My inspiration to sew comes in fits and starts. Changing seasons usually get me going, as do visits with my parents; my mom is an avid quilter, and her enthusiasm is so contagious it's hard not to be inspired when I'm around her! I haven't seen my folks since Christmas, but with spring just around the proverbial corner (for the moment, let's ignore the ice pellets currently falling from the sky), I've been itching to sew.

Now, usually when it comes to sewing, I go for the quick and dirty projects, stuff that is too easy to screw up too badly, and can get done in an hour or two, in other words before I lose interest. Drawstring bags, pajama pants, fat-quarter placements, that sort of thing. Every once in a while, however, I find a project worth the time and attention required to get everything right and good and perfectly perfect. I know I am capable of this. I had sewing lessons for several years when I was growing up. I believe my final project in 4-H was a nautical-themed jumpsuit with gathered cuffs at the ankles and a wide collar featuring a double row of gold soutache braid. This was the early 90s, so of course I had permed hair and wore thick glasses with pink plastic frames. Yup.

Anyway, fast forward a little over six years ago when I was pregnant with Daniel. I needed a maternity dress suitable for performance and I couldn't find any that were acceptable (I'm hard to fit anyway, and maternity clothes were ten times harder to find), so I decided to make one. I found a Vogue pattern for a wrap maternity dress and bought some navy blue crepe-backed satin and matching lining at Gayfeather Fabrics (fabulous shop, and the owner is ever so nice and helpful). It took for-freaking-ever. I made a muslin of the top to make sure it would fit. The fabric I used was so slippery that I had to hand-baste every seam, and even then I screwed a lot of them up and had to re-do them. It's a wonder I finished the thing before I went into labor, but I did. In the end, I think I only wore the dress twice - once for a voice recital about 2 months before Daniel was born, and once for my final doctoral recital a month before Anya was born. (Funny story: my piano duet partner for part of the recital was also preggo and due the exact same day I was. We got a few laughs when we waddled out on stage together.) I was really proud of that dress.

I don't think I've challenged myself on a sewing project since that dress. Until now. Enter: the messenger bag. The pattern is from Little Things to Sew from Oliver + S, and I'm making one of these bags for each of my kids. I started with Daniel's because he is so excited to have his, he can barely stand it. (I love that my oldest child still loves the things I make him.)

I'm taking my time, though, because I want to do everything just right. This pattern is complicated and has a lot of pieces. It took several days just to get everything cut out, and there are lots of steps in the instructions. Also, I made bias tape for the edging. This $6 bias-tape maker is my new favorite sewing tool:

Here's a peak at the front panel of the bag:

Daniel chose the main fabric (at Gayfeather!) and I went out later to find the solids for the bias tape and lining (Stitchers Crossing to the rescue!). There are what feels like a million little steps in the instructions to making this bag, but so far everything is going swimmingly and I'm really enjoying myself. I hope to finish this soon, and then I'll share more details about the process. I do want to mention that the sewing instructions by Oliver and S are excellent; everything is clear and easy to follow. I haven't had to rip out any seams yet, and that's saying a lot.


Anonymous said…
It looks great!

You NEVER had glasses with pink frames!


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