Tuesday, April 21, 2009
About a month ago, my friend Leslie and I hit the Diggers Outlet for a morning of thriftshop recreation. One of the things I grabbed was (apparently) a tablecloth made from this fabric. It's a home-dec weight, maybe not quite upholstery weight, but kind of thick. It was pieced to make a large circle and clearly a home-sewn project. I used about a third of it making this bag. The brown cotton webbing was already in the house, though I didn't have enough to make the shoulder strap, too. I'll have to see if I can find more at one of the local fabric stores. I had multiple packs of black piping in my sewing cabinet, too, so didn't need to buy that, or make my own.
I used a pattern from Terrific Totes & Carryalls: 40 Bags to Sew for Shopping, Working, Hiking, Biking, and More , by Carol Parks. I check this one out of the library about once a year and haven't actually sewn something from it before. This bag is the small duffle.
The pattern instructions call for stiff interfacing on all the major pieces, which I skipped. I thought the fabric had enough structure. Now, I kind of wish I had used it. The pattern is not lined, though I'm considering making a lining and adding it. It just seems not quite complete without it.
Because this fabric has a directional pattern, I also modified the main section and large side pockets to have a seam in the center bottom. Otherwise, the elephants on the other side would be upside down.
The bag is about 14" long and calls for a 12" zipper. I wanted to finish last night and didn't want to run out on a zipper errand, so I substituted an 11" zipper I found in my sewing cabinet. It makes the opening a bit tight, so probably if I make another, I'll try to use a 14" zipper and really run it to the edges of the top.
One thing I would definitely do differently is make the handles a bit longer. I wonder if there was a typo in the book, because it said to use a 75" length of webbing, leave 20" loose for each handle, and attach the webbing in one long continuous loop, with the ends lapping at the bottom. 75" just wouldn't have done all that. Next time, I'll allow 85".
The other modification I'll make on any future versions is to attach D-rings with webbing sewn into the top end seams. The pattern instructions say to just sew the webbing onto the bag itself, but I think it would be stronger and more elegant to catch a loop of webbing into the seam.
Overall I'm very happy with this and can imagine making more bags along these lines.