Friday, May 31, 2013

I'm a bag lady!

I never thought I would say those words, but it's true. After the nightmare experience of making the infamous Weekender bag, I decided to stick with what I know and love, making quilts.

But I'm leaving today to visit my friend, who has just retired. She is going to a quilt retreat later in the summer, and I decided that Elizabeth Hartman's sewing circle tote would be a nice gift.

I'll start by saying that this is a fabulous pattern. It is well-written and well-illustrated with photos. It is not something that you will complete in a day. Well, I couldn't have done it in a day. There is a lot of cutting. But once the sewing started, I just took it slow and easy.

I chose Robert Kaufman essex linen blend in denim, and a stack of Denyse Schmidt fat quarters--the ones that were released in Australia, not here in the States, so I had been saving them for something special. For the inside lining, I used "McCall's Easy Sewing Guide" by Windham.

I learned a lot of new skills. There are four exterior pockets. I decided to choose the quilt-as-you-go option because I had never done it before.
  It was really fun and I'll be trying that again soon.

Inside, there are three zippered pockets, two small and one large,
 and five elasticized pockets.

Excuse my picture overload there, but I couldn't believe how well they turned out!
Wonder clips were invaluable. If you don't have any of these, consider getting them. They work for SO much more than binding. They are flat on the bottom, with good gripping teeth. I might not have hated the Weekender quite so much if I had had Wonder clips.

There is a lot of very bulky sewing. Elizabeth uses duck cloth for stability, as well as fusible interfacing. A couple of times my needle must have bowed just a little when going through all the thickness, and I got this message.
So I just hand cranked for a couple of stitches and things were fine.

I couldn't believe my lack of frustration with sewing this bag. But really, just going slowly and following the directions made sewing this bag a very good experience. Everything fit together just perfectly.

I'll warn you--it uses a lot of thread. I think I went through five bobbins! Is there anything I would change? Yes. I would follow Elizabeth's instructions completely. She mentions that it's a good idea to zigzag all around the pieces of duck cloth because they tend to fray. I was anxious to get to the fun stuff, and zigzagging around duck cloth was kind of boring, so when it came to the last pieces, which were long and narrow, I just skipped that step. Next time I'll zigzag around all the pieces.

I'm completely thrilled with this sewing tote. It's beautiful and well done. I give Elizabeth a lot of credit for that. I have gained some valuable new skills that I'm anxious to use again. Let's just say that I don't think zippered pouches will freak me out any longer.
I celebrated when I was done.
Oh, and I added this on the inside. :)

And here's another first. I get to link up to Amanda Jean's finish-it-up-Friday and at Lucy's who is hosting TGIFF. Woohoo!




44 comments:

  1. Love, love, love! I am more of a bag pattern lady, myself. Lots of patterns, not so many actual bags. But you've inspired me!

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  2. So lovely! What a delightful gift.

    Are your quilts-in-progess displaying any jealous behaviors due to the lack of attention?

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  4. wow, absolutely gorgeous!!! love all those pockets.

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  5. That lining fabric is adorable!!!

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  6. This is sooo wonderfully done Cindy!!! Can you make me one too? hehehe just kidding

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  7. It's fabulous! I may have to make one...

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  8. Wow. Impressed. I just bought her totes pattern which is also very well written.

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  9. Way to go, bag lady! Fantastic bag! Doll clothes next? ;)

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  10. The pockets are what makes this bag wonderful! I love pockets...

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  11. Just awesome Cindy - you deserve to be proud of that beautiful bag.

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  12. The bag looks so great I want one now too I saw it a couple of months back but yours look absolutely amazing.

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  13. You have made amazing bag! Looks beautiful, practical, great pattern and adorable fabrics! I hope to make one, too! x Teje

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  14. What a cute bag...your friend should be giddy receiving this.

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  15. Congratulations on a great finish! I am still an advocate for slow sewing! You probably enjoyed it so much because you took your time!

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  16. Cindy! Your bag is wonderful! I enjoyed reading the post about your experience making it. 5 bobbins is a lot of thread! That's half a quilts' worth. But it was well worth it. The bag will make a fabulous gift for your friend. I hope you have a fabulous trip! Can't wait for your trip to MN. Eeeee!

    Thanks for linking up to finish it up Friday! xoxo

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  17. Your bag is beautiful and I love the lining! The pieced sections on the outside go so well with the linen!

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  18. What a great gift for your friend. I'm envious of her retirement though! The lining you chose is precious. I love the fabric and couldn't think what to do with it. Nice idea.

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  19. You did SUCH a beautiful job, Cindy! Wow - gorgeous.

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  20. That must be one of the fanciest handmade bags I've ever seen. Good for you for making it! and gifting it to a friend. Hope you enjoy your visit together.

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  21. It really looks fabulous. I'm glad you stuck with it.

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  22. Great result and it perfect for equipment and will make an amazing gift!

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  23. What a great accomplishment! Looks fabulous!

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  24. absolutely amazing. Gorgeous bag which will be treasured for sure!

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  25. Cindy what an incredible bag lady you are!! I am agape! It is stunning. The fabrics are so perfect and the qayg looks amazing. I'm in love!!

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  26. Really love your bag especially the QAYG pockets and that lining is so cute!

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  27. Awesome! I H-A-T-E- sewing bags!!!! Some people love doing this, and that makes me happy, because if I whine just enough, they make me the bag I want. HA! I made the Professional bag (don't remember the pattern maker) for my son's Japanese mother-in-law and it took me THREE days to do. OMG! The first day was reading the loooong instructions and cutting ouy the millions of parts (okay, hundreds, but it seemed like more) Days two and three were spent, like you, slowly sewing pieces-parts into various bigger pieces-parts with zips, clips, elastic, magnets and velcro. Yipes! It turned out beautifully beause I was so anal about following the instructions, too. Wish I could find the photo...I think it's on my other computer.
    Anyhoo, yours is awesome. Now , let's get back to comfort sewing...quilts!

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  28. It looks fab, love all the wee details, and well done for getting over your bag phobia :o)

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  29. I know I should be ooing and aweing over the gorgeous bag...I am really, but that lining fabric is to die for! Well done you not only on the sewing but the fabric choices! You have a lucky friend

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  30. I am starting to get into purses and tote bags. Yours is amazing. I put the pockets int he inside, but the elastic pocket style..that is great! I'll give that one a try on my next tote! Thanks for the idea!

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  31. Oh it look so nice! I have not braved totes or bags..... I really want to but they scare me a little.

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  32. Beautiful bag, and I love the pockets and that inside fabric. Excellent. Hope you had a good time--we'll have to catch up soon!

    E.

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  33. You are so clever! Beautiful job you did. I've never made a bag ( hanging head in shame )

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  34. This is a fantastic bag! I love it :)

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  35. So much love in just one bag!
    Quilt as you go! Zippers! Elasticized pockets!
    Plus some EXTREMELY cool fabric.
    You are one fabulous friend.

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  36. THat is a great bag! Don't you just love the Essex? You did a wonderful job on it .....lucky friend!

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  38. Your bag turned out so great! I love it. You should be proud of yourself! I love wonder clips, too. I think slow and careful is the way to go. :-) I bet your friend loved it!

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