The third challenge for the Super Online Sewing Match, was to make a bag using the "It's a Cinch! Tote PDF bag pattern" by Lisa Lam of U-Handbag. Yay! I LOVE making bags! And of course I need a new one--don't I always?
I used two different home decor fabrics and again tried my hand at color blocking. I am really loving this new habit of slashing up a pattern to use different textiles. I fused the home decor fabrics with woven fusible and basted in two layers of low loft batting. The lining is a quilting cotton originally purchased, but never used, to make a nursing cover. The hardware comes from Pacific Trimmings in NYC, and the chunky zippers from my small stash.
The clever design of this bag allows two options for wearing--cinched or not.
During the contest, the entries were all so varied in style that it's clear that the bag's design is a great template for expressing your own style through color, fabric, and embellishment choice. This is perhaps what I love most about designing and sewing.
Reading and following the pattern's instructions were extremely difficult. First of all, the photos that correspond to any given step are placed far away from the text they purport to illustrate. Often, the corresponding photo is on an entirely different page--extremely confusing. Moreover, there are numerous errata in the measurements. Sometimes the instructions describe one measurement while the photos show a different one. Since it's my custom to read a pattern all the way through until I understand every word, I was unable to even begin cutting for several days. During this time, I sent a lengthy email to the U-Handbag company. To their credit, they responded quickly and kindly. They even sent me a revised version of the pattern with corrections. But frankly, I finished sewing the bag without full clarification of all the discrepancies. Perhaps some of the confusion was my own user error; however, I assume the pattern was written for a hobbyist like myself.
The upshot to all that sewing process drama is that I love my bag! I haven't really stopped using it. It's a perfect size for me, and that cinching option is wonderful for times I don't have too much stuff in the bag. Now that I've figured out how to make the bag, and once I'm over the trauma, I may just need another one. Happy ending!
My bag also has its own accessories--a Zakka Style Zip Organizer and a cosmetics pouch! And for only the second time in my life, my bag and wallet match.
Aaahhh--it makes paying for things less painful. (I bought the Kindle edition of Rashida Coleman-Hale's awesome book Zakka Style in a total rip-off of contestant Nicole's idea.)
The cosmetics pouch uses one of the contrast fabrics in my organizer--a gorgeous gold chenille. I used a tutorial for a lined zippered box pouch found on the Pretty Modern website. Am I coordinated or what?
Guess what? Zakka Style has its own set of errata! So these projects led to no end of head-scratching on my part. It's funny now, not so much during sewing time.
What I Learned:
- How to appreciate error-free writing.
- How to sew through multiple layers of fabric and interfacing with an inferior sewing machine. (Prayer.)
DJ Mary's Pick:
Kurt Elling's live "Samurai Cowboy". Sing, Kurt, saaaang.