A Wonky Bag to Make

I get Stitch magazine because I love the projects they include. Granted I have more with Post-Its tacked to the page than I could ever find the time to make, but I keep on getting each issue. Love it.

The last included this funky messenger bag with a big ol’ hole for carrying on your shoulder or a longer strap if you just want to use the hole as a decorative touch on the flap. Personally, I prefer the off-kilter variation and decided to give it a shot. With a few changes.

I didn’t like the way the strips were made, making you piece all sorts of things and decided I would do it a bit differently. I also didn’t particularly like the long strap and wanted to make it with a shorter, hand-carrying strap.

I figured with my new job I could really use a new bag to transport to my composition notebook, magazines, books to review, and, not any less importantly, my lunch. I have plenty of heavy weight fabrics to choose from; an obsession with upholstery fabrics has give  me a bit of a stockpile. I ended up picking this black and white wool pattern (how would you describe it?) and a cotton sheet in red, black and white for the lining fabric. Sure, not typical lining fabric, but I’m okay with that.

I traced out the pattern from Stitch (I love that they have them in there like Burda has for years) and took to it on my own accord. I can’t tell you whether or not the pattern instructions were any good because I never read them. Sorry.

The outside is just two pieces (the one with the hole) and a panel/gusset that makes the bottom and side. I didn’t want to do all the funky piecing along the side, so instead I did just a little quilt-as-you-go style piecing with some back silk dupioni along the left of the front. For a while I debated how to integrate some red into it. I found these cute vintage button and tacked them on there, but I’d like to add something else, maybe a little stitching in red? We’ll see.

Putting it all together only took an hour or so, but all the clipping and grading of seams and double stitching them really added to the time before I could flip it over to really see how it looked.

Despite pressing and re-pressing with steam, the lining and outer fabric where just not laying right, so I went in through the lining hole that I’d cut (I left the hole in the woven wool uncut until necessary and stay-stitched it before that) and did a bit of understitching as far along the flap seams as I could. This made a huge difference and suddenly the flaps were lying flat.

After flipping, pressing and pinning the lining to the outer fabric, I stitched the two together at the hole, trimmed out the hole and used a cute red, white and black alphabet print that I bought down during my visit to Ashland.

Today I’m finishing up the hand-stitching, sewing the trim fabric to the lining and securing the lining to the bottom of the bag (it annoys me when it tugs up with use.

I think I’m gonna like it. Maybe enough to make another–might be a good way to put a tiny dent in my upholstery fabric stash.

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