Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Made a Bag!

And here she is (!):

Hello. I am a beautiful bag.

Last weekend, my friend, Hilary, and I went to a new local yarn/fabric shop. I bought a skein of luscious Malabrigo yarn, and she bought the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag pattern. The next day, I accompanied her to another local fabric store to buy interfacing and cording and such. (Side note - how exciting is it that I have so much free time! 4th year of med school is awesome!) And while we were in the store, I suggested we could do a two-person-sew-along, so I could make a bag too. She is a kind soul, and she agreed. I had fabric for both the body of the bag and the lining in my stash (purchased years ago for curtains), and I picked up the other bag ingredients with Hilary's help. I came down with a cold on Friday that prevented me from going into the hospital, but Hilary did not mind my germs, so my sick day turned into a 10 hour long sewing day. We had a serious workshop going - with two sewing machines! Another 6 hours on Saturday and a couple of hours this morning yielded a completed bag!

Here is a close-up of one of the big side projects:

A close-up of one of the end pockets:

Inside of bag with lining:

Happy Me with bag and dog:

Pattern: Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag
Fabric: Cream/black toile for exterior of bag. Black duck cloth for piping and bottom panels, and cream colored muslin or twill for interior lining.
Comments: I have many.

First, let me say, Hilary is a sport - not only did she agree to help me out with my first major sewing project, but she also put hers on hold to get mind going (and eventually finished.) So, now that my bag is done and I am out of her house, she can finish her own bag in peace.

Second - I think the key to me completing this bag was a Hilary. This process involves many firsts for me - I'd never made piping before. I had never sewed anything from a pattern before. I had never used an antique sewing machine before. Etc. There were many points where the going got tough, and had I been on my own, I would have given up. Hilary was a huge help, and it was really fun to make a project like this with a friend - you can keep each other going when it would be easier to quit than forge ahead.

Thirdly (and let me preface this one by saying, this is mainly for me, so I remember mods I want to make should I get brave and try this bag a second time), I would cut the bias strips for the piping a little wider. I had a hard time getting the edges sewed around the cord in spots - especially at the joins. I might also make the interior bottom panel a tad bit smaller for a better fit. And make sure the Timtex panels fit in the bottom as desired before sewing bottom. And pin lining to zipper before hand-sewing it in (I was lazy and neglected to do this and got wonky areas around the beginning and end of zipper.)

All in all, this was such a fun project. Amy Butler's patterns are great, and the instructions were very clear and easy to follow (even for a novice seamstress). However, this project was definitely a challenging one. I am still becoming comfortable with sewing machines, and each day required that I engage in battle with the machine. Fortunately, I almost always won (though I will only briefly mention the hours I lost fighting with the sewing machine.) Also, Hilary pieced all the exterior bag pieces together, and her comments and my observations suggest that this is really comparable to a wrestling match - not for the faint of heart!

I highly recommend both this pattern and two-person-sew-alongs!


Anonymous said...

Hey, I really like it!!! What a hard thing to start your sewing experience with but wonderful that you have such a good friend to help you get the job done. Isn't it great how we learn from our little mistakes and I know the next one will be a breeze for you to make. All my love to you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a really awesome bag. I can't believe you made that! Cool!

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