Sunday, 26 April 2015

Made: The "Fake Everything" Snazzy Slouch

This is the first more-complicated-than-a-tote bag that I've made in ages.

Despite adjusting the lighting, the details of this bag are, in fact, invisible in this photo
I also started it ages ago, back at the end of February. Then I hit a construction problem due to the fabric and ground to an unenthusiastic halt. When I picked it up again yesterday I suddenly realized that the problem was extremely fixable and promptly finished the bag in three hours. So often the way with sewing -- if you leave your finished item for a few weeks often you can't remember why you thought it was so terrible/unfixable in the first place!

More visible details! The outer pocket is a fake leather with a pindot pattern stamped into it
 The pattern is the Snazzy Slouch by ChrisW. She is one of my favourite bag pattern makers because her bags patterns, even the easy ones, are definitely a good step above most of what is available in terms of complexity and cleanness of finish. This bag at the easy end of her pattern spectrum, and it is not one that I have made before. However, I would definitely make it again. The only issue I have is the way the outer pockets (here in fake leather with a stamped pindot) are constructed. Whether this was because of the combination of materials or sewing error on my part, I ended up with a line of the lining fabric visible at the lower edge of the pocket. As it happens, I kind of like how it looks -- sort of like a piped edge  -- but I am pretty sure it is not supposed to look like that! On the other hand, not that it's visible in my photos, I really love the way the zipper and strap tabs go together at the end of making this bag -- it makes for a really great finished product.

I made only the very tiniest of changes to the design. I chose to use a long plastic strap harvested from a (hideous) RTW crochet bag I bought many years ago and never used rather than making my own. The strap on this bag is the perfect length to allow me to wear it cross-body. I also put in a plastic base rather than a peltex base, just because I like it when bags have firm base to sit on.

Simplified interior of bag
I also chose to simplify the interior of the bag (which should have a dividing, zipped pocket in the centre) for two reasons. Mainly, I just didn't have enough of my lining fabric (which is called Love City, and which my friend T gave me a yard of for my birthday a couple of years ago and that I have been hoarding ever since.) Secondly, though, I prefer just having one big cavernous space in which to throw things. I am not the most organized of handbag carriers -- I just fling everything in!

Overall, I found the bag really easy to put together (bearing in mind that if I have any claim to any kind of expertise in sewing, it is in making bags, as I have made a metric tonne of them) and all and any problems that I encountered were really due to the fabrics I chose. The biggest issue was with the faux suede. Some of this was stabilized using interfacing, but the bag is intentionally quite slouchy and thus some sections (the yoke pieces in particular) are left uninterfaced. Alas, stitching together the fake suede, which stretched in weird ways, and the faux leather, which also stretched in weird ways was not a dream come true in any way! I tried my (newly purchased) roller foot. I tried a teflon foot. I tried my walking foot. Nothing really helped, and my big construction drama that made me abandon the bag part way through was precisely because the faux suede distorted so horribly that I was struggling to match my seam lines at an important point. However, I was able to fudge it and it had no real effect on the finished bag, so whatever, manufactured drama I guess!

This is the biggest visible construction error: the bottom edge of the pockets WOULD NOT match >:( and I KNOW they were the same size!
Of course there are a bunch of imperfections, but I am quite pleased with my bag overall, and it's made me realize all over again how much I do enjoy bag making. For a while I went off it entirely, probably because I made so many millions of bags back when I first started sewing.