Four years ago now, when Daughter No1 had finished her last year at University, walked away with a First in Surface Pattern Design, she gave me permission to use the pieces she designed for her Final Major Project, as well as countless sample pieces. I had no idea what to do with them at the time, cushions, bags… So they sat, folded in the stash. Then last year I found Helen’s Closet and her free pattern, the Granger Book Bag. I figured one of Daughter No1’s pieces would do just nicely if contrasted with a plain fabric.
So I started cutting out and then, for some reason, stopped and popped it all back in the stash. Something more interesting or pressing must have come up and I forgot all about it. It was rediscovered just before Christmas when I needed to clear that cupboard out so guests using the guest room had somewhere to put their clothes. I decided I’d finish that project this year. This month!
I finished cutting out, just needed the contrast pieces and the linings, so it didn’t take long. And the interfacing. Although Daughter no1’s fabric is a robust cotton, I wanted the bag to have more body, be slightly stiff. I dug out some of the sew-in canvas I have from the tailoring packs I buy, not needing nearly as much of that for a coat as all the rest of the interfacings!
In hindsight, I needn’t have used it on quite so many pieces, it made for a lot of bulk wneh folding and sewing layers together! I also wouldn’t have cut all the pieces from Daughter No1’s fabric as I did, as at least two of the pieces you will actually never see unless the bag is open. That’s because I chose to make view B with the flap.
Basically the pieces are all large square-ish rectangles and the construction should be quite simple, but I found myself constantly thinking, “there must be a better way of doing this” while I was working. The tabs are huge, and you basically fold half of the fabric all away, so they could be smaller to start and way less bulky to finish. Thank goodness I have a metal workhorse of a sewing machine, because it got real bulky!
There’s also a lot of measuring from sides, tops and bottoms to place things, like the pockets and bag flap. I’d have preferred to have had those marked on the pattern and I’d just tailor tack the placement lines. Also, this pattern is only in Imperial, so get out your conversion websites if, like me, you’re Metric. The fractions are not simplified, so there were a few cries of, 6/8ths?? How the hell do I measure 6/8ths – or 4/8ths? Until I engaged brain and realised that 6/8 was three quarters, and that I could measure! I’ve marked all measurements in the instructions in metric now, should I ever decide to make this again, along with suggestions of where and what to interface, and what sort of interfacing to use!
The bag is also rather deep, with a very long strap! On a shorty like me it’s going to look funny! I’ll reduce the depth next time and shorten the strap. Oh – the strap!! I didn’t have any metal sliders in my bag making stash that were the right width, so raided my vintage buckle box. I have 3 different buckles on this bag! I figure it works because of the print of the fabric, I really don’t think anyone will notice ordinarily unless they’re looking really closely. I had to go to the saddlers in town to get the strap finished, my machine drew the line at the thickness of all the layers to sew together, even with a 110 denim needle. So I got to break 2 needles with an industrial machine at the saddlers instead! Fun! Even they said it was really thick, and that’s after whacking it with a hammer! But at least I got it finished.
I’ll be using this to carry my stuff to the allotment this year. It’ll be filled with waterbottles and snacks and be a proper place to stash my keys, phone and sunnies when I’m working. That’s because I still don’t have a shed to hide it all in, but – one thing at a time, right? Now I need to decide what to use the other pieces for – not so sure I’ll be making this bag again in a rush!!