Taking my bag obsession to another level, I had been pondering the possibility of making my own bags. In reading on the topic I stumbled upon the Bag of the Month Club. An online group, who's admission is paid in 3 month increments. At the beginning of each month the pattern is released for download. Entry is photographed and posted online at a chance to win a monthly prize.
I was slow to start, as this January pattern wasn't quite my bag. Most of my bags are a bit over the top... retro in interesting fabrics or odd shapes. This was a bit simple for my taste. I struggled when I saw all the nice submits online and thought I'd never make it. I just couldn't imagine putting work into this so was never motivated to go shop for fabric. Once half of January past with my procrastination I decided to go shopping in my closet and talk to sewing friends about the project. Once I finally got into the depths of my sewing room my closet it's like the materials jumped out at me! Finally... inspiration in such unlikely places. Every bit of the bag ended up being found items. Even before I realized I needed a buckle a friend gave me a bag to dig through from her stash! Once I realized I had everything I needed I got to work.
Here's what I ended up re-using to make a bag my style:
I've made simple bags before, mostly without a pattern. I generally am a sewer that doesn't follow instructions and rely on the pictures to put it together. Since I've never done anything like this before I decided to follow along. I found this pattern a bit difficult to follow. It was a downloaded .pdf file where you cut and tape the pieces together. Those pieces were used several times by folding them down. I generally like to cut all my pieces and leave the pattern on top instead of marking. This was tricky since the pieces were used on so many different fabrics. The patterns were also used for several materials; outer shell, lining, pockets, fusible fleece, interfacing. I cut all them away... then realized the instructions said to trim the fleece and interlining to remove the seam allowance. Ugh.... would rather have a separate pattern piece 3/8" smaller. If I would have realized that I would have printed more pattern pieces to make the proper interlining/fleece piece sizes.
As far as the sewing, the instructions were step by step with pictures. Many of the pictures were difficult to see and tell if it was right side up as it was rarely labeled. I found myself reading slowly and aloud having to talk myself through... which happens sometimes. Here I felt like I did that often. Later I realized there's video support... that would have helped me out quite a bit!
In the end I was happy with the learning experience. There's lots of things I'd do differently but not sure I want to make this one again... especially since I need to get downloading the February pattern!â
To join the Bag of the Month Club = https://www.bagomc.com/join-the-club.htmlâ
Thanks to an awesome friend, I became obsessed with altering t-shirts. My girl Shirley would find the coolest projects and execute them so much better than the original idea. I finally got brave and did a few with her helpful eye over my shoulder... more to come on those! But now that I've moved far away I've been studying t-shirt books... more on those as well later as well. After all that reading I got brave and went out on my own! Meanwhile, I acquired piles of tees at various places; overstock sales, thrift shops, rummages, and my own closet! So I reviewed those notes I marked on styles I liked but in the end there's a few tees that I just wasn't sure how to go about. Trying to forget what I had already seen I just looked at the tees and waited for them to speak to me... and they did... DARTS! I love darts, with the reshaping I've been doing many times I am unhappy with the fit and add several darts. This time I decided to make them exposed for dimension and a little shaping never hurts...
The horizontal stripe is the focus of the graphic on these shirts so I thought breaking them up with darts would be a cute touch! I started with removing the sleeves, which I often do (those t-shirt sleeves are usually not flattering!) and made both into muscle tees. One shirt had a small hole in the front near the hem and the other had a really uneven hem with stitches tearing out. So both hems went!... the uneven one I gave a high/low effect, making the front shorter, curving up in front and curving down in back. The other with the hole, I chopped straight across at the hole.
The darts I pinned from the bottom of the graphic to just below the neck trim seam. When sewing I worked my way outside in, helping me to remember how much I took in to keep some consistency from left to right. I started all sewing from neck down and used a regular lockstitch (I started with stretch stitch but it gave me more issues since I was only sewing about 1/8" wide tucks!). I used a 3.5 length and only backstitched for about 1-2 stitches to avoid a hole. Also, I used ball point needles to prevent stitch holes. I just eyeballed the position and didn't measure, I learned long ago the t-shirts are not consistent from side to side so put the ruler down!
Once I got comfortable with darting away through a horizontal graphic I went crazy on the back as well! The dart is about 1/8" wide at the center, and tapers to 0" at neck and bottom of dart. Similar to how you learn to make waist darts in sewing 101. Similar to a pintuck, but not a consistent width so I call them exposed darts! It would be cute to do in contrast thread as well but you need to be very confident as any misaligned stitch will be visible in contrast.
The finished products are quite the improvement! The tee on the right was pretty boxy since it had that hole and I had to shorten quite a bit so I added a box pleat under each arm to give a swingy effect that is cute with the more cropped body.
Jen works on...
too many projects! Home improvement, repurposing found items, sewing, crafting, etc... it never ends, always finding something to make/fix/do!