Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sewing the retro satchel

Okay, if we assume that by 'this week' I meant 'next week' when I promised to show the latest sewing project, then we're still good. Here it is:

Yep, another child-sized hiking satchel (tutorial here).  I am telling you, these things never get old: they are just the right size even for an early reader or graphic novel, with a pouch in the back for snacks or pencils or both, and plenty of room left over for juice, more snacks, a notepad or sticker book, and a little stuffy or some toys for long car trips.  Or, you know, you could use them for storing treasures found on an actual hike.

This time I ran into sooo many problems though, mainly because I was feeling sewing-averse at the time.  For a start, I'd already given a bag made exclusively from the vintage bedspread I wanted to use for a main fabric to a friend of the girl I made it for, and my only other option was this super dark denim that kinda drabbed it down. 

Compensation: lining made from a mostly unstained cut from a very old linen tablecloth my mum hung onto long after it was stained beyond whitening and worn into holes to boot.

Thank you mum!  It's so washable and incredibly soft to the touch - perfect for a project like this. My young friend will never have trouble finding the last ladybug-shaped chocolate in the bottom of her bag.  Also, I managed to use more bedspread for the pocket, and, having tracked down a white button with holes from the button stash I was able to use matching embroidery thread to make a shank version for the loop closure that ties in more of the pink.

(side note for anybody thinking of using a similarly ancient textile: I had to double-seam the linen lining because the fibers were so weak by the time I got to them.)

You can see where I messed up a lot of the topstitching, having procrastinated on making this till two nights before the birthday, but worse than that was a huge problem with the flap.  I deviated from my pattern thinking I could make the bag roomier by putting on a longer flap, and for some reason - hysteria induced by exhaustion? - I thought it would be cool to make the back part of the flap out of more denim.  Once I'd gotten it all ready to sew on I noticed I would now have to put the button down on the bottom of the bag, so I had to stitch it into the usual place, a pointless long flap hanging down the back of the purse.

Well, I thought, maybe she could wear the bag backwards in crowded airports - this girl's dad is a pilot, so she travels a lot - as a kind of teaser to thwart pickpockets.

Then I had a better idea and stitched on a very basic heart with my very basic machine, and because it looked as bad as that sounds I handstitched on a very basic heart with more of the pink embroidery thread.

For once, I think more is more, don't you?  She liked it, anyway, so I call it a success.

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