Monday, September 20, 2010

Home Ec Project #3: Tote bag

Dear Shayne,

Here is my third project in Home Ec (that online sewing class I told you about). This one came out waaaay different from the original pattern. Part of that was intentional and part accidental.

First of all, I screwed up and cut my fabric so the orientation was more horizontal than than vertical. And maybe not even the right measurements -- it's unclear. Not a huge deal, except it is a little... "gappy" at the top now. Might need a closure or something:
Home Ec Project #2: Totebag
(It looks way larger in this photo than it does in real life. Odd.)

Another "accidental" mod wasn't really my fault. The straps are kind of wide and I didn't realize that when they said "1/4 inch seam," they actually wanted me to sew a 1/2 inch seam and then trim back the extra 1/4 of an inch. So I sewed a 1/4 inch seam, making the straps about 1/2 inch wider than they should be. Whatevs.

Some mods I made on purpose -- they wanted us to leave the fabric edges unfinished inside. First... yuck. Second, my fabric is Sup-ah Fray-y, so my bag would unravel if I did that. I knew how French seams work in theory, but had never actually tried them, so this was a good opportunity to experiment. They came out great!
 Home Ec Project #2: Totebag [French seams]

The pattern also called for attaching the straps inside the bag, but mine kept coming out looking all janky on the front, so I decided to make the strap attachment a "feature" and put them on the outside.

I also took a cue from my friend Hollie (Hi, Hollie!) who said she likes to use contrasting thread for topstitching fun, which I never do. I didn't have any that matched the fabric this time, so I gave it a whirl and... I really like it! The orange thread matches the leopards' spots:
 Home Ec Project #2: Totebag [stitch detail]

My final mod was to square off the corners, rather than leaving the bag flat. I inserted a piece fabric covered plastic in the bottom to keep it sort of rigid. I just did this because... well, 'cause I prefer it like that.

So this bag... wasn't even remotely close to the bag in class. :) But the class helped me get off of my butt to make a new bag, so that's a good thing.



emily b said...

First of all, that fabric ROCKS! I love the simplicity of it...yet the leopard is totally fun.

Second, I really like your French seams modification. That was thing I disliked the most with my bag. How did you do them? Was there a tutorial you used? I'd love to try that on another bag. It looks much more finished without having to add a lining.

Oh, and I was going to comment on your other post re: the 17 month collaborative project, but I didn't want to interrupt your intimate conversation! I think that sounds like so much fun and I can't wait to see what you two come up with!

kelly said...

Thanks, Emily!

There are lots of tutorials out there for doing French seams. There's pretty a good one here that should help you out.

The weirdest thing is the first seam -- you sew with wrong sides together and it doesn't feel right when you're doing it. But it turns out great, so I'm all for it.

As for the collaborative project, Shayne and I have been expanding on the idea off-blog, so look for a post from us soon about what we're going to be doing. It should be fun!

emily b said...

Awesome! Thanks for the link. I'm definitely going to try this out.

Shayne said...

Love the French seams!!!

JenniferNabers said...

Darius LOVES the bag. He said "it is so cute! Since I love that bag so much right now, I'm going to snuggle with the quilt she made me."

I love it, too! And, you'll be proud to know that for the first time in probably 2 years, I had my sewing machine out last night. It was just to fix a zipper, but it felt good!