Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bag of Tricks

Remember the contest I held for Halloween?  Erm.  Well, my personal life kind of hit the fan (and is still actively hitting the fan, but that's a story for another day) and there was a huge delay in getting the prizes made (apologies once again to C Girl and Melody Brown).  Well, I have learned my lesson; if I do this again next year (which I plan to), I will either buy prizes or have them made before the contest ends.

Top view
Anyway.  This is the first prize, which C Girl won for being the first person to answer correctly.  Simplicity 2274 features an overnight bag, clutch, and luggage tag.  C Girl's prize was the overnight bag.

I had Dem Bones by Carol Elridge (in green and purple) sitting around in my stash, waiting for a project perfect for it.  C Girl and I thought this would do quite nicely; we planned on purple for the outside and green for the lining.  I laid out the pattern on the fabric and... I discovered I did not have enough.  I tried all the twists and tricks I know, but I could not get the pattern to squeeze into the smaller fabric without separating the pattern pieces.  The main body (top, long sides and bottom) is all supposed to be one piece.  I split that one piece into a top, sides, and a bottom.  I then did all the sides in purple and the top and bottom in green.  The front pocket is in purple and the side pockets (the pattern called for one, but I did two) is in green.  I found a fun, sparkly bat print at JoAnn's that mostly matched and used that for the lining and handles.

Side view with zippered pocket
Standard garment zippers were called for in this pattern.  While I did use those for the side pockets, I am always antsy about using those flimsy things for something that is opened frequently and takes a lot of stress.  So for the main zipper, I used a separating one instead, and just stitched the end together so it couldn't open all the way.  I couldn't find one in purple, so I went with classic black.

To give the bag shape, the pattern calls for quilt batting.  That's all well and good, but there was no interfacing at all in this pattern.  I reinforced the bottom anyway; I've made bags like this in the past, and it is utterly necessary.

Side view, sagging disturbingly
Speaking of bags that I have made in the past, I have noticed a trend for patterns to call for exposed seams on the inside.  (You sandwich the batting between the outer fabric and the lining.)  The instructions generously "allow" you to finish those seams if you choose.  Pfft.  An example of this is Simplicity 2713 (out of print - get it while you can), a diaper bag.  (An aside: I have made this pattern four times, and only once was it for a diaper bag.  That was the first time, for my new-born nephew in a Beatrix Potter print.  The second was for my now-deceased grandmother in a lavender rose print to use for her knitting.  The third was for my mother, in a print called "Caffeinated Kitties"; it holds her needlework.  Lastly, I made one for me in a spider print.  This holds my much-neglected crochet.)

Returning from my wild tangent about diaper bags, I have gone ahead and left exposed seams if it was something I was making for myself and in a hurry, I would never do that for someone else.  So with those aforementioned diaper bags and this overnight bag, I sewed the batting to the outer fabric and sewed the lining separately.  You have to be careful when sewing batting, because it likes to get caught in the feed dogs and presser foot.  To join the lining to the outer part, I sewed the seams together on the inside.  I had to leave an open seam - I picked one at the top that had to be hand-stitched closed, but it was in the lining and didn't show.

So, is it fair to call this a pattern review?  I only kind of used the pattern and only kind of used the instructions.  If I had followed the instructions and had enough fabric, the project would have been much easier, but I couldn't stand for those exposed seams.  If that doesn't bother you, then the only bit that's difficult is the side pockets.  Due to the way the zipper is installed and the pleats, It's trickier to do than it appears.  Machines with weak motors might have some difficulty getting through the layers of batting.  So if your machine is strong enough and you don't mind exposed seams, then this is a good pattern for a beginner.  If the seams bother you, then I would bump the difficulty level up to advanced beginner or intermediate.


  1. This is too big for what I'd consider an overnight bag, I took it with me to MN over Christmas. It worked great! Thanks so much

    1. Glad you found it to be useful, and you're welcome.