Monday, April 11, 2011

A New Bag. . . So soon?

I have a little weekend trip coming up.
It may or may not involve flying.
(o.k. it does)

Flying necessitates a variety of things these days. Itty bitty toiletries bottles and an appropriately sized carry on to name a few. I am way to cheap to pay to check a bag.
Enter this pretty little number. (pattern by
I thought making it might be the death of me and my passion for sewing.
But I did have a few moments where I just had to WALK AWAY.

I've never met a pattern that gave me so much trouble (not even a commercial pattern--and that's saying something).
I picked it because I saw this clutch my friend Jessica made. When I went to look at the clutch pattern, I saw that there was a "big" version. Like carry on bag measurements to a "t". And it was pretty cheap, why not give it a try? 

Jessica tried to warn me. But I'd already committed. Pattern and fabric bought, heart set. There was no going back.

The first problem? This is what they call a "sewer friendly pattern". (oh the irony!) Which means the directions are very limited--meant for experienced sewers who don't need all the "fluff". It's basically a series of photos with short captions. Not a huge deal since I've made so many bags and most are constructed similarly. So I figured I'd be fine.

And for the most part, I was. I honestly found myself putting this together on my own and not really referring to the pattern instructions at all. Which was good because what instructions were there weren't really complete or accurate.

The second problem was with the pattern itself. It didn't automatically print to scale. Nor was there a way to measure the scale. So I did my best to enlarge and assemble the pattern so I got something at least close to what the final measurements were supposed to be. Even so, I ended up having to cut down some pieces that were too large when I went to piece the actual thing together. And looking at my bag compared to theirs? I feel like mine is still smaller. I haven't had the heart to measure it.

It does leave me wondering why in the world I paid good money for this and I didn't just attempt to make my own knock-off pattern. Lesson learned.
On this pattern somewhere I swear they called it the 22 Pleat bag.  I counted 20 pleats on the pattern pieces. Maybe I missed something? Mine is a 24 Pleat bag though because I ended up having to add four additional pleats on the side panels just to make things fit.
I added two interior pockets with zippers. I figure one can never have too many zipper pockets in a bag like this. And since for some reason the pattern made the lining considerably smaller than the outside of the bag these pockets make good use of all that extra "between" space.

Because of the lining issue, I had to rip out the bottom seam and sew in a panel of extra fabric. That gave me a bit more room to pack in, thank goodness (curlygirl, you're a life saver, thanks for the tip!). But there is still a lot of wasted space. If I ever make this bag again, I'll make my own lining pattern.
I do love that big button though.
That was the selling point for me on this bag, silly as it seems.
I refuse to tell you how much that button cost. I had a bit of sticker shock. But it was the only 2 1/2" button they had at JoAnn's AND it was cheaper than the 2" button I was considering so at least there is that.

The Amy Butler fabric combination is another love.
Bought at, on sale, with a coupon code, free shipping and Ebates cash back.
So that makes up for the pricey button, right?
This is the part of the bag I am most proud of.
Since it is functioning for me as a travel bag I knew it needed more than just a magnetic snap closure.
So I set my mind to it and figured out how to add a zipper panel.

It's not perfect. I learned a lot in the process and would do several things differently next time.
But it works. And it will keep my things from escaping and rolling all over that overhead bin.

Now the test will be, how light can I pack?
I'm not known for packing the bare minimum. How can I possibly commit to only one pair of shoes for three days? Can I get away with wearing one pair of jeans? Only time will tell.


1 comment:

  1. You could wear burlap as long as this is on your arm. So beautiful!
    I had very similar problems with the smaller bag. My sister in law ordered this bigger version this weekend, so I'm hoping with my experience and your notes, I can make it a more positive experience. Thanks for linking up to me!