Monday, April 29, 2013

bags, bags, bags

I've got a little bit of catching up to do here, don't I? This month has been quite busy, and while I've been knitting through all of it, of course, I haven't had a whole lot of time to write about it. Also, both battery packs for the nice camera are dead and neither Stuart nor I can find the charger. Neither of us is the type to frequently misplace things, so it's kind of driving us crazy. I do have my little P&S to use in the meantime, so it will have to do. Life goes on.

One project I've had done for a couple of weeks now is of the mass production variety. I made thirty of these:


My daughter attends a wonderful preschool run by a wonderful director with wonderful teachers. I know that my praise of her school may seem excessive, but it's entirely deserved. The preschool has been around for 45 years; it was founded by the community in which it is located, and is one of the oldest licensed childcare centers in the city. Unfortunately, due to some rather nasty beurocratic shenanigans by a few people with a lot of power, the school is being forced out of its location and has to move. I'm on the parent board of the school, and let me tell you, it has been a difficult, tumultuous year. For reasons of privacy, I won't say anything more, but I'll just skip ahead to the part where I sewed 30 bags in 3 weeks.

Because the school is moving, there is of course some fundraising going on. I volunteered to make tote/shopping bags on which the school's logo could be printed. Then they can be sold at our big fundraising event in a couple of weeks. 

Making these bags was no picnic. I didn't want raw edges, but I didn't want to serge every seam, nor did I want to use extra fabric for lining, so I learned how to do a French seam (like in this video). I lined the very top of the inside like so:


Halfway through making the bags, I noticed my trusty sewing machine (Bernette 60, it's like a baby Bernina) wasn't sewing straight anymore. I showed one wonky seam to Stuart and said, "It looks like I drank a glass of wine before I sat down to sew!" but of course I hadn't. It was the machine, or so I thought. Three visits to two different repair places revealed that nothing was really wrong with my machine. It just needed a good cleaning, a good oiling in the bobbin area, a new spool of thread, a stronger, sharper needle, and some patience on my part. One part of the problem, too, was the fact that I used cotton canvas, which has a wide weave, so the needle sometimes skipped over the threads in the fabric, which resulted in a crooked line of stitches. I wager a bigger machine with a stronger motor would not have that problem, but all the other little adjustments helped to make the finished bags acceptable enough.

By the time I finished bag #30, I just about couldn't stand it. I don't care if I never sew another tote bag again, I thought. But you know what? Hopefully, they'll sell, and if they do, I'll happily make more for next year's fundraiser. This school is worth it.

2 comments:

Jessi said...

Those are particularly precious. I hope you all do very well and have no problems with the move.

gay said...

the French seam is genius don't you think...my mom taught it to me yrs ago. these totes are adorable love the contrast lining strip...good luck!