daniel's messenger bag

Daniel's messenger bag is done!

It turned out that I had a lot of time to work on the bag yesterday, so I managed to finish it up. Unfortunately, the unexpected extra time at home was because Daniel's been home sick with a cold/fever (which I now have), but it's nothing serious, and I have to admit it's kind of nice to have an excuse to let the chores go and work on a sewing project in the middle of the week.

The design (Messenger Bag from the book Oliver and S Little Things to Sew is quite detailed, and not particularly easy to sew. Happily, the instructions in the book are excellent: clear, detailed, and every step is broken down to make everything manageable. Here's a look at the inside of the bag:

What made this project so challenging? Well, the bag is fully lined and fully interfaced, and I used non-fusible interfacing because I didn't want any weird puckering where the glue melts. There are pockets everywhere - on the front, the sides and the inside. There are a lot of curves, and a couple of tricky curved seams where you attach the front and back pieces to the side panels. Last, there is applied bias edging all over the place, which makes for a nice finish, but it's bloody difficult to make it look right. I did okay until the last big piece of bias edging around the back piece and front flap. It was such a long, continuous line, and by this time there were so many layers to sew through at the bottom, I just couldn't keep the bias tape from slipping and stretching. Once I tried to take out what I'd done and redo it, but by that time, the bias had stretched too much. You can see what I'm talking about in the picture below:

Ick, right? I'm disappointed about that, because the rest of this project had truly gone so well, but I think I'm just going to have to live with it. Next time (and there will be a next time because Anya wants one, too, of course) I'll try basting it by hand first.

My one shortcut in this project was the strapping:

The pattern includes instructions for sewing your own strap out of a strip of fabric and applying adjustable hardware. When I bought the fabric, the shop had 2" cotton/poly twill strapping in a matching navy blue, so I bought some of that, and used a plastic parachute clip to make the strap length adjustable. This large clip is rather heavy, but Big Box Craft Store didn't have the adjustable metal hardware the pattern specified, so it was the best I could do. For Anya's, I'll do some looking online.

The pattern suggests using a walking foot and heavy-duty needle because of all the layers of fabric to stitch through. I followed this advice and I'm glad I did. There is no way this could have come out as well without those tools. Even so, I hand-basted some larger seams to avoid slipping, and like I said already, I regret not having hand-basted the long bias edging.

Here's a closer look at the inside pocket and lining:

For the lining and bias tape, I used some French General solids by Moda, which coordinated perfectly with the patterned denim Daniel chose for the outside pieces. