Since my semester ended, I’ve gone a little crazy. The big pile of really cute coordinated fabrics that was getting dusty in the corner of my office – I’ve started using it. I’m really bad about picking up 2 yards of cute fabric when I see it. I may not have something specific in mind but I know two yards is enough for me to make a lot of things.
Last year, I got a really good pattern for a tote bag. I made some changes to the pattern (namely added pockets inside and out and made it wide vs. tall) and it is a perfect reusable shopping bag. I am always surprised when I fit a ton of groceries in them. Plus – they are cute. (The only downside is that it literally takes ALL DAY to make one – about 8-9 hours.)
But that was last summer. To quote Cher in Clueless, “that was so last season!” So this summer I have been making a completely different bag. This one also started with a very basic ONE PIECE tote bag pattern that I found in a book that I had in my office (surprise! I have good stuff stashed in here!!) As you can imagine, the ONE PIECE tote bag was boring. Easy but boring. So first, i threw on rows of ruffles and some pockets on the inside. It came out looking pretty good but it was kindeve weird. The straps were too short (not to mention a real pain in the ass to turn right side out.) and it was almost too big to be a purse but too small to be a tote. This one was for Stewart’s teacher. He picked out the fabric based on his knowledge of her favorite color, purple. The second one I made for myself. I made the straps a lot longer, added more and bigger pockets on the inside. I also made the ruffle wider, so there were less rows – but I ruffled the front and back (instead of just the front.) I LOVE the fabric that I used for this bag, and I think it came out pretty decent. I’ve used it several times and it’s a good purse. With the added pockets I can put things in there like keys and phone, so I’m not constantly trying to fish them out of the bottom.
It still wasn’t perfect – perhaps I will never think anything is ever perfect but if I’m making it, I can keep making changes to it until I think it’s awfully close! This time – bag #3 – I added a crescent shaped piece for the bottom and it goes halfway up each side. It kinda helped give the bag a little bit more shape – and obviously, it made it bigger. This bag was probably the best one I’ve made so far. I gave it to Parker’s teacher at daycare. The added width made it more of a tote bag – which I thought would be good for hauling around cute school supplies etc.
And then I decided to make a completely different bag again. This time, I sat down and came up with my own pattern. I drew it out on poster board. Having spent a lifetime working with those fragile tissue paper pattern pieces – I would like to say that all pattern pieces should be made of poster board. All I have to do is lay the piece on the fabric, trace around it, and use my rotary cutter to cut the pieces out.
Holly had picked out some fabric for a bag LAST summer but I’m not making that bag anymore so I decided to make this new one for her. This one I designed specifically for beach going. I measured the size of a folded up beach towel and make sure it would fit inside. I measured the width of a standard paperback book and made sure it would slide into a pocket. I gave it a ton of pockets in the front – books, sunglasses, suncreen, water bottles, phones, EVERYTHING! I was really proud of this one when it was all finished. It was my very first completely unique creation.
But of course it wasn’t perfect so I made another one. This time using fabric that I loved – because it was going to be for me! I used the same pattern but I also added a cell-phone holder (that snaps closed) inside one of the front pockets, a dangly thing that I can clip my keys to, and I added some really cute ribbon trim to the pockets across the front and back. Oh – and I attached the straps with D-rings instead of sewing them down to the bag. This bag is officially the best bag that I have ever made. The prints that I used look so great together and I really did a nice job putting it together. I think it looks rather professional.
And not wanting to feel left out of all of the Tracey-lissima bag fun, my mom sent me some fabric for a bag. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had a perfect coordinating fabric. (So far, all of my bags have been made with only two coordinating fabrics; this time I added a third.) I also completely changed up the entire bag style. I kept the ruffles, but I made a different shape and used grommets (stubborn ass little bastards) for the handles. Sadly, I feel like this was the worst bag I’ve made this summer. I’m probably over analyzing it but it just didn’t come together as easily as all of the other ones. My machineS – yes plural – gave me a lot of troubles. The grommets were harder than I thought and I made a huge mistake on the inside. (There is a very visable RAW edge and its only saving grace is the interfacing that is ironed to the fabric. Hopefully it will keep it from fraying too much.)
I have a few more sets of cute fabric that I can use to make bags – but I just may be bagged out right now. Once I finished these four quilts, I’m sure I’ll want to get back to something smaller. Hmmm . . . even though they are a lot smaller, the bags take 2 hours longer to make.
Anyway – here are some pics of “stuff I made.” Apparently I can sew up a storm but I can’t figure out how to put some damn pictures in order, so let me just tell you what the are – going by row, left to right.
1. This is the first ruffle bag that I made for Stewart’s teacher.
2. This is the second ruffle bag that I made for myself.
3. This is the bottom/side piece of the third ruffle bag – the one for Parker’s teacher.
4. This is Holly’s beachy bag.
5. This is my beachy bag. This is a really craptastic picture. It looks great in person.
6. This is a picture of the materials that I used to put together my mom’s bag. Fabric, ribbon, grommets, and belt-like stuff that I used for the straps.
7. This is the finished third ruffle bag. Cute huh!
8. This is my mom’s finished bag. Yes I am modeling it. When I took the picture, I only intended it to be seen by my mom. I have cropped out myself smiling like a dumbass into the mirror.
9. This is a closeup of my mom’s bag.