I’ve not been hugely productive in the sewing department the last couple of weeks. Tinkering and playing with my new machine has distracted me from actually achieving much.
I have had another bag on the go though.
A while ago I saw that Elizabeth from Oh Fransson had a pattern sale (40% off don’t you know). so I wasted no time in buying her Perfect Quilted Tote and Perfect Zip Bag patterns (because everyone needs a good pattern for zip pouches).
I love the look of the quilted tote and I often find myself needing a nice shopping bag. Most of the jute shopping bags I own seem to have really long handles, so they end up dragging on the floor (I’m short, me). So I decided this would fill a gap in my bag collection.
Rather than doing the scrappy quilted panel as shown in the pattern I used two improv blocks I made recently in a fit of creativity. I loved making these blocks – diving into the scrap draw, no measuring needed. I’m not sure I quite nailed the vortex effect but I’m really pleased with them.
Straying from the bag pattern meant some working out in order to get things in the right place. I really should have put my block further up so it didn’t get so lost in the bottom of the bag (I have lots of annoying little issues with this bag – read on!) .
The pattern it’s self is great, very well laid out, clear photos and very good sewing instructions with a huge introduction about types of fabric to choose. My only niggle is the way it’s laid out – there are 2 styles of totes to make and I was making the second one on the pattern. The entire process of how to make the bag is only listed on the first tote, so I had to keep jumping back up to the first page to try and find the relevant bit and not get muddled between the two sizes.
It all came together really well. I had a few tension teething troubles with my new machine, so my straight line quilting isn’t as nice as it could have been but I guess that’s the new machine learning curve for you.
Finally you sew a facing piece to finish off the top of the bag. This encases the handles and the rough edges of the body and lining. I got a bit cross with it all, as it was just plain fiddly and didn’t end up looking as good as other methods I’ve used. The facing piece does create a nice look though – if I could get it on with out lots of puckering!
The final instruction was to top stitch along the inside of the facing. This meant that these stitches then show on the outside – and mess up your carefully sewn quilting lines. This seems like a strange over-sight in an otherwise lovely pattern.
I considered stopping and switching to invisible thread for this (the pattern also suggests you can hand-stitch this final bit) but as it was 5.30pm on a Sunday night – dinner and homework were calling and I just hoped that somehow my top stitching would magically match up with my quilting lines. They didn’t! but it wasn’t bad.
It’s annoying to end a project feeling slightly frustrated with the finish. My inside pocket (which was a much easier slip-pocket than the paneled zip-affair in the pattern) was too high as well – because I forgot to factor in the facing around the top of the bag.
I spent the evening toying with the idea of taking it all apart and fixing the pocket and re-sewing the facing but decided that it was better just to move on. After all one of it’s potential uses is for carting stuff around on the school run . So really no need to be perfect. But perfect is nice sometimes isn’t it?
I must move on to some Christmas gift sewing and to tackle some of those ‘Perfect’ Zip bags I mentioned earlier.
Here’s my bag in action on the school run this morning.