Saturday, 22 March 2008

Pleated Beauty Bag

Yesterday I spent the ENTIRE day making this bag. Amy does suggest in her book to do it in stages. As I have a few days to myself, I decided to take my time, relax and do it step by step, reading carefully as I go.

I started to cut out the pieces in cm, but then realised there was a big error on one of the measurements (luckily I hadn’t cut) so switched to measuring in inches! I used my new rotary cutter and mat, it was fantastic. I also used these felted weights I made in October to hold down the fabric, and they were great!

I don’t think I planned on doing the embroidery when I bought the material for this bag (in about October 07!) But yesterday, with the luxury of an uninterrupted day ahead of me, I decided to do it.

I’ve never done embroidery before (at least I don’t think I have) so it was a nice introduction to a simple pattern. I copied the one in the book, as I thought it tied in with my fabric.
I now have to admit, that I did not read this step properly, and did the design too low. Which I then realised after I’d embroidered it. So I redid it, and my incorrectly placed embroidery now makes up part of the lining! Part of the bag’s story!

I do wish Amy had written the dimensions on her pictures to make it clearer to silly people like me!

Anyway, I carried on, and started to sew it up. This took a fair amount of time.

My contrasting flowery fabric is a stretchy material, so when it came to the pocket, I actually sewed it to a piece of the pink corduroy fabric, to give it more weight and substance. I then treated that as if it was one piece. Again there is an error in the book about the sizing and where to place the pocket. On the flickr group Amy has, which I read after, it does mention the size and says the pocket should fit between the 2 pleats; therefore the book’s measurements are too wide. Also you need to make sure it’s 8 or 9cm up from the bottom so it’s not caught up in the base of the bag.
I did find it very hard to sew over layers and layers of fabric. My sewing machine had a heavy weight needle in it and it still had quite a job, and wasn’t always able to make it round.
The other issue I came up with, was when turning it all the right way round, I found it very hard to get my rigid interfacing through, even through I thought I’d left a large enough gap, as instructed. The shop I bought all my fabric from didn’t have any rigid interfacing, but suggested that I use the heavy weight cardboard that fabric comes on. They very kindly gave me some. Anyway, on my project here, I’d have been better to leave the entire side open of the lining.
The straps I made as tubes and turned inside out. My stretchy flowery material was not going to behave so I could not do it Amy’s way, although that looked very smart.

When it came to sewing down the top, which was where my machine had the most difficulty. Although I took my time measuring it all up, I still seem to have a few small puckers, very annoyingly.

I think I’m going to add a magnetic snap closure, I live in a city, and travel by train to get to work, I want to know that my stuff is safe!!!

But overall I am pleased. It’s a quirky individual bag, which no one else in the world has, and I’m proud of my efforts. Yet again, I’ve learned more about sewing and making things. Where I need to look out for problems and so on!

Please check out the WIP pictures on Flickr just over there!


Anonymous said...

just wanted to say that I love your bag, the colours and the combination of the fabrics. I also have the amy carol-book and want to start my "sewing career" with it. But till now I am not encouraged enough. but we will see...
so, enjoy your new selfmade bag!!!
greetings from germany,

craftyclaire said...

Thank you very much, I'm not an experienced sewer, but the more projects I do, the more confidant I become. Plus more importantly I can see pitfalls in patterns. I do think it's worth googling any pattern, just incase there are errors in it. Amy puts her errors on her flickr group. All I can say is go for something simple and have a go. Believe me I have had to unpick quite a few projects, but you don't make the same mistake twice!