The sun is starting to shine and the flowers are in full bloom and I wanted to celebrate the overall pissing-off of Winter with a new bag. Doesn't matter that it's still damn chilly where I live so I have to pair it with my Winter wool coat! I've been using the same shoulder bag for a couple of years now, and although I love it it's pretty ratty in places now. Plus all that leather, water-proof layering and chunky metal-tooth zip means it's damn heavy to lug about.
Also, with all the changes going on with my body at the moment, a bag project would be likely to have far more of useful longevity compared to the items of clothing I'm currently making for myself!
Somehow, despite never buying anything from them, I've ended up on the mailing for PDF sewing pattern company ithinksew.com. I don't mind though because their newsletters always feature some sweet patterns for babies, children or bags that I usually have vague feelings towards trying some day. Well one day their Katie Boston Bag must have properly caught my eye (plus I think it was on sale) because I bought the PDF and recently got round to printing it out. I really like it's retro shape which I felt would be perfect made up in some of my epic stash of vintage fabric pieces.
I've had this vintage curtain in my stash for over a year now, and wasn't quite sure what to do with it as the pattern is quite large and 'curtain-y'. I thought it's be ace for this bag pattern because I could select sections of the pattern to form 'pictures' for the main front and back panels. Judging by the print design, I think it must be from the very early 1950's, but the curtain fabric itself is in fantastic condition. There are no signs of wear, tearing, fading or thinning at all. It's not a massive piece, so I was able to get these bag pattern pieces plus make a little coin purse for my mate Kirstin (can you believe it's the first money-purse she's ever owned despite being in her mid-30's?!) and all that was left was tiny scraps. A pretty satisfying vintage-fabric stash bust!
The lining fabric was some synthetic stuff that I got from a recent fabric swap. I loved the bright peacock-y blue colour but didn't fancy the synthetic feeling against my skin, so using it for the lining of this bag seemed a clever choice.
The instruction for the project were very good, I just took my time doing a step or two each day. This bag contains quite a lot of heavy fusible interfacing (1 metre of which was the only thing I needed to buy for the whole project) so some seams were very thick and tricky to sew on my poor old domestic machine from the 1970's.
I didn't do the elasticated pocket section as per the pattern and instructions, which I fear would have taken an age. Instead I made two sets of patch pockets for the inside to help me organise all my little bits that usual float about at the bottom. I've even got a frikkin' pen pocket now! Plus it's awesome not to experience the 'Oh shit I've lost my mobile phone!' panic anymore, which I used to go through almost hourly with my last voluminous bag.
The only other major change I made was to eschew buying webbing for the handles as suggested, and instead made a pair from the same fabric. This was largely because the webbing selection at my local haberdashers was pretty poor, plus I like using what I already have where possible if it doesn't compromise on anything too much.
The construction process requires you to make up the main panels attaching the outer layers to the lining, and to do the same by attaching the outer gusset/zip section to the corresponding lining pieces. You then attached the main panels to the gusset/zip section (which by this point is a loop) with all your seam allowances inside the bag. You then use bias binding to disguise those raw edges. They advised making your own bias but I used this contrast hot pink stuff that had been lurking in my stash instead.
I'd definitely recommend this bag pattern/project, especially if you have some hefty denim needles and a robust sewing machine. It's a lovely shaped bag that proves a good canvas for some beautiful fabric.