Spotty Bag for me

So, I was good, I waited for the rest of Erin’s sewalong and I finished my spotty bag, which is my first/second (and I think it’s come out better than the second/first, apologies to the recipient of the other one).  I’m really pleased with the results!

Spotty Bag

Spotty Bag

It’s made from the same ikea fabric as my skirt so now I have even more things to brighten up the rainy days we keep having. There is some fabric left too, and I have plans for some of it…

I'm happy with my lining choice

I’m happy with my lining choice too

(I did take photo’s of my lining. I seem to have uploaded them to flickr then deleted them. Not sure how to get them on here, sigh. You could look at the Seamstress Erin design group if you wanted to see them. Plus there’s loads of other cool things made by other people too, so you might want to look at the group for that reason.)

The pattern is really easy to follow. Well, it is if you can read. I got into a real tizzy trying to work out how to construct the handle on my last Presido Purse and just did it my way. So this time I waited patiently for the sewalong only to find out that I had misread the instructions last time around.  I sewed my interfacing to my bag handle between the two dots, but along the sides, rather than around the ends. This made my main fabric handle thinner, so when I sewed the lining to it it was thinner and bulkier and wouldn’t turn. This time I realised my error from Erin’s clear photos on the sew along and did it correctly and it looked so much better.

Also, it helps not to assume that your lining fabric is the same width as your main fabric. Mine wasn’t and I didn’t buy enough. For both bags, I managed to squeeze one handle out despite that by laying the fabric flat rather than cutting on the fold. The other is cut in two pieces and seamed. You don’t notice the extra seam on this one as it’s on the inside. I suppose you could notice it on the other, as the lining fabric ended up being on the outside, but I haven’t had any complaints yet.

The piping was a new skill for me, I bought some ready made (I know there are lots of how to make piping tutorials around but I thought I’d stick to one new thing at a time) – there wasn’t a lot of colour choice but the royal blue works just great.  And it makes the whole bag look really professional, even though its not applied very evenly (in some places the tape of the piping is showing making the piping stand proud).  I found the piping quite easy to do (although I could clearly beneifit with some practise doing it more neatly), but it did make fitting the front and back panels to the sides a little trickier as it didn’t stretch. For me those seams, on both lining and outer and on both bags (which means I’ve kind of done that seam 8 times), have needed a fair bit of fabric manipulation as they didn’t seem to want to be the same size. I wished there was a notch in the middle of that curve to help match things up.  This time I ended up with some excess fabric on the side/bottom pieces that I couldn’t seem to get rid of, I managed to make a little tuck along my centre seam on both sides that I topstitched down so it doesn’t show. Theres a little tuck somewhere else on one side too but you’d only see it if you were looking for it On reflection maybe I would sew my piping to the side/bottom pieces next time, it might help as it would stop the piece I don’t want to stretch stretching rather than the stopping the piece I did want to stretch. Plus it would be easier to attatch along a straight edge. Except then I wouldn’t have been able to fudge my excess fabric away so easily if it had gone wrong. Oh well. Anyone else have this problem or is it just me?  Maybe my seam allowance is off or something.

I don't think my fold and tuck of exess fabric along the join line is noticable.

I don’t think my fold and tuck of exess fabric along the join line is noticable.

I’m super chuffed with this bag – it is bright and cheerful, stylish, looks proffessional is huge and holds loads. Now I know everyone says it’s huge, I’m a large bag kind of person and I assumed when I read those comments that they just weren’t, but even by my standards it’s huge.  I took some paperwork, 10 library books (mixed picture book/novel sizes) and a bottle of wine home in it without it feeling stuffed. It;s certainly a great take the kids book bags and lunches to school kind of bag.

I have a few niggles – which are construction rather than pattern related.

  • * I couldn’t get fabric on the ends of the zipper of the inside pocket to line up with the pieces above or below no matter what I did – but that’s just pride, I don’t notice it when I’m using it.
  • * The zip, which was found mysterious, brand new and unlabelled in my stash (possibly inherited, I have no idea why I would have bought it), is 4 inches too long and I would like it shorter but I can’t cut it because it’s metal so there you go – the price you pay for a free zip.
  • * I wish I’d attatched the inner and outer zips so they opened the same way, I didn’t think about that when making it, they don’t and it bugs me.
  • * The interfacing on the handle attatchments is poking out around where I sewed it on, grr. Not sure what I did wrong here.
  • * I just put piping along the side of the handle, which is a look I like, less keen that I left raw edges of piping, gah.
  • * I have one side lined up perfectly and the dot’s from the handle sit amazingly well on top (I cut the handle at 90 degrees to the grain to get that as it turns out my dots are on a rectangular rather than a square grid) – the other side is less well aligned and as a result the handle doesn’t fit as well.
  • * And it has a tendancy to slip of my shoulder, but that is more to do with my slopey shoulders than the bag design (don’t get me started on bra’s – large cup sizes and slopey shoulders are not a good combination).
  • Spot the difference (no pun intended).  One side was cut slightly skew and the handle doesn't line up as well.  (Oh and I did sew across my handle attatchments, but in a line above and below the spot rather than in a cross shape, hopefully still strong but looks better)

    Spot the difference (no pun intended). One side was cut slightly skew and the handle doesn’t line up as well. (Oh and I did sew across my handle attatchments, but in a line above and below the spot rather than in a cross shape, hopefully still strong but looks better with my fabric choice)

    But that said it’s definitely my most professional looking bag to date and I’ve learnt a lot from the pattern that I can transfer to my own make it up as you go patterns (piping, zipped pockets, curved zipped tops).  When I showed him the lining my husband said “You’re making things that don’t look like you made them” now. The finished bag has had compliments too and people are often surprised when I tell them that I made it.  Oh and it does go with my skirt and I don’t think it looks too much, I just don’t have a photo to prove it so you’ll have to trust me on that one.


    6 thoughts on “Spotty Bag for me

    1. That’s a properly cheery looking bag and I like your husband’s comment. I am definitely aiming for that. I haven’t attempted piping yet, it looks a bit fiddly. You did a great job!

    2. Thanks Philippa, properly cheery is what we need with all this rain. I find bags so much easier than clothes – no fitting! The piping wasn’t too bad actually and definitely worth the effort, go on, read Erin’s tutorial and give it a go, maybe try it on something with straight lines! I must say making it as well did look fiddly though.

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