Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Annals of Bag Making #1

Even though I have wardrobe work to do, I decided to spend some of my sewing time this week making and thinking about bags, some of which are intended for my Etsy shop. I haven't made anything new in ages -- in fact, I only just put the shop back online after months in "vacation mode" due to being too ill and busy to even deal with the simple things like packing up and posting anything that sold. I'm really happy to have enough energy to be back at it now, but I wanted to stick to things that were easy and fun to make.

Front of Oyster card holder
The first thing I made was actually not for my shop, it was a replacement gift for a friend. The very first thing I ever made, just over a year ago, was an Oyster card holder. I kept one for me and sent one to a friend. My friend unfortunately misplaced hers earlier this month and I promised to replace it. Can I just say, I have NO IDEA why the very first thing I ever made was in oilcloth. Crazy. I would love to say the new one was orders of magnitude better, demonstrating how much I'd improved over the year, but apparently I'd forgotten how to sew in oilcloth between then and now so they were equally naff!

Inside (I added a snap later).
Still, I did get one thing right compared to last time: I put a fabric layer inside so that I could attach the snap fastener more easily! The fabric in both cases is just scrap -- scrap oilcloth with a cupcake for the outer, and pink polka dot scrap for the interior on the inside, and a little tiny piece of a Japanese print I got from an Etsy seller as part of a bundle right back at the very start of my sewing adventures as the fabric front of the pocket. My friend is a big fan of cats, so I made sure to cut it so the little cat was in the middle of the pocket. :D

Next, I made a purple wool Box Bottom clutch, using a pattern by Michelle Patterns (formerly Keyka Lou). I've made a couple of these before, one almost identical in fact with the same wool fabric but a different lining and different embellishment. The wool is a vintage piece I picked up on eBay. It's really thick but it refuses all interfacing, so the clutch is kept rigid using a scrap piece of heavy canvas as interlining.

The lining is a piece of cotton/poly mix. It was on the top of my scrap bag because I used it to make part of the lining of my A-line polka dot skirt, and I grabbed it for this. I've got a tiny bit left, probably enough for another lining of something small one of these days.

Weirdly, the most difficult thing with this clutch, other than the final top stitch through so many layers, was making that tiny little bow on the front. I ruined about a metre of ribbon trying to make them. One useful tip I picked up from garment sewing though was sewing onto tissue paper, and in the end I made three little bows that worked, of which this is the only one that didn't end up totally lopsided by the time I finished futzing with it. It turned out pretty well though overall! (And it's for sale here.)

Michelle Patterns new iPad case pattern. YAY. :D
I've also got a Foldover Clutch cut out and ready to sew, and will hopefully get that done this weekend as well. They tend to sell quite well, so long as I make the large size. Michelle of Michelle Patterns also released her new iPad case which I am ULTRA EXCITED for. She made one ages ago for herself, I guess, and I have been longing ever since for the pattern to come out. I bought it pretty much two seconds after she announced it, as I've held off making or buying a case for my iPad until she released it. Now that it's finally available, it's at the top of my list to sew for myself ASAP.

Last year's Xmas present for my SIL
The other big thing on my list is a bag for my sister-in-law for Christmas. Last year I made her a blue faux suede Evelyn bag from the pattern by ChrisW Designs. ChrisW's are the most reliably complex patterns I've found out there -- only Amy Butler's Style Stitches bags are equally complicated. I'm not 100% in love with ChrisW's instructions, mainly because the cm conversions aren't always right, but they're not bad.

The proof is in the longevity of the bags I think. I made a "usable muslin" of the Evelyn bag for myself because I didn't want to screw up the one for my SIL. I've used it constantly for over a year and it's still in great shape and I love it. I think that bodes well. My SIL's only complaint was that it was kind of small for someone who totes around everything and the kitchen sink, so I am eyeing larger patterns.

My own Josephine design bag.
Currently in contention: Olivia or Abigail by ChrisW Designs; the "Too Cool for School Satchel" from Lisa Lam's new book, A Bag For All Reasons; a large improved version of my own Josephine bag design; or a new design of mine that I've been thinking about on and off for ages. I'm not sure I'll have time to really perfect a new design for her before Christmas with everything else I have to do. Although, last year I handmade almost all my gifts and this year I'm just hand making the one for my SIL, so that should make things easier.

I kind of want to make whatever I choose more funky that the blue suedette one (though that had a very colourful inside) so I'm also wondering what fabric I could get. Obviously the thing to do is go to the factory shop once my PhD is done and see what I can find, but if I make Abigail, for example, I probably don't want home dec weight -- the seams are too heavy to sew. I went looking last night for interesting quilting weight, and I do like this funky Union Jack fabric. So, yes, a lot of brainpower over the last few days has been expended on thinking about bags again, which is actually kind of exciting.

Meanwhile, I've also been contemplating Skirt #5. I really thought I was going to make that Ottobre pattern I talked about before, but on sober reflection (... and someone on PR going D: at me at the thought of matching the lining pattern at the seams, which I had never even thought about) I've decided to make another Simplicity 8664, but this time in View A with the front vent. MANY fewer seams to match! I still need to buy a zipper though first.

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