I was asked by Shona to make her a bag using recycled denim with an appliqued butterfly on the flap for decoration. I was given a sketch with dimensions and having looked at several patterns we decided to try the Genevieve bag pattern from Chris W Designs as it best matched the size and shape she wanted, and has an adjustable shoulder strap. We chose the regular flap without piping.
My first concern was getting enough denim fabric out of the two pair of jeans I was given, as they had lots of pockets down the legs, like cargo pants. It became obvious that I would have to piece it in three strips to get the width needed. I played around with it to get the front pocket stripes the opposite way round to the front of the bag, and top-stitched all the seams.
You can see my pieced pocket piece lying on top of the pieced front of the bag, giving a checkerboard effect. I was also given a piece of cotton print to use as the lining, and again there was not quite enough so I am using this coordinating plain turquoise cotton for the inside of the zipper pocket, and the slip pockets.
With the flap assembled I could get on with my butterfly applique. I am using pieces from the lining with some coordinating fabrics from my stash. I applied the pieces with Bondaweb (a.k.a. WonderUnder) and used a narrow zig-zag stitch on the raw edges to fix it in place. I centered my butterfly design on the flap, but I forgot to allow for the fact the top of the flap curves over the top of the bag, so the Butterfly could/should have been a little lower to look centred on the finished bag.
I decided to add some hand embroidery. I chose an assortment of stranded cottons (DMC green 703, dark green 3051, and Anchor yellow 745 and blue 850). I used 3 strands and a hand embroidery needle. The stitches are; Blanket, Chain, Whipped Back stitch, Whipped Blanket stitch, French and Colonial knots. I like the effect on the wings, not so sure about the body.
I used a denim needle (size 100/16) and Gutermann All-Purpose thread. I believe in using all the help I can get, so I used my Janome's 1/4" seam foot for the 1/4" seams and top-stitching, then switched to my stitch-in-the-ditch foot to do the 1/8" top-stitching. Shona is tall so had requested a longer strap (50") which I also had to piece together to get the length. Again I alternated dark and light for a chequered effect.
When I stitched the lining together I changed to a Universal Needle (size 80/12) and again switched feet according to what width seam I was sewing. When it came to dividing up the slip pockets I decided to shorten the pen pocket as my frixion pen disappeared down inside!
I found this dark green zipper for the zipped pocket, and fitted it using my Universal Adjustable Zipper foot. You can see the plain turquoise fabric inside of the pocket. I must admit, if I made this bag for me I would have to make the zipped pocket deeper for my purse. It is a big lump and is best sitting on the bottom of the bag, it would drag the side of the bag down in this pocket.
Here is the outer bag all pieced together, but then I hit a snag. I had made the strap for 1 1/4" rings and slider, then had trouble sourcing them as here we tend to have 1" or 1 1/2" rings. However Alison at bobbingirl.co.uk came to my rescue and got me exactly what I wanted, though we had to wait for them to arrive. The lining fabric is so Art Deco!
So here is the bag outer, lining, strap and strap tabs, all waiting for the rectangle rings and slider before I can finish it. But hang on, I still have the Base piece, un-used?!? I read through the instructions again and still couldn't spot where I was supposed to have added it. So I asked Christine and she said see page 17 and I realised I had missed it in step 6c. I duly highlighted for another time. Sadly it should have been under all that quilting on the outer bag's base. Ooops, can't add it there now.
So I applied it to the Lining's base instead. As I had used a piece of Vilene V240 extra firm sew-in interfacing I couldn't fuse it in place, instead I cut a piece of fusible woven interfacing (Vilene G700) adding 1/4" round the edges. I popped this over the centred base piece and fused it on. I did the 'stitch in the ditch' across the centre seam from the right side, then stitched it into the seam allowance on either side of the gusset too. Hopefully that will be okay.
While waiting for the hardware to come, I asked Shona if she would like me to fit a key fob of some kind; either 1) a strap with a hook, 2) a strap with a ring, or 3) a magnetic key fob. She opted for a strap with a hook, so I ran this one up out of the lining fabric and fit a 1/2" lobster clasp. I basted it in place on the gusset, butted up to the back of the bag so it will lie just behind the strap tab.
Once the shiny nickel rectangle rings and matching strap slider arrived it didn't take long to add them to the tabs and strap, then finish them off with matching shiny rivets. Despite the strap being thick the slider does work. (The arrow points to where the key fob is fitted, behind the strap tab).
It is a big bag, I stuffed two of my cardigans in it with room to spare! The recycled denim makes the bag soft and slouchy, but will stand up by itself once it has something in it.
I hope she is pleased with it, it is full of subtle details; the big curves, checkerboard piecing, quilted base, top-stitching, applique and hand embroidery.