I finished this bag off a few days ago and, on the whole, I’m fairly pleased with it. It’s nice and sturdy, I actually like the way it looks, and I’ll definitely use it. I learnt how to work with slightly thicker fabrics, improved my topstitching a little, learnt how to make straps, and a few other bag basics.
The two big mistakes I made were using too heavy a thread to start with (you can see this on the inside seams) and also something went wrong when I sewed the contrast fabric onto the bag body. I measured the black fabric so that it was definitely halfway along the zebra body, but somewhere along the way it must have slipped and so one side is now higher than the other. Ah well… I’m going to make a slight variation on this bag and will see if I can work out what I did (and yeah, not do it again!)
The bag is from The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam, and I must say I think this is an excellent book. I really like the structure – how she explains some aspect of bag-making in each chapter, followed by a bag that uses that skill or idea. I also like the emphasis on experimentation and freestyling your own bags. My only hesitation is that the instructions are extremely concise. If I had used this book 6 weeks ago, I would have struggled, and it’s only because I’ve made a couple of things that I could follow fairly easily. Also, this was the most basic bag! I plan to make some more, so let’s see if that causes me problems further down the road.
The materials I used were some home décor fabric I got from Ikea for something crazy like 2.99/yard. I think I used around half a yard. The black material is a tribal jacquard by Gypsyland for Jo-Ann Fabric . I’m actually planning to make trousers with it (in fact I started) but I had some left over and I liked the contrast with the zebra print. There are nice subtle diamonds, black on black, which add some interesting detail.
I think now I’ve made one, I could probably repeat the process fairly quickly, so this is also a great little option as a present for someone if you’re short of time, but want to give something handmade and practical. My great-aunt springs to mind – but maybe not the party zebra look! 🙂