The Winter Extravaganza Palooza swap was yesterday at the BAM meeting. Being the blog editor, I had compiled a giant list of tutorials and patterns a few months ago for inspiration. It is an impressive list, so take a look. 😉
My swap partner wanted a bag, so I pulled out one of the bag patterns I have had sitting around and tried it out. I know I could have used one of the tutorials I just crowed about, but I didn’t. I wanted to plow through some of the bag patterns I have purchased and this was the perfect opportunity.
I wasn’t hopeful that this bag would be successful (unlike me, I know!), so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this bag came out pretty well. The flap is a great opportunity to do some machine embroidery or applique’ or other type of embellishment. I chose some interesting, if black, modern fabrics for the outside, so it wouldn’t show the dirt.
The pattern is Flip Flap bag from Totes by Sandy. The pattern is not 100% clearly written, though the interpretation could have been my problem. I had some trouble with some of the steps, but it all came out in the end. I would have made the lining section much smaller. I did make it a little smaller, knowing from past experience that it didn’t need to be the same size as the outside. I didn’t make it small enough and the inside sags a little. 🙁 I don’t know what the normal reduction is for linings – half inch? a whole inch? I could experiment, but probably won’t.
I made the inside light so my partner could see her stuff.
I am thinking about making this again, as I think it is a good size. I wonder about adding more pockets. The handbag I use now has a section at the front for cards, lipstick, etc and I wonder if that could be incorporated into this design. Perhaps not with the asymmetrical flap.
My third Petrillo bag has been on the To Do list for a long time. Before I went on my trip, I decided to sew it, as I mentioned when I enumerated the bag hacks. I also worked on it, because the Peacock was acting like a beast and I wasn’t feeling the quilt love, in general.
I really was almost done cutting it out. I felt kind of stupid the whole time I finished the cutting for letting it lie so long. It took me a few days to sew it, longer than it should have, because I had to rip a few seams and make a new main flap.
I have used it a few times and am linking it. I haven’t filled it to overflowing, so I don’t know if it will really work for a long conference where I can’t easily return to my hotel, but so far so good.
The hack I sewed to the stabilize pocket makes a huge difference when I carry things around. The zipper pocket doesn’t sag. I am mad at myself for not adding vinyl to the bottom. I have to worry a lot more about where I set it.
I spent some days on the weekend finishing the Petrillo Bag #3 (Buy the pattern from Sew Sweetness). I have a few threads to weave in before I can say DONE, but it is close.
In this bag, I made a few more changes to the original pattern.
First, I made the bag larger again, but instead of using clips like last time, I bought some wide elastic and used that. The reason I need to use something rather than let the bag be free is because I want the front closure to still work. It is a magnetic closure and probably wouldn’t be strong enough to keep the bag closed if the shape weren’t similar to the original bag. I want it bigger to be able to get stuff out easier (this bag is GREAT for conferences) and be able to stuff a sweater in for cold conference rooms.
I didn’t have enough of the sew-in magnetic closures that Sara of Sew Sweetness recommends, so I bought one more at Joann. Big mistake. Use the ones that Sara recommends; they are MUCH better.
Next, I needed a way for the interior zipper pocket to be stabilized. I use the zipper pocket a lot and it was completely saggy. You can see the outside folded over to the inside from the weight. One solution was to lessen the amount of stuff in the pocket.I do like my stuff so I sewed close to the edge on the top of the pocket as one possible solution to keep the pocket stable.
However, I thought of a solution that would allow me to keep the same amount of stuff in the pocket and not be saggy. I thought of this at the last minute when the bag was almost completely together, so my options for making it super nice were limited. I sewed tabs on to the ends of the zipper. They were sticking out just enough to allow me to do so, then I sewed the tabs into the side seam.
I didn’t finish the tabs, but I figured it wouldn’t matter much since the stablizers were on the inside. I would finish the edges and make real zipper tabs if I were making the bag again.
