Friday, March 4, 2011

I'm proud to be a "Bag Lady"

My bag is finished and I love it! I can't wait to go shopping later today so that I can proudly carry my new bag :) The fabric is so vibrant it just makes me smile to look at it! The pattern was a bit confusing in a few places so I don't recommend it for new sewers. One of the things I really didn't like from the beginning is that the pattern says that you need a charm pack or scraps to make this bag. I bought the charm pack to save myself the cutting time and then found out that I had to cut the 5" squares into 3 1/2" x 4 1/4" rectangles.....32 of them! (That's 64 cuts!) I guess that depending on the fabric choice, you could cut multiples at one time, but I cut them individually to make the most of the fabric design. Now I have all these little strips of fabric scraps left over! I really think that better descriptions and more detailed drawings would be very helpful and make this pattern more user friendly. At one point the pattern says to attach the straps. OK...where? To the outside of the bag? To the inside? No details. Also, when you make the casing for the ties on the front and back, the pattern has you sew a roll hem into the short sides of a long rectangle and then sew a 1/4" seam down the long side to form a tube. Then you turn it and press it with the seam in the center of the tube. Now you have an open tube, but you run the tie belt behind both layers. Why not just sew the long side seam, leaving an opening for turning later, and then make sure the seam is centered and sew the short ends shut, turn the entire tube, flip it inside out and press it? Now you have a cleaner look. Same thing for the ties themselves. The center portion of the ties will be behind the casing so I made enclosed tubes and left openings in the center. I flipped them around and pushed out the corners and you can even machine stitch the opening as it will never be seen. Looks much nicer than ties that are open-ended tubes. The pattern says to attach the casings to the front and back BEFORE you quilt the bag, making sure not to sew over the casings. Why make your life more difficult? So I quilted the bag first and then attached the casings, easy peasy. Also I felt that the shoulder strap was too long for me. It is 32" long. I'm 5'7" and even for me it was too long. My strap's finished length is 30". It would be wise to pin the strap to the bag and test it on your body before you actually sew it in place.
I used Warm & Natural for the batting and it gives the bag a nice weight. I actually did my first ever freeform quilting on this bag! I was terrified to mess it up, but I really felt that based on this fabric choice, stitch in the ditch just wouldn't cut it. I had so much support and helpful tips from "my girls" Regena and Amy. Both have quilting experience and it was  awesome to have instant online help as I was working on this project! I'm still on the fence if quilting is for me. I enjoyed piecing the squares together and sewing the bag, but the freeform quilting part of this project just wasn't that much fun for me. More like something I needed to get done. So we'll see if I actually dive into serious quilting or not. And I've decided to sew together those little 1 1/2" strips of leftover fabric and use it to make a new camera strap cover. I just love this fabric too much to let any of it go to waste :) I haven't received my Apron Swap package yet today and my partner will receive hers today also. So I'll post pics on that tomorrow!

Just had to share some more:
I found this darling free cosmetic bag tutorial that takes 5 charm squares and a bit of lining and a zipper to make. Totally easy and fun to sew!


  1. i just love those fabrics! really pretty and thanks for the info on the pattern!

  2. Thanks for the pattern tips. I agree, sounds like they made things harder instead of simpler.
    And you don't have to free form quilt, you can do nice straight geometric shapes or hide your stitching in the ditch (which I really like) it's your dang quilt, make it your way!!! And I'll gladly make a video tute just for you!!

  3. ok...yeah...don't think I'm gonna try this patter after all. You are "super-seamstress" and it gave you difficulties!
    But it is totally over the top pretty and I'm sure you'll get lots of compliments!

  4. Denise - It's not a hard pattern to do. They just made it harder than it should be. You could totally make this. Go over to Regena's house and have another sewing day and you'll knock it out in one afternoon. And she can make you lunch win :)

  5. Very nice :-)! And like daughter. Dorothy said the same types of things about the 'grab bag' we made at our last 'Crafty Chicks' session and she did her own thing to make the bag nicer and easier to make. I think you should think about adding patterns to your Etsy Shop! I bet you could make some for sewers of every skill level.

  6. The bag turned out great. I think you've discovered a new job, pattern tester and fixer. Can I have that job too?
    Really I get frustrated when patterns don't include enough details or visuals explaining the instructions. Here's a special ed teacher fact about 65% of the population are visual learners meaning they need to see it to learn and understand it. That said patterns should include more visuals! I think this would be a good job for us. Sign me up.

  7. Very nice purse/Bag for a super nice chick!! Tell me where you got the pattern for the bag please!!!!!!!