I find I need help to stay on top of my 'to do' list these days. I get so annoyed with myself when I go out with a list and mail and find them still in my bag when I get home! So I decided what I really needed was a bag with a clear exterior pocket that I could pop my lists and mail in, where I could see them and not forget them.
Now I could just use my trusty old Style pattern again, but I really want to move on, and after the experience of making the 'Quattro' I wanted to make a designer bag again! I started looking for a pattern I could use and found Chris's newest bag the "Stow-it-All" . I checked with her that I could use vinyl for the pockets on one side, then bought the pattern and downloaded it.
I have now finished the bag, which is beautiful, and I love it. It took me much too long to make as I had to;
Here are my clear vinyl pockets on the back of the bag. I used the vinyl doubled for strength, and divided it into two pockets in place of three. I used the lining fabric to bind the top edge in keeping with the front.
So now I am going to share my mistakes with you, so you can avoid making them, and also pass on a couple of tips you might find useful!
Number One - I quickly realised something was wrong, but I couldn't see what I had done. I sent an e-mail and a picture to Chris, who pointed out I had managed to tape the pattern pieces together the wrong way round! There is an exterior slip pocket A and an exterior slip pocket A lining. They both have a top and bottom piece and I managed to switch the bottom pieces. So make sure you double check you have got them the right way round!
Number Two - I don't have a local store for bag hardware, so I ordered it all on-line. I was excited at the thought of using a twist lock for the first time, and chose a nice oval shaped lock. What I didn't do was check the size. When it arrived it was huge, the twist lock was twice the size I needed. Everything involving the lock was put on hold until a new one, the right size, was posted out to me. So remember to check the size!
Number Three - Chris suggests using template plastic for the bag bottom, and bag feet. I had a piece of white Correx I thought would work well instead. Until I realised I would have to wrestle it through a small gap in the lining! Correx is rigid, not flexible at all and I panicked, worried I would break my stitches, or the correx! I carefully undid all the feet and washers and tape and took it out, and then turned the bag right side out and tried to fit it all back in again through that same gap. My other half took pity on me when he saw me struggling, and fitted it for me. Got to love that man! Template plastic or plastic canvas might be better for you!
The recessed zipper is so neat, the tabs are cute and I love all the polka dots!
So, aside from those three mistakes (which mainly slowed the whole process down) the making was straight forward and enjoyable! Chris's instructions are clear and easy to follow. The reason I originally got into using rivets was from reading a tutorial by Chris in her blog, so it was thanks to her that I was fully equipped and happy to use them on this bag!
Fabrics - I used two curtain fabrics by Clarke & Clarke for the exterior, 'Rosebud' in sage and 'Dotty' in rose. The lining was White on Pink 'Polka Dots' by Rose & Hubble. I decided to reverse my flap once I had made it, as I preferred the effect of the lining on the outside.
Interfacing - Christine suggests Pellon products which I can't get in the U.K. so I used;-
You can see the effect here. The the limp piece on the right is the lining fabric without any interfacing. The one in the middle has woven interfacing applied, and the one on the left has the non-woven interfacing as seen above. (Sorry the focus is a bit off). All from my usual supplier, Julia at Gone to Earth
Bag Base - I have ordered some plastic template sheets for my stock cupboard, but I note it is not very big. I used a piece of Correx for the base (plastic corrugated sheets, used for "For Sale" signs etc.) which I bought at my local patchwork shop. It was large enough to cover the base easily and it is a nice product to use, BUT IT IS RIGID, NOT FLEXIBLE AT ALL (see "mistakes" above!) but now it is in I am very happy with it!
Soft & Stable - I tend to avoid gussets wherever possible, and using Soft & Stable on a gusset can be awkward. I remember the first time I used it this way, to make my Butterfly Bag. So I have these tips to pass on;
When sewing Soft & Stable -
That's it. I'm loving my new bag already. You can see the inside here with the slip pockets on one side and a zipped one hidden on the other. I am so pleased with myself, I have come a long way in the past couple of years. Zippers are no problem any more, and I can do rivets. I would never have believed I could make such professional looking bag. I can't wait to start showing this one off! It's sooo pretty, and sooo practical. I have posted that letter now!