In a further effort to stabilize the interior zipper pocket, I also added a slip pocket to the outside of the padded pocket. I got this idea from making the Cargo Duffle. I hope to put the pens in this pocket instead of in the zipper pocket, which should help the stabilization. I divided the slip pocket into two sections using my phone as a guide for size.
The slip pocket isn’t in exactly the right place. I should have put it down a little further, because in its current location, it interferes with the padded pocket flap. Thinking about this made me realize that I probably don’t need a flap over the padded pocket.
I think I will have to make this bag again with further refined hacks.
The 3rd Petrillo Bag has been cut out and on my to do list for awhile. Last Sew Day was the day to start it. I worked on the donation and when I finished that, I started working on this bag. I decided that I needed to clear off my To Do list and I also want my first Chubby Charmer back. I have been using it as a storage space for the pieces to this bag.
I really don’t know why I waited. It has gone together fairly easily thus far even though I have had to do some ripping.
With this bag, you get a lot of bang for your buck quickly. Within a few seams, you get something that looks like a bag.
Is it finished? No, but I am making progress.
I had some trouble with the flap and after ripping a few times, I decided to remake. I am also making a couple of adjustments. I am making the bag larger again, but using elastic this time. I wasn’t careful when I sewed it in and needed to rip it out and sew it more securely.
Mom had a great idea, which I will also do. I have a pen problem. I always have several with me. I have been using the hidden zipper pocket to hold them and everything else, which makes the bag sag. She suggested I put a slip pocket on the padded pocket and put the pens there. Brilliant!
I am still trying to figure out how to stabilize the hidden zipper pocket. That is a bit of a holdup, but not terrible.
Pattern: Petrillo Bag by Sew Sweetness Fabric: Home Dec, Pristine Poppies by Joel Dewberry; various dots for trim and Art Gallery Red (not sure this is the name of the colorway) solid for some of the pockets and other trim.
I spent the Sunday after the workshop finishing the Cargo Duffle.
I really, sincerely disliked all the prep work, but was thrilled to see how this bag turned out. it has substance. I was going to give it away, but I am keeping it. I really like the fabrics I chose, even though I chose the green because I thought I would give it away. I love that text fabric.
I am also thinking of making another one. I know. I know. I am crazy, but I keep thinking about how I would make a second one differently. I want to see if I can do it again better. ALSO, I do have to make a bag for one of the guild officers.
For example, after cutting out the straps, I would just sew them. After cutting out the pockets, I would sew them to the lining. I think it would be less confusing. Yes, I would still have to quilt a bunch of pieces and panels,, but I think it would be easier. It might not have worked when I didn’t know how to make the bag, but now that I have an idea, I think it would work better for me.
I am behind in posting, but I also don’t want to bore you by posting on one project or topic day after day.
You know that I have been prepping for the Cargo Duffle. It seemed interminable, but paid off. On the first Saturday in August I went to the BAMQG workshop and worked on assembling the Cargo Duffle. I arrived in good time after only getting a little lost*. 😉
Gerre arrived right after I did and we quickly decided to sit together in the back of the room. That way we could have a whole table to ourselves. There was a bit of table shortage because their day camp program was using the long rectangular tables we like. We ended up with two tables, mostly because I decided we needed a separate table on which to layout all the pieces we had prepped. It is always great to work with Gerre. On the day of the workshop, I was on edge (not sure why – a lot going on, maybe) and she kept talking me down off the ledge. I reciprocated the favor by keeping her calm when parts of the bags weren’t going as planned.
It was also good to see that some people had done less of their homework than I did, not to be mean to them; it just reduced my stress a bit.
We started out with the slip pockets and my first problem was with what pieces needed to be used. Jaime helped and once I got that problem sorted, the “which piece was which” problem sorted itself out. Even though I had all the pieces labeled, with this bit of help, I had a frame of reference.
Seeing what other people were doing and having access to a teacher also made me calm down quite a bit.
My first huge accomplishment was finishing the lining. Yes, I finished the interior slip pocket and the interior zipper pocket, which help to make up the lining, but seeing a real 3D item made from all that prep work me very happy.
