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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Easy Does It?

Apparently not... I seem to want to make life difficult for myself.  When I saw the words 'make a bag in an hour', I thought...why not?   And here's the original post, on a Really Useful blog.  I read it through and thought...mmm... and proceeded to play with the idea.  Silly me... the project grew arms and legs, and took rather longer than an hour.  In fact, it's still not finished... but there's just the handle to add to it, and a closure.  I decided to use some more of the African fabric I have in my stash (Maggie Relph is such a bad influence...) and chose some of my hand dye for the lining.

I decided that I would make the bag a bit broader at the bottom, and altered the pattern accordingly.  I decided I wanted to quilt my bag, and decided to do so in fairly large circles, in a variegated thread that, in some places, contrasted with the fabric, but not in others, thinking that that would be an interesting effect.  I felt that without quilting, the bag would be much softer than I wanted it to be, despite the cotton batting I was using.  However, the decision to quilt it, without a loose lining, had major consequences for its construction.  I had to do something about all the raw seams.  So, I put it right sides together and stitched round the bag, then turned it right side out and stitched round the seams again, so that the raw edges around the body of the bag were encased, and the bag had very stiff, but very strong edges.

Then, I had to bind the top edges.  In an ideal world, I would have bound them in the African fabric...but I didn't have enough to make bias binding with.  So, I ended up with some commercial binding.  That made my life Rather Difficult, and resulted in a lot of jiggery pokery around those thicker side seams...a bit of judicious clipping, plus some stre-e-e-tching of that bias binding, and I got it all covered.  Phew.  Life would have been a lot easier with slightly broader binding... but hey.

I'm not entirely sure what kind of handles to add to this bag.  The original has fabric handles; I'm tempted towards cord.  And probably a magnetic closure.  Or a strap, across, and a button.  Decisions, decisions.  This has taught me a lot, however.  Might, for instance, have been better to stitch the fabric onto heavyweight lutradur, and then created a loose lining, which would have solved all the construction problems.   That said, from a design point of view, I rather like it as it is.  But it definitely pays to think things through from the start on a practical project like this... a bit more fabric would have been ideal.  Hindsight is always perfect...

At the end of the day, this is far from perfect, but it's not bad for a first attempt.  As I said earlier, I like the way it has turned out, though the finish could be a lot smoother... hopefully, practice will sort that out.  I have enough fabric left over from the waistcoat I showed you yesterday, to make a similar bag to this... I'll let you know how I get on!

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