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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and I write a monthly humour/sewing column for the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=barbara+emodi&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Abarbara+emodi

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Small big project

Bag and me on location at the Superstore parking lot

I am trying something new these days. 

My sewing time is constricted right now because I am trying to spend as much time as I can with the kids before school starts. 

Lots of days at my house, sleepovers (when are they going to invent a kid who waits until 8:00 a.m. to leap out of bed? not that I don't want to start projects before breakfast) and tea parties where we discuss moral issues and big ideas. 

My best of those tea parties this week involved explaining the concept of communicable diseases, specifically TB that had wiped out sections of both families only two generations ago, the role of sanitariums and cold air, the invention of antibiotics, as well as why some kids are mean at recess, the role of karma in the lives of kids who are mean at recess, not to mention extra ingredients that improve the taste of egg sandwiches (this is from the 5 year old who is an excellent cook), and why books for small children are funny but books for early readers are boring and always trying to teach moral or socially responsible lessons (like karma I guess) rather than being funny and interesting instead which is why more kids don't read more at the library's summer reading club.

This means I have had a lot less time to sew, not to mention that my entire mason jar collection has now been turned over to labeled jars of potion made of grass, water, dog food pellets, dried chipotle peppers, grapes from the vine around the window, quinoa and food colouring. 

That inventory and cleaning up after the witches went home seriously cut into the sewing time.

It also meant that I have had to reassert my focus, meaning I am trying something new these days and that is doing some sewing that will fill some gaps and what at the moment is my very real life.

I started with a little bag for myself, the Butterfly Sling, from Emmaline patterns - a wonderful, interesting pattern.

Garment sewing skills are not immediately transferable to bag sewing I can tell you. 

I found this bag pretty hard to figure out, spent a full afternoon folding a rectangle of fabric trying to make credit card slots for example, because I have no prior experience points of reference.

That said here is what I have learned about bag making as a new person doing this:

1. A lot depends on lots of interfacing. Different stuff like fusible thin batting and interfaced linings and yes, interfaced credit card slot pieces.

2. The pattern may tell you to trim away half of the interfacing from the seam allowances but you really need to trim the whole thing away from the seam IMO. Also cut out the corners and cut out the slot where the zipper will be sewn in. Trimming away a fusible fleece is not really possible to do after stitching well, I think - that interfacing needs not to be there in seam allowances if you want neat turns to the right side.

3. Hardware is the real secret, even if it is nerve wracking to install and involves things like glue and tiny screw drivers. A so so product like my first bag looks an awful lot better with real looking latches and bag type fasteners. Also learning how to use these new notions sort of makes a person feel as if she has expanded her world.

4. Find some good zippers. Right now I would kill to be living in the garment district and getting my hands on some Riri zippers. This pattern called for dress zippers and really since they are visible they are IMO design features and need to look sharper than this. Got to find myself a good online source.

5. The first one can be really rough while a person works it out. I learned enough here to know I want to do this pattern again and do it right.

OK enough talk here is the bag. Made in some scrap yellow denim and very much a rough and trial run version - now I have this figured out there will be more of these. My daughter who has good taste and as a result rarely asks me to make her one just like mom's has already ordered one.

This is a brilliant design and I have to say the pattern is beautifully written.

It has two zippered pockets with card slots inside (6 in each pocket) and a change zipper pocket a bill pocket, and a little ID window.

This whole unit folds in half (did I mention it is fleece interlined so is firm and soft) and is held in that way by two magnetic snaps and closed again with a strap with a turn latch.

the interior part of the bag opened

Oh and this is a cross body bag with a long, adjustable strap.

back view of the bag

I have to say this is fantastic, useful bag. It holds my phone safely ( have dropped this bag and due to the fleece nothing broke which is new for me, I can't remember the last time I owned an iPhone without a cracked screen), it has two great compartments for cards and stuff ( I am even thinking on my travels of having a US and Canadian side for my money) and is comfortable to wear.

I am feeling something just beginning here. 


BarbaraShowell said...

I think bag making is addictive because it's so satisfying. From your description of the topics at the tea party, it's obvious, to me at least, that you need to write an "early reader" book that will not be boring.

Kathie said...

Good morning! As always, loved this post...those grandkids are certainly very special. Your comments on bag making resonate with me. I have made many, but rarely really structured ones. I have found that Bunny's tips are very useful and I will be using them on my next bag making venture.

I searched her site just now with only "bag" in the search box. Here's the link


Thanks for all the effort you out into your posts, it is much appreciated!


elliemae28 said...

I'll have to check this pattern out. Looks really user friendly. Nice job! And cherish the time with your kiddos, they grow so fast.

garnet128 said...

Your bag is very nice. But, your grand-parenting skills are the best. Those kids will remember that stuff for life. You definitely have things in the proper order.

Kathleen Meadows said...

I just finished my first bag in 40 years! It was the Stowe bag by Grainline and Fringe. I made 2 large ones at the same time because I figured it wasn't that much extra work to 2 rather than 1 :) Hahahaha that was a miscalculation! One turned out and the other was a mess. By the time I finished I didn't think I'd be making another bag too soon but the pain is drifting into the past as it will do and now I'm thinking maybe...I made so many mistakes with this pattern -honestly I think I made more mistakes than got things right! Garment sewing skills aren't QUITE transferable to bags and I would imagine visa versa. It was nice not having to fuss about fit but there are a myriad of other things to fuss about like interfacing as you mention here! Your bag is gorgeous! All those pockets and a zip and hardware. It was at a whole different level to mine :)

bbarna said...

Yes, I am still picking things out of corners and crevices after having the 20 month old twins yesterday morning...but it was fun.
The bag looks wonderful! Just a suggestion, if you are making bags from light coloured fabrics, give them a spray with Scotchguard after they are done, or prewash the fabric with NicWax to give it some kind of dirt and water protection...they stay nicer for much longer.
Barb- Prince George.

Anonymous said...

How lucky these children are to have the world and how it works explained to them! The bag is lovely, and definitely something I could use. Kathy Brosnan

Anonymous said...

The flowered dress is great and the tea parties sound like fun!


Leigh said...

I like your bag!
Regarding Riri zippers:
Drool here: http://www.riri.com

Buy here: https://www.buckleguy.com/riri-zippers/

annie said...

My son reads Shakespeare, among other heady stuff, to his four year old and two year old. I guess it started as a wayto relieve his own boredom at reading little people's literature. Plus, he wanted me to read L'Morte d'Artur when he was eight and insisted he understood it. Well, maybe. Anyhow, those little boys think that "Double, double, toil and trouble," is very funny. Don't underestimate a kid.