I made mistakes and had to rip, which I am sure others were doing as well, even though I didn’t see them. I also had to change the way the main zipper worked, which Gerre talked me through. I may post the steps for you later. Not sure, but stay tuned.
Still, it was a super long day and I didn’t finish completely, but made really good progress. By the end of the day I only had to sew the rest of the exterior together and then insert the lining. I really don’t have a lot to complete and feel like I accomplished quite a bit by the time the day was over. Do I wish I had finished? Yes, of course, but I have to be happy with what I was able to do.
Gerre finished her bag and it looks great! Cheryl, Amanda and Karen all finished their bags as well.
As you know I have been working on the homework for the Noodlehead Cargo Duffle*. This is one of the most difficult bags I have ever made, including the Liesl Backpack, though I think the directions are the problem and not the actual bag. Also, there is a lot of prep and, as you know, I like to get straight to the sewing. As I have said, the directions are too brief for me.
These handles can be used for other types of bags, so this tutorial creates a useful skill.
In this case, I couldn’t understand the directions for making the handles. I looked at them several times until I decided just to try what they said and see if that worked. I did what the directions said, though they didn’t make sense, and the directions actually worked! Me or the directions? You decide.
Since I think the pattern instructions just need a bit of explanation for those of us who need to know more why in their patterns, I wrote up a tutorial.
Cut strips according to the directions or according to your needs. I made mine a little longer as I wanted to have more carrying options.
2. Sew strips together. They are not the same width so they will not line up, width-wise, exactly.
3. Press seams open. This is not critical and if you don’t want to, press how you like. I press seams open on handles, because I want to reduce bulk. You get a lot of bulk in handles, especially if you add some kind of filler like cotton webbing, which I used in these straps, or Soft & Stable or any other kind of interfacing. Pressing the seams reduces bulk.
Optional: At this point you can add some ShapeFlex to the handles to add strength. If you add ShapeFlex, cut a piece that covers both strips and covers the seam. It will add strength to the seam.
4. Fold the long side of the raw edges towards the center seam. I folded the Pearl Bracelets green piece first, but where you start doesn’t really matter, I don’t think.
5. Press fabric so there is a crease in the fold.
6. Next, fold the second long side, raw edge towards the center seam (yes, it is slightly off center, which is part of what confused me). This is the fabric (text fabric) with the smaller width.
7. Make sure to line both raw edges up with seam you just pressed open. Each different fabric will be a different folded width.
7. Press just folded fabric so there is a crease in the fold.
8. Fold the fabric with the smaller width (mine is the alphabet fabric) up towards the wider fabric (green Pearl Bracelets). There will be some green showing, which is what you want.
9. Press so you have crisp folds. Some of the wider fabric (green Pearl Bracelets, in my case) will show. This detail makes an accent.
10. Now unfold and add your cotton webbing or other stiffener. I used 1/5″ cotton webbing. I had never used this and was pleased at how well my machine sewed through it.
11. Refold so the cotton webbing does not show.
12. Quilt lines lengthwise, approximately 3/8″ apart, starting with the open seam. This will make the handle is very dense with quilting and add to the strength.
Ta da! You have very nice handles that will be sturdy enough to carry a heavy bag.
Ruth, being the super intelligent woman she is provided a link after I had figured out how to make these handles. I did search, but didn’t come up with the tutorial. I hope you like my instructions for the Cargo Duffle handles, which will, with any luck, come up in search results for others who try to make the Cargo Duffle.
*I really don’t know if the project includes the spelling ‘duffel’ or ‘duffle’. I am going with ‘duffle’ as that is what the dictionary says. You may want to search both, if you do any Google searching in order to get all the results.
As you know from a previous post, I have been working almost exclusively on the prep for the BAMQG Cargo Duffle class. I haven’t had tons of time to sew. What I have had I have spent on prep.
I like making bags, because I have something useful at the end of the process. Also, people seem to like them when I give them as gifts. I do not, however, like the prep required, regardless of whether I am just sewing a bag on my own or preparing for a class. In fact, I always swear a lot and then swear I will never make another bag again when I am in the bag prep process.
