Friday, 23 April 2010

Gorgeous Fabric

One of the things that has helped me get back on my feet again, after my emotional slump, has been the change in weather. The sun has a great effect on me. It always makes me smile when it comes out of hiding. I think having a sun shortage over the last 12 months has not helped my state of mind at all. Along with the sun has come a couple of nice days out with my friend Linda.

Linda is my partner in spending crime. We are a very bad influence on each other as we both adore fabric and yarn. Linda has really helped inspire me on my sewing adventures and some of the clothes she has made herself and her family, in the time I have known her, have me in awe. I've learnt a lot from just shopping with her and one of our latest excursions was to IKEA. I haven't been there in years as it requires a car to get to our nearest store. My other half HATES IKEA with a passion, so I haven't been able to persuade him that he might like a little jaunt up the motorway. I haven't been to IKEA since I started sewing, so I did not even think of it as a source of fabric inspiration. I was stunned by the range of furnishing weight fabric on offer in the store and the low price of it, especially when the standard of it was taken into account. There were some amazingly bright and beautiful fabrics but I fell head over heels with one fabric. It is this one:

It just screams Spring at me and I had to have some. I only bought a metre of the fabric but it had good width so I knew I would probably be able to get a bag out of it. And so I did. I spent two days with my nose to the sewing machine and came up with this.

This bag is enormous! It is a carpet bag style frame that keeps the top either open or closed, which is handy when rummaging around in its depths.

I used fusible fleece interface on the exterior fabric to give the bag structure and smooth out any edges. There is boning on the inside seams on either end of of the bag, which enables it to stand up on it's own. I used standard sew in interfacing on the lining of the bag, as the lining is just regular dress making weight cotton. I love the fresh colour of the lining and when the bag is open it makes me think of a yawning frog!

I got the fleece interface and the bag frame from U-Handbag. I cannot recommend this site enough. I ordered the fleece mid-afternoon and it arrived the next morning. Superb service! The other things I also got from this site were the plastic canvas to strengthen the base of the bag, the sliding buckle, clips, and rectangular rings. I bought the domed feet from Bags of Handles. I didn't buy all these items at the same time but they all came together brilliantly with this bag.

I decided with this bag to make two different handle types. The first would be fixed permanently to the bag and would be long enough to hold in the hand. These handles are also used to open and close the bag frame. The second handle is an adjustable strap that can be removed using clips. I made the strap by wrapping the fabric round some cotton webbing. This has given the strap strength and some padding. I can wear the bag from the shoulder or as a messenger style bag.

Aren't these clips and rectangular rings pretty?

I don't have much practice at adding feet to the base of handbags and unfortunately mine were a bit wonky and didn't line up with the marks I made - ooops!

Yup those dots were made in ink - lesson learnt! My salvation lies in the location of said feet - on the bottom.

The area of this bag I am most proud of is the lining. There was much sweating and cursing over the pockets I put in the bag, but they have worked brilliantly. It was worth all the hassle. I put in my first lining pocket in this bag using the brilliant (as always) Lisa Lam's tutorial. Once again I am sending you to U-Handbag - this site is the beginner bag maker's best friend.

Isn't it neat? I am very proud of this pocket. I am getting much better at zippers. I may actually try and put one in a skirt some time ;-) I decided to make this pocket waterproof. I did this using vinyl interfacing. It is brilliant if scary when you iron plastic onto fabric. I am so impressed with how this product works. It means I don't worry about a bottle of water leaking over my bag, or make up staining the lining. The pocket is quite shallow, but it is long and does take a 500ml bottle of water.

I decided to use the exterior fabric for this pocket as I knew it would be taking a greater weight than the rest of the lining. On the other side of the bag, I put in elastic topped pockets. These are designed to take my iPod Touch, mobile phone and purse.

I cannot begin to describe how nice it is to actually be able to find my purse in this bag! I had much fun with the elastic pulling the fabric out of shape. It was my first experience of sewing with it, since I made a petticoat at school. I have learnt several more lessons about using this stuff, the main one of which is to hold everything tight as you sew or it all runches up. I also put a tab with a clip on this part of the bag. This clip is for my keys which can also sit in a pocket along with my other stuff.

I have now used my bag for a couple of days out and when it is full it is quite heavy and cumbersome but I can find everything I want to instantly. It holds everything I want to for a day out and there is still room for a book or magazine as well, plus some odd small bits of shopping.

I am so happy with my bag, and it is perfect for the Spring, and hopefully into the Summer as well. I plan on taking it away on holiday with me as I think it will be perfect for days at the beach, especially with that waterproof pocket. The only thing missing now is the project bag to fit inside to hold my knitting ....... or is it? Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of CraftyCripple's Bag Blogging Bonanza!


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