Check out Part 1 of this review (the dress) HERE.
The gorgeous B6674 dress was kind of a long make for me, so I was ready to follow it with a quicker project. Enter the B6674 bag:
Looks simple enough, right?
In many ways it was, but this was my first foray into bag making (I have previously only made little zip pouches), so I think some of the things that would be second nature to a more experienced sewist didn’t come as naturally to me.
The outer shell was very straightforward, and I was impressed with how well the instructions explained how to sew in the side panels. That success was short lived, however, which brings us to…
That side seam bias tape! Augh! I’m not a total newbie with bias tape, but for some reason it was twisting and rippling. I followed all of the procedures in the instructions, pinned carefully, sewed slowly, and ironed everything. Where did I go wrong?
I understand this is not a pattern issue, and it is definitely a “me” issue. But any advice in this area would be appreciated!
The fabric I was using is an AWESOME home decor fabric from Alexander Henry Home called “Green Farmers Market.” I wasn’t sure if I had to add interfacing where specified in the instructions since it was already pretty heavy-weight. I went ahead and interfaced it anyway for good measure, since you can’t go wrong with stability for a bag that may end up holding heavy items.
Since the straps were also interfaced, when it came time to turn them right-side out, I encountered…
How in the world can I flip heavy, INTERFACED fabric when the straps are so skinny?! I was finagling with the first strap for about 40 minutes and had only managed to get half of the job done. So I grabbed my huge knitting needle (which I often use to help me turn things right-side out), and it wasn’t long before this happened:
(for those of you without a keen eye, yes – the knitting needle burst out of the end of the strap).
At this point, I had to take a break.
The next day, I felt refreshed and ready to go. I decided to make 2 brand new straps, slightly wider to make things easier on myself. I also sewed a piece of string into each end to help with turning (a tip I learned from Lindsey over at Inside the Hem).
It still wasn’t the easiest task, but I managed to get through it 🙂
At this point, I decided to stray from the pattern instructions, which said to wait until the end to add the straps. I decided to add them at this point, so that the stitches would be hidden underneath the lining fabric. With the straps attached, it was starting to look like a bag!
Sewing the lining was super easy, and I also decided to customize it with a pocket (also not in the original pattern).
After the lining was sewed to the facing (still not attached to the bag itself yet), I topstitched around the pocket you see in the photo above. Then, I also sewed a vertical line to split it into two sections. I sized it so my phone would fit perfectly in the smaller section, sitting vertically so it would be easier to grab when needed.
I love this added detail!
Fast forward to finishing the bag. I was able to insert the lining into the outer shell just fine, and added the bias tape around the top. It still rippled, but definitely not as much as the tape around the side seams.
It was just about time to do a happy dance when I got to…
As I went to “try on” the bag, something seemed off. It took a moment or two before I realized what I did.
Can you spot the problem?
Umm…I totally sewed the straps front-to-back instead of side-to-side! I considered leaving it (remember, I already finished the inner lining of the bag, and now the strap stitches were “trapped” inside), but having the bag like this would make it awkward to put on my shoulder and hard for me to add anything large to the bag.
I was frustrated once more, so took another break until the next day.
The thought of ripping open the top bias tape and lining enough to actually sew in the straps was disappointing. However, the thought of having exposed stitches on my clean lining was equally disappointing.
My final decision was to seam rip one side of each handle, and hand sew it into the correct place – making sure to hide my stitches so they won’t be visible on the inside of the bag. I was a bit concerned about the strength of my hand sewing, so I opted for a back-stitch which should hold the strap in place quite well.
If, down the road, the stitches start to come loose I can always revisit one of the other options to fix it.
The last step was to add something to the bottom of the bag for stability. The pattern calls for “cardboard,” which I think is too weak to stand up to whatever I end up placing in this thing (vegetables and produce?). Instead, my husband got his power tools and cut a piece of thick chipboard to fit.
I didn’t want to leave it as-is, so I cut a piece of the lining fabric one inch larger all around, as well as one that was just slightly smaller:
Then, I serged around the edge of the larger piece so the edges wouldn’t fray. I pinned the larger piece the smallest all around, folding in the corners first so they would be hidden.
Then, I hand-sewed around the whole thing with large basting stitches (no need for anything more complicated than that.
I kind of made up that method, so I’m sure there is a more “official” way to do it – but this worked for me!
The bag was finally finished, and I absolutely adore it!!
All of the problems I encountered were due to my own inexperience, so I think the pattern itself (and the instructions) were quite great!
When the bag was done I sent a photo to my mom who was OBSESSED, and told me that I should make a bunch to give away as gifts. If only she knew what I went through! LOL!
I can’t see myself making a “bunch,” but Mom – I think one of these may be in your future 🙂