Part of this feeling has to do with my, well documented for you, difficulty in reading pattern directions and understanding what the designer is trying to say. I’ll take some, but won’t take full responsibility because I believe that the directions for this bag were briefer than necessary. I understand why, especially after working with Alison, because patterns need to be printed and printing 60 pages of directions including photos is daunting.
One of the things I had to do, which was different for this pattern was to quilt a lot of the parts. I understand why, and you will as well after seeing the finished piece, but it made for a lot of extra work.
Friday night I stayed in my workroom until 10pm sewing on this project. Finally, DH called me down to watch the parade of nations for #Rio2016. I decided that I would have to work on whatever I didn’t finish in class. I estimate working on the prep for about 20 hours. I didn’t keep strict track, but I think that is in the neighborhood.
What I really needed was a chart showing the pieces and giving their sizes with arrows pointing to the piece on the finished bag. I really needed that visual. I think it would have made my life a lot easier. I didn’t really understand what a gusset* was, especially in this context, and that added to the confusion of all of the parts and pieces.
I am not criticizing the teacher who was extremely patient on her first outing as a teacher. She responded quickly and non-snarkily each time she got a question on the guild forum from one of the 20+ students.
I would have liked to have seen more meshing of the pattern and the hacks/supplement (by our teacher), including references back and forth to when to go and do a step from the pattern and when to stop. This addition would have required a lot more time on her part and we weren’t paying her so I think that would have been too much to ask. It might have been nice to get together with other students beforehand to work on the prep.
I constantly learn from creating new bags and, though, this isn’t the kind of bag I would tend to use, I am learning quite a bit from making it, not the least of which has to do with gussets. 😉
The definition of gusset didn’t match what I was seeing in the Cargo Duffel pattern so that created some confusion. Wikipedia’s definition is similar to the American Heritage and Merriam Webster. I didn’t didn’t find any of them to be super helpful in the context of this pattern: “In sewing, a gusset is a triangular or rhomboidal piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add breadth or reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing. Gussets were used at the shoulders, underarms, and hems of traditional shirts and chemises made of rectangular lengths of linen to shape the garments to the body.
Gussets are used in manufacturing of modern tights and pantyhose to add breadth at the crotch seam. As with other synthetic underwear, these gussets are often made of moisture-wicking breathable fabrics such as cotton, to keep the genital area dry and ventilated.
The phrase “don’t bust a gusset” (a variation of “don’t blow a gasket”) is an admonition to calm down; becoming so enraged and inflated that one busted a gusset would imply extreme rage and expansion beyond one’s clothing capacity.
Gussets are also used when making three-piece bags, for example in a pattern for a bag as a long, wide piece which connects the front piece and back piece. By becoming the sides and bottom of the bag, the gusset opens the bag up beyond what simply attaching the front to the back would do. With reference to the dimension of the gusset, the measurements of a flat bottom bag may be quoted as LxWxG.
Pillows too, are often gusseted, generally an inch or two. The side panels thicken the pillow, allowing more stuffing without bulging.
Gussets are also used in other areas of manufacturing, e.g. bicycle frames employ gussets to add strength and rigidity.[clarification needed]” (Wikipedia)
I am taking a workshop to make the Noodlehead Cargo Duffel in a few weeks. The class isn’t just making the duffel, but we are making it with some hacks that Jaime figured out.
I spent a few hours the day after the BAMQG meeting familiarizing myself with the pattern and beginning to cut the pieces. There are A LOT of pieces in this pattern. Last Saturday and Sunday, I spent time cutting the rest of the pieces.
I now have to do the rest of the prep. This involves buying a couple of zipper and sewing bits and pieces together. There is homework because this is a serious bag and it can’t all be done in one day.
I am happy to do the prep even thought I was confused at the beginning. I think it makes for a better start for me once I am in the class.
