Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Jennie Bag


Sigh…. I’ve been missing sewing. There is a overwhelming pattern in my life, typically-cyclically-annually, this time of year gets for real-real cray-cray. This was the first summer that I decided to no longer ignore the signs the universe was sending me and decided to free up my schedule accordingly. Anyways, even though it has worked out for my benefit, my sewing time as suffered. For shame, I know....

I've got a girlfriend who had a birthday. She is just like another friend of mine, Jennie. Jennie loved her Cargo Pants Bag and so I decided to make another one for this girl for her birthday gift.

I’m gonna break for sec and give you a heads up. This sewing project was difficult… not sure why. Maybe it was my over-confidence, maybe it was creating it in two different locations, maybe it was the weird fabric choices, maybe it was the stress of trying to adapt something new, or maybe it was just a weird confluence of all those things. Here is the thing, making something, anything, be it crafts or art, is so strangely therapeutic. Even after all of these years you’d think I’d learned that by now but the weird thing is that I don’t think you ever truly learn that lesson. I think every arts/crafts experience is unique. I am telling you this is because there is something about creating in the face of obstacles. I guess what I love is when you complete a project, maybe it didn’t turn out how you like but it always will be a product of the journey.

Anywho, this post is how I took a project I have already made and remade it into something new. So I wanted to make a purse for my friend’s birthday. Well I haven’t done anything for LITERALLY weeks. My mom and I had a scheduled hang out sess so I brought my sewing machine and some gifted cargo pants. My mom needed to hit up Joann’s this week super sale and I needed liner fabric so we headed on over. OMG I found the CUTIEST light corduroy fabric in the trash (discount) bin. We got back home I started cutting into the cargo pants.




I did what I am always preaching in here, you gotta envision the project. I looked at my available material, found objects (like pockets) that I wanted to use, measured stuff out, and use my imagination to picture how it will turn out. I think this is a critical step. This time with the front flap I wanted to cut out two pieces for it instead of the recommended one piece. This isn’t necessary but I had an idea after doing the first one that I wanted to try this time. I think the Noodlehead lady said make your front flap 12” long, so what I did is make a 2 ½“ strip and then a 10” front flap. I wanted the strip to match the dimensions of the side gussets and I wanted to sew a closure into the seam between the two. Just trust me, you’ll see it later. Anyways, cut out the rest of your pieces you silly goose.







Don’t forget to add your pockets to the liner if you want one. Speaking of pockets, this is something I thought of doing the last time I was working on this pattern. Why settle for just ONE exterior pocket on the flap, why not side a pocket right into the front of it!?!? So I used two cargo pants for this project, a dark blue and brown. So I used the back pocket of the brown pants on the outside front of the bag. Que Cute, no?



Okay, my closure talk, I’ll try to be as short as Peter Dinklage in a pissing contest. I have no idea how to do this, you’d think I’d be representative to my generation and google how to do one of these latches. But… I wouldn’t be your maverick seamster if I didn’t learn how to do it through trial and error. To get to the point, I should have used the button on the brown pants instead of the hook closure on the blue ones. A button would have been reversible…. If that makes sense. Anyways, as you can see below, I decided it to do it this way after trying to test it as much as possible using the pre-sewn frame of the bag. What ended up happening is that the hooks don’t work because at some angle (either the flap being up or down) the hooks slipped out… thus rendering them superfluous. Definitely, definitely use the button closure instead.




So.. this next part is embarrassing. I have been researching binding, dreaming about it at night. You’d think I'd have it down, but this project made me realize that a little bit more practice wouldn’t be the worst thing. But it wasn’t bad overall - in fact I learned something. I ripped a 2” strip from the linear fabric and hemmed one side of it, then sewed the hemmed side to the front flap. Here’s the thing, this 2” strip was WAY too big for binding, so I winged it. I folded the binding back over the front flap and sewed it down to accommodate for the extra room. It worked out okay, I tried to sew back over my first set of stiches but….. well, not my best work forsure. I have to say though, I kindof love this “new” method (I say “new” because I’m sure someone already invited this) BECAUSE it could look cool if you knew what you are doing… but just because mine looks janky doesn’t mean it has to be. Sorry to all the perfectionists, what you are about to see might give you some anxiety.







So here is how the latch turned out… hmm, mmm. Very cute. Just wait till next time, I’m gonna git it RIGHT gurl! Love that front pocket – note the belt loop turned into a clip hook – how yooouu doing clip hook?









This was a labor of love; let's spill some tea:


  • YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FINISH THE PROJECT ONCE YOU START THE PROJECT! Why haven’t I learned this yet? I lost valuable hours of much needed beauty sleep cause of this project.
  • Google “sewing tutorials, how to sew closures”
  • Start kickstarter funding project. Those bargain bins are calling my name…..
  • Does this post scream 70's or is just me?