I have been greatly enjoying reading posts from a lot of different blogs (still at the stage of finding new ones every day) about the year’s hits and misses in terms of makes, and plans for 2016. I can’t really write one of those as I haven’t made enough stuff (!), but I did outline a few things I was planning to make in a post last week. Well, I already changed my mind on one of them. I came across a free pattern from Noodlehead for the Gatherer Crossbody Bag and thought: I know the fabric for that! A lovely pink/yellow/black barkcloth that I picked up from Miss Matatabi a few months ago. Actually, I only bought half a metre as a remnant, so it wasn’t enough for my original planned bag anyhow.
As an aside, if anyone out there hasn’t checked out Miss Matatabi and likes Japanese fabric (who doesn’t?) make sure you do. I’ve bought a few things there: they come beautifully packaged, are very reasonably priced and get to the USA FAST. Like, faster than something ordered at the same time in the USA fast. Yeah, that fast. Argh – I shouldn’t have gone to get that link. I’ve just seen more gorgeous fabric. Argh.
Back to the bag. I love it. I liked the material anyway, despite its propensity for fraying, and I liked the pattern because it looked like the size and shape of bag I would USE. I didn’t even realise it was a free pattern until after I had checked it out. So thanks to Noodlehead designer Anna Graham for that generous freebie, and I’ll be taking a look at your other bags soon! As a further aside, the bag was designed as a collaboration with the release of a new fabric collection called Carkai from Carolyn Friedlander. If it weren’t for the fact that I have more fabric to use than I know what to do with, I would be all over this collection – it’s gorgeous!
I enjoyed making this – it built on some things I had already learnt and introduced some new challenges. Sewing piping, (I used a zipper foot and two slightly different methods), using fusible fleece interfacing (nae bother) were new and I got to try inserting lining again and working out the whole backwards, upside down, inside out thing again. Also, a little leather work with the hole-cutter and stud button. Big plusses: I only made TWO mistakes the whole bag (pretty good) and my topstitching has gotten a lot better. Or maybe I was focusing more, not sure. Either way, I’m not complaining.
The main work for this bag is preparing the pieces. It probably took at least 50% of the total make time. I suppose that’s probably true of most bags, since you usually have pockets, lining and at least interfacing, if not fusible fleece. I didn’t mind it though – the pieces are small and easy to work with and it definitely makes all the difference to the finish of the bag.
Oh yes, the first minor blunder: I ironed a piece of interfacing to the wrong piece of fabric. Luckily, it came off okay and I cut another piece. Read the instructions carefully! It even says in the instructions to read them carefully! But it wasn’t a big deal. I really enjoyed the piping. I just bought it ready-made, but it looks pretty simple to make your own, so I’ll perhaps try that next time. I tried two slightly different methods of sewing the piping. I don’t have a piping foot, so used the zipper foot and it worked fine. The first time I used the needle in the centre position sewing as close as I could to the piping, as per the instructions. It was okay, but seemed a tad loose.
So the second time, I used the needle in the left position (picture on right above) and it was absolutely fine and gave a tighter sew. Then, when I stitched the second piece onto the main bag I stitched it just inside the previous stitch line and this gave a perfect tight finish. It’s quite a satisfying thing and I love it when you turn it over and see the contrast. Ta-da!
The straps are made from the same material and using the same method I used in the last few bags, so it must be a standard kind of thing. You end up basically folding the strap material fourfold and then stitching it in place.
You keep two little pieces aside for the strap loops and that was where my other little mistake occurred. I started the process of sewing everything together (which seems a bit scary with all the layers of stuff) and turned the bag inside out. AMAZING! And then realized I had sewn the loops inside the bag not on the outside. Ah well. I just unpicked down to the loops and redid it. No-one was any the wiser (until now).
Then is was time to insert the lining. I chose a straightforward Kona pink solid since the main fabric is busy and vibrant. I was pretty pleased with my topstitching on the inside pocket. It’s not perfect, but not too shabby!
The lining insertion went smoothly and all that was left was to add the leather strap, button stud and clips for the strap. Could I find button studs and the right size lobster clasps? Could I heck. I should just have ordered online when I thought about it, but I figured it would be quicker to pop out and get them, and I also wanted to look at them in real-life since I hadn’t worked with this kind of thing before. I went to so many shops – and every one had something… but not quite the right thing. Frustrating!! At least I got a feel for what I wanted (some of that hardware looks very garish in real-life) and so I ordered online in the end, using some suggested resources I found online.
Then it was a super-quick clip on of the clasps and shortening the strap slightly, followed by cutting the leather strap (it’s very satisfying cutting leather, I had no idea), punching the hole and screwing in the button stud. And it was finished! I guess if you had all the pieces at the beginning you could finish this in a weekend no problem, and I’m sure a lot faster once you’ve made a couple. As I mentioned at the beginning, I really enjoyed making this bag, and I’m going to rustle up another for my mother-in-law very soon!
Hope you enjoyed reading this and I’ll be back soon. Cheerio!