I actually contemplated cutting out another whole bag so I could make two at once. I am trying to restrain myself. 😉
I have Sew Together bags on the mind. I don’t know why, but I want to make more. They are somewhat frustrating, the directions are vague, they take a bunch of zippers and all sorts of special gymnastics to make.
Still, they are pretty. I see mine, which is one of the most useful bags I have made, and I want to make more. I use mine all the time. It has exactly what I need for EPP as well as basic hand sewing, so I can grab it and go. I might want one for every outfit. 😉 I keep looking around and at people critically and wondering if I should make that person a Sew Together Bag.
One thing I like about the one I made for myself is the fabrics. I really chose well. I might choose something different for the outside of mine, but I think it is great and I absolutely LOVE the fabrics on the inside. I am so glad I chose fabrics that I thought more of than “this will be fine”
I know that not everyone is as smitten with these bags as I seem to be. I think it is more about the making of them than anything else. They are very satisfying to make (as long as you use the Quilt Barn sew-a-long tutorial in conjunction with the directions), and, as I said, useful. I love making quilts, but there is only so much usefulness you can get when you have too many wall hangings and not enough walls.
Right before we had to leave for the NDGW Grand Parlor, I decided the front of the Heart Bag needed something more. I didn’t have a suitable button which I have put on other versions of this bag. Finally, I decided (perhaps SIL suggested?) to applique’ a heart on to the front. I cut out one of the hearts from the scrap of fabric I had left. I used raw edge applique to sew it on and an Aurifil thread that matched pretty well.
I don’t think the placement will be in the way too much and I sewed it very close to the edge to minimize fraying, though there will be some.
I am pleased with how it turned out. I think it breaks up the expanse of red just a bit.
The recipient really liked the bag, which was gratifying.
I finished the Heart Bag over Memorial Day weekend, but since I am friends with people who know the recipient, I decided not to post about it until it had been given. Also, I found out that DH reads my posts. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I was. He read the last post on this Heart Bag and questioned me (not in a bad way) about my whining. I had to explain that I was tired and things went much better after I recovered more from the NSGW Grand Parlor. There is a fine line between wanting desperately to sew and being too tired to sew.
So, the bag is finished and I am pleased with the way it came out. The ShapeFlex interfacing gives the bag some structure, which I like, though it can still be folded for easier storage. I love that stuff!
I think I felt especially bad about that twisted strap, because I made an effort to ensure it wasn’t twisted when I first sewed it on. I felt like a gremlin had snuck into my workroom and twisted it while I was looking away just to be mean and frustrate me.
I thought about leaving it, but didn’t feel right so I ripped it out (good time to focus on podcasts!) and now it is not twisted.
The pattern calls for the edging to be topstitched, so I used a heart decorative stitch. I like the heart stitch on my Janome 9000, but you know that story. The stitch on the DC5100 is much more substantial. The machine goes over the stitches a few times each. Not all of them came out perfectly, especially around the straps, but matters of the heart are never perfect.
I really like that heart batik. It has a good hand, doesn’t fray and the heart motif is not kitschy. I have a bit more left and am said to use it up, but it has been hanging around for awhile so it is good to use it.
I have to do something better about the pockets on this bag. I always do them wrong, though wrong is relative since they still work. I just don’t do them according to the pattern and I think I need to add more of them. There is always next time.
It has been over a month since I took the Midi Bag class, – WOW! time sure flies – but I finally finished the bag.
After the class, I only had to topstitch then close up the opening in the lining. I really just didn’t have a spare moment to sew those last few steps. It isn’t as though I have been sitting around, but the Midi Bag just did not come to the top of the list.
After finishing the Heart Bag, I decided to take a few minutes to finish the Midi Bag. I am really thrilled that it is done. The Memorial Day weekend unexpectedly turned into a few days of finishing. Although I had to go with DH for a little bit of #Politicalwifery, I was able to sew a lot and finish a few projects. It was so relaxing and I am so thrilled I got to all of the projects I was able to finish.
I really like the way the bag turned out from a fabric point of view. The colors are very appealing and it has a bit of a tropical/Hawaiian art feel. I used Horizon by Kate Spain mini-charm packs for the body, a random solid for the inside and more Kate Spain yardage for the handles. The color combination is really great. I especially love the fabric I used for the handles. There is something about that blue that is very appealing.
It is a very strangely shaped bag, however, and I am not sure of the purpose for which I would use it. Also, I feel like it needs some kind of closure. SIL and I talked about grommets and buttonholes. I am not a fan of grommets after the Scrap Lab Backpack, so buttonholes are more likely. We’ll see.
The pocket came out well. I put a little decorative stitch on the edge and I am glad I did.
I still have a few of the same charm packs left and I might see about making this bag again in the Mondo size. Perhaps the proportions for the larger bag will be better and that one won’t look as strange. I am not sure I would be able to carry a Mondo sized bag full of stuff. I don’t that pattern and would like to use the second sheet of interfacing from the Midi Bag pattern before I buy another pattern. Nota bene: Each pattern comes with 2 sheets of interfacing.
I don’t know why I agreed to make this bag. Actually, it was my idea to make the bag and DH agreed. I suggested it, started making it and after the cutting, the sewing just became one problem after another.
I stopped because I was tired and haven’t gotten back to it since Sunday. I will because I feel better about it now. Also, I want to make this bag as a gift and it has been awhile since I made one, so I need a refresher.
I am actually not sure which one I made last, but I think it was the Candy Tote with Flowers. I love the stripes and flowers I used on that tote. I can’t remember who received that one. It could have been the clear one. Both were made in 2009 and I can’t find any more versions after that. 6 years! WOW.
Anyway, back to the Heart tote. I have to take the strap off the side above as I put it on wrong. Somehow I got it twisted even though I was trying to be careful. Exhaustion, I think.
I dug out that heart batik, which is the only heart fabric I have left. It isn’t as sweet as some and I like it, but I am glad to use it as well.
A week ago, I took a class at Scruffy Quilts to make the Midi Bag from QuiltSmart. I have had the pattern and the charm squares for awhile. Despite the short notice, it turned out that I was free so I signed up right away when Katrina sent out the class notice. I also wrangled Julie into taking the class with me.
One reason I wanted to take the class was to learn how to use the QuiltSmart fusible interfacing. I could not understand the directions on the pattern, thus the project had been languishing. It is very helpful for me to have someone walk me through the pattern the first time and this class was no exception.
Tips such as fabric placement is something you get in a class that you don’t get from a pattern.
I am pleased with the colors of the charm pack as I thought I would be. I used mostly the blues and the greens. I didn’t use as many of the lighter lavender squares, so those will show up in some donation quilts.
I am totally in love with the handle fabric and think I need to get more of it. The blue is not quite a navy, but is dark. I love it!
The bag is a little bit of a weird shape and I am not sure how I will use it, though I think it would be an excellent knitting bag. I have another sheet of the fusible interfacing (two come with the pattern, which is nice!) and I may add some kind of closure to the second one. I think having a closure would make it more useful. I think I would like to make the Mondo bag. It seems that size would better for a bag without a closure. I think it would be like having a shopping bag along rather than a purse.
I still have a few steps to do, but I got pretty far in the class. I laid out all of my charm squares and fused them. I was glad that I had charm squares and didn’t have to cut fabric. I made the lining and the handles and sewed the whole bag together. I could have made the handles at home, but was confused about how they wanted the handles made. I didn’t want to make them wrong and have to make them over. It turns out that there was nothing special about making them. I still have to poke out the corners, topstitch the top edge and sew the lining shut.
Learning how to use this interfacing makes me want the interfacing for the FOTY quilts. I am not sure how that would work since the sizes are different each year. Perhaps, if there was a general grid, I could overlap some of the seam lines when the patches didn’t quite match up with the lines? Oh well, if wishes were horses….
This is a pattern where you could use VinylFuse for the bottom squares. I didn’t, but may in the future. If you take this class, do with your 2.5″ squares already cut and your handles already made.