Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Gym Bag Tutorial - Get Your Workout ON In Style!

Alright here is the origin story of this sewing project. I'm sure you could tell by now I like using the word “totes”, as in the abbreviation for the word totally. I think it's freakin hilarious and so do my friends and so we use the word totes ironically and hilariously all the time.

When I started sewing all mi senoritas gave me spare fabric. My good friend’s mom (I'm friends with her too though) gave me two windbreakers/raincoats made out of nylon – one pink, one purple. The brand is called “The Totes Coat”. Anyways we found this label infinitely hilarious.

One day my friend and I were talking Pinterest and I asked her if there's anything she wanted me to make for her. She said that she wanted a gym bag. I said do you want me to make it out of your grandma’s raincoat? She said hells yeah! I said fuck yeah!
So what we did is trade some pins back and forth until she found a pattern she wanted. Luckily out of the options I gave her she chose an easy tutorial that had great pictures and instructions. It came from the blog The Ginger Monkey (I love this blog so much) and it was called The Jeni Gym Bag. And so it begins…. Here is my tutorial on how to make your very own gym bag.

Step #1:  The first thing I did was make a trial run version of the gym bag. I wanted to get a feel for how I was going to be sewing this bag before I started cutting into the limited amount of resources that were available from the raincoat (Plus my trail run bags went to some very grateful little girls). 
Here is my example of the practice gym bag. This was a brilliant idea to do a test run. I never tried the whole grommet thing before. And I learned how to avoid certain sloppy mistakes that could be made when creating the final the gym bag.

Step #2:  The next thing I did as was examine the raincoat and try to find inspiration. For example this picture shows a shoulder detail that I loved so much.  After carefully cutting it out I managed to sew it together. (Yes, those are pins. Don't tell anybody it'll ruin my rep). Anyways I sewed the two shoulders together and I was lucky enough to create a really cool looking front of the bag. Plus, because it was the shoulders, it sort of poof-ed out in a cool way.

Step #3:  Now let's address the grommets portion of this project for a moment. Left over from the Christmas ornaments project, I had some really heavy duty stuff…. I don't know what this stuff is called exactly…. I think it’s called interfacing? (Do you need me tell you what it is?) Anyways I used that interfacing to add dimension to the flimsy nylon before punching holes in it for the grommets.  Essentially I didn't want the grommets to rip through the nylon. I figured that using this heavyweight interface would be a great way to secure the grommets. Turns out I was right haters.

Step #3: With the exterior pieces done I moved onto the lining. Because it’s a gym bag I wanted functionality to be paramount above all else. As you can see from this picture I used the exterior pockets on the purple raincoat to be the lining on the inside of the gym bag. What could be better than a pocket for you to store your phone and other private objects inside your gym bag, right?

What Step are we on...again? I feel like this took longer than making the bag....
Step #4: Anyways, I added some additional features to the interior, lining of the bag. I used the buttonholes on the front of the raincoat over the pocket of the purple rain coat. What that created there is a clip for her to snap her keys to, or some portable hand sanitizer, hello!?

Step #5:  The other side of the interior, I flipped the rain shear, sewed a couple of lines up and bingo-bango you got some additional (albeit tiny) pockets.

Anyways I'll let you follow the tutorial online that I used (not this mess).  Here are my end results and I loved making this. It was so fun exploring on my own how to make something so pretty…. all the while using a really super helpful tutorial that guided me along the way!

(Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the finishes… I got some cool pink nylon rope to go through it and some clamps, I just didn't take a pic of it.... chill-lax mom.) 

Want to know what I learned making this adorbs gym bag? Well, here’s the breakdown: 

  • Maybe you noticed that the front of the bag in one of the pictures early on doesn't have buttons on the front of it …. Even though the finish product does. I'm not saying that this will happen to you…. but when you cut a hole into the nylon fabric you have to find a way to stitch it back together. I chose to cut out some buttons, stick them up through the holes, and sew them down. Deal with your mistakes, I had to. 
  • Working with nylon is super easy and it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. 
  • When working a project, just know that you're going to mess something up. There's no way around it. But try to limit the amount of mistakes you make. In my case, the back of the gym bag did not turn out how I wanted it look at all. But I managed to make it work and its fine – fineish… like fine adjacent. Fuck it, its functional.  Sometimes that's all you can hope for ladies, you know what I mean? 
  • Making pockets out of pockets is the shit.