bag-making learning journey. I’ve decided to disassemble the bag in order to retrieve the hardware and some of the materials. I have since discovered a tip for flattening thick interlining: use a zig-zag stitch within the seam allowance to attach the interlining to the fabric of the bag.
With a ‘can do’ state of mind I searched the internet and found a crossbody bag pattern that seemed to fit my skill level and the materials and equipment I had to hand. A blog tutorial for The Convertible Cross Body Tote by Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield can be found on her website, www.sewcanshe.com. There’s also an option to purchase a printer-friendly download for $2. I choose to have the download to save having to keep refreshing my laptop screen as I rather s-l-o-w-l-y followed the instructions.
This pattern is definitely patchwork-quilter friendly with the prep being done using rotary cutting equipment rather than templates. I felt confident enough to make a couple of changes including stitching the D-ring tabs to the top edge of the bag rather than the sides. The bag can be made with fusible interfacing or fusible fleece. I used fusible interfacing so the bag doesn’t have much structure although it can stand unsupported. I guess the bottom will sag a bit with the weight of a heavy purse, phone and keys. I think I will try making a version with fusible fleece – taking care to keep the fleece out of the seams!
All this bag making is just a condensed period of learning and I will be returning to patchwork quilting very soon! I may get there via the making of a patchwork bag or two 😀