Saturday, 17 March 2012

My Beautiful Bag

The finished article!
I excitedly made my first Etsy purchase a few weeks ago. The purchase was not for a beautiful handmade item, but for the potential of a beautiful handmade item - sewing skills permitting. I’d been looking for a bag pattern for some time, and, there it was, waiting for me in StudioCherie’s shop: The Travel Duffle

Her listing said that the PDF would be emailed to me within 24 hours. I checked my email every 10 minutes for the first hour. I then calculated the time difference between here and the states, realized that it wasn’t, as feared, the middle of the night over there.  I then checked my email every 5 minutes. 12 checks later: you’ve got mail!

The excitement of the email’s arrival quickly turned “The Craft Zone” into chaos, as I emptied my fabric stash out onto the floor and, with the help of the dog, rooted around to find something beautiful. I settled on the crazy purple spot material – the one that I couldn’t quite bring myself to add to my friend’s toddler’s quilt (I shall still stick to my story that the pattern didn’t match the rest of the fabrics…) and cut out the pieces. For the lining I chose another of my favorites, pretty English roses, and started cutting away.

But then I became sad.

The pretty roses would be buried inside the bag, unseen, unadmired. But what I did have was some pink gingham fabric that I’d just bought for, yes, you’ve guessed it, my friend’s toddler’s quilt. Back to the cutting board.

Welly the Helpful...
The next week I set off to John Lewis on Oxford Street for the remaining supplies that I needed. I have very fond memories of trips there as a child with my mum; I’d come away clutching another furry toy kit and we’d spend many happy evenings sewing. So it was great to be back. I spent so much time admiring and stroking the Amy Butler and Cath Kidston fabrics that the staff started to give me funny looks. So on with the shopping. I was disappointed to find that they had no jute webbing and no batting. But undeterred and resourceful as ever (= impatient to crack on with the bag) I substituted some fleece and 2” wide cotton webbing that I planned to zigzag stitch together, and headed back home to the machine.

I’d decided to quilt diamonds, inspired by a rose quilt throw from my childhood. I won’t show a picture of my first attempt because it’s in the bin now, but once I’d found this tutorial on quilting diagonal lines, the smile was back on my face and I was unstoppable. 

Fiddly diamond quilting
The instructions were amazing, with great diagrams and clear step by step instructions. I was so proud of my creation I sent a picture to Cherie, who kindly added it to her StudioCherie blog.

As she points out, my bag doesn’t hold its shape like hers do, which in a way is a shame, because it was the shape of the bag that really caught my eye. But then I do quite like that mine’s a sort of floppy, lug-me-around-with-you-even-if-I’m-not-very-full type of bag.

I think I’ll make the next one with thicker batting. Well, I’ve got to do something with that pre-cut purple spotty material…

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