Good friend, Stephanie (@stephiepeterson) purchased this hat for Charlotte on a business trip to Washington DC, home of the new baby panda at the National Zoo.
I wanted to make her a bag so I stocked up on panda fabric and purchased the Dot-Dot-Dash pattern by Sara of Sew Sweetness.
Because I know you will ask, the super cute panda fabric is a home dec weight Japanese fabric called AnimaLand. I'm not sure where I purchased it, but you can find other colorways on Etsy. The lining print is Panda Bebe by Alexia Marcelle Abegg from the Black and White collection, spring 2016, for Cotton+ Steel. I really wanted to make that cute purple/chartreuse zipper work, but I ended up using a regular zipper.
First of all, I am by no means a proficient bag maker. So it makes total sense (ha!) that I would choose a bag that has SIX zippers, including two of them that are curved.
However, the thing about choosing one of Sara's patterns is that she quickly replies to email when you run into problems or just have some seemingly no-brainer question. Seriously. When I was ready to cut out the templates for the pattern pieces, the line was about 1/16" thick and I wondered whether to cut on the inside or outside of the line. So I emailed her and didn't even make me feel like it was a dumb question. And by the way, she said to cut on the outside of the line.
This bag requires a lot of cutting--fabric, lining, fusible interfacing and thick stabilizer (I used Annie's) and then quite a bit of fusing and basting the stabilizer to the pieces. That took an evening to complete.
Last Saturday, everything was labeled and I was ready to start sewing. I take my time with projects like this so I'd say I put in a good six to seven hours on Saturday. But it was all good. Mark was out of town and I had the house to myself so I just put on the Christmas music and slowly went through each step.
Sara's patterns are well written and well photographed.The front has three regular zippered pockets, which are straightforward if you have made any zippered pouches. And then came the two curvy pockets on the bottom of each corner.
In retrospect, it would have been much easier to use regular zippers for these as well. However...I had two super cute black and white polka dot zippers with the thicker teeth. They definitely increased the difficulty, but wow are they cute! And again, with the good photos, these were not nearly as difficult as I originally thought. The pocket here looks a little bumpy but I think that is due to the thicker zipper teeth.
I didn't have enough of the panda lining for the entire bag, so for the front zipper pockets I just used black and white polka dot.
Next came the adjustable shoulder strap. Having never made one of those, I was a little worried. However, again, with Sara's great instructions, it was easy-peasy, and I think I'm most thrilled with how professional-looking it turned out. And also that it actually adjusts like it should!
At this point, I was ready for the recessed zipper, also something I have never done, but I was tired and ready to call it a day.
When I finished it on Monday, the recessed zipper didn't turn out to be nearly as difficult as it looked.
I'm thrilled with this bag, along with the new skills I learned.
And now Levi and Gabe have both put in their request for a bag. I think I'm ready to tackle pretty much anything, including the cool cork and sparkly vinyl that Sara carries in her shop. :)