Once more with feeling

December 24, 2011

Hey peeps! Happy holidays- whichever ones you celebrate.

I’m a freelancer, and for some reason work has really picked up recently. This is, as Martha would say, a good thing. But dude, my apartment is a pigsty. I try to keep it at least reasonably tidy, and I’ve failed even my own modest expectations. But today, I am taking off. I’ve cleaned the living room, so I deserve a blogging break, right?

Anyway, I made another bag. Naturally I couldn’t resist making improvements on the original, which I assumed would be big enough to carry groceries. It turned out more like a purse or knitting project-sized bag. So I drew out a plan to make the new bag bigger. (No way could I keep all this stuff in my head at once).

The pattern called for folding the handle fabric approximately a bazillion times before sewing it down, making the aforementioned Wad O’ Fabric, which my vintage sewing machine flat-out refused to attach to the bag proper, necessitating some ugly hand sewing. So I fudged the folding to make handles that were wider and less bulky.

Because you want to stay friends with your sewing machine.

The new handles were flat enough that the machine didn’t balk at sewing them onto the bag.

Sturdiness is good.

I also wanted to finish the seams to prevent raveling. The three most common ways to do this are: using a serger (which of course I don’t have), zig-zagging them (which my machine doesn’t do), or (least effective), cutting the fabric with pinking shears. I thought about buying some pinking shears, but the things are surprisingly expensive. So I tried something different: french seams.I found instructions online. Basically, you 1) sew your two pieces of fabric with the insides facing, as if the bag were turned right side out, 2) trim the extra fabric, and 3)turn the bag wrong side out and sew another seam, forming a kind of pocket of fabric around the raw edges. It looks like this:

Neat, right?

Compared to the seams of the original bag:

Not seams you would want to count on in an emergency.

I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Now there's a bag that will tote a half gallon of milk, no problem.

And in case you were wondering, here’s the re-knitted hat.

You were on the edge of your seat, right?

I even added tassels before I packed it up and sent it off.

Now, back to the cleaning….