Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gorgeous new bag from "scraps"

It's maybe a bit of a stretch to call this a scraps project - it is made up of leftover bits of linen from my sister-in-laws quilt, but really the pieces I had left were quite large :)


This is the free Amy Butler Blossom Bag pattern, made up in Duckcloth linen (mostly Boardwalk in Peacock - doesn't seem to be on their site anymore so may be out of stock?).  I got the pattern from Sew Mama Sew, but I think it's available from a few places.

It's a pretty generous freebie - a large handbag or shoulder bag with magnetic snap and several divider compartments, one which is zip closed.


Note my impressive zip compartment above :) 


As you can see I made the interior a plain-ish dark teal cotton.  I really was using up what I had here so am pretty impressed with the results.  I had to slightly alter the handle construction so I could make each handle from two strips (as I didn't have enough of the linen to make both sides), and have the lining fabric was on the inside of the handles.

Similarly the end pieces were made up of other bits I had left over - this is a snippet of the Rose Peacock and Seaweed which just seemed to look nice.


Sadly on the other side, I mucked it up and fused the peltex to the side with the seaweed on it...no going back after doing that!  I used it anyway and already I don't especially notice, so it's all good :)


Now that I am over being so impressed with myself I guess I should talk a bit about what is good and bad in this pattern.  I guess the main bad is really also the good - it's a loooong pattern and quite complicated in construction.  This is not the bag you will whip up in an hour, and it's worth planning a bit before you start to work out what you have and what you might need.  While I have always found the fabric yardage required on Amy Butler patterns to be exceedingly generous, there are lots of bits to cut and if you are working with scraps or trying to fussy cut for a particular look, you need to plan it carefully.

I have to say I enjoyed the process and would probably make this again (with appropriate energy and mental awareness!).  When I tell people I made it they are quite surprised - even when they already know I sew stuff, because it's so detailed and substantial.

Some of the construction is pretty cute: 


However...there are a few downsides to this pattern.  Number one issue is the sheer thickness of layers to be sewn through at various points in the construction.  Peltex is seriously thick (this isn't really a criticism as it is needed for the substantialness I noted above as a benefit...) and at points there are 4 layers of peltex plus several layers of linen (the pattern calls for medium weight upholstery fabric so following direction wouldn't remove any thickness here I don't think).  I have a great Bernina 1130 which is a pretty awesome machine - I don't think many other machines in normal sewing rotation would handle these layers, and to be honest even the Bernina balked at the side pinched bits where you sew in the dividers.  So perhaps some caution or adjustment needed here!

I must have mucked up the handle construction as they look great when holding the bag but not so great when they fall down and expose the raw edges.  I suspect this is my bad, but I will have to go back and sew across the handle further up.


 So all up,  I love my new bag.  It is definitely gorgeous, definitely worth making and has definitely got me a whole bunch of complements :)  Importantly, it's also a great bag to use - sits on the shoulder nicely, has heaps of room inside without appearing oversized when on and easy to find stuff in.  If I could change anything (aside from getting an industrial sewing machine) I would add a small cell phone type pocket onto the lining inside, just to add to the many compartments, though I haven't missed it enough to really bother me.


So that's the back of that project (hahaha - I actually think I am funny).  Nice to make something for me and something so great looking from a free pattern and scraps - I even feel virtuous for using what I had to hand :)

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