In knitting, we have an expression for starting project after project. We call it “startitist.” I have been guilty of startitist many, many times. I’ll see a project in a knitting magazine, or online and fall in love. It was especially bad when I worked for a yarn store. We’d get new yarn in, often with accompanying pattern books, and I’d be off starting a new project. I counted them up one time and I had somewhere in the neighborhood of six projects going. It actually could have been more, but I’m not owning up to more than six.
But now that I’m not working at the yarn store, and I’m not even knitting that much, the startitist isn’t so compelling. I’ve found with sewing projects, it’s a little easier to be monogamous. Maybe it’s because they don’t take as long either. At any rate I did get started and I was even able to complete this messenger bag. I am very proud of myself because it’s even completely finished. I admit, I’ll get the project to the state of completeness, that it can be used, and maybe not get the buttons sewed on, or the lining put in, or… you fill in the blank.
But this bag is done! I enjoyed it, well, mostly. A few comments and a critique of it, helps me to decide if I want to ever make it again. So here are some stats and a bit of comments on my sewing abilities too.
First of all, I pretty much like the pattern as written and laid out, but I did make a couple of changes. The pattern was a Green Pepper pattern, number F875, called Oregon Trail Messenger Bag. Finished size is 9″ high, 12″ wide by 5″ deep. The fabric used was Levi Strauss denim I got from a rummage sale. These were pieces that were going to become jeans, but never quite made it to that stage of production. I just cut open the “leg,” and treated it like any other fabric.
There were a few modifications that I made to the bag. The way the pattern was laid out, was the flap, back and bottom were all one piece. That made it difficult to make the flap a different fabric (which I wanted). So I pieced the flap fabric onto it, and it worked fine. The other major modification was that I ended up cutting off the piece for the bottom. It was just too difficult to try and sew the sides to the bottom the way they wanted. The other thing I did, was I put a interfacing in, because I felt it wouldn’t have enough structure.
For the lining I used a cotton fabric print with dragons. I love the lining. I also turned the simple pocket that velcroed onto the inside back into a zippered pocket, so it have more of a divided interior.
A few of things I learned:
When they call the interfacing “ultra firm” what they really mean is it will be “built like a brick sh*thouse” and you need to trim it to inside the seam allowance, or it’s too thick to sew.
If you put a hot iron on said interfacing, it will melt, as will nylon webbing.
Zippers aren’t that hard, if you do them the way they say and put your needle right up next to the zipper foot.
It’s ok to fudge it a little. The narrower webbing used for the buckles is fine for the strap too.
I’d sew the side straps onto the side pieces before I sew it to the front piece. It was pretty fiddly to do it after.
It’s pretty hard to break a needle on a serger, but it can be done.
I’m a bit dyslexic when it comes to putting together a sliding strap adjuster, but after fiddling for half an hour, I’ll come across a way to make it work.
For a next project I’m thinking about a pieced tote, because, well I have all this denim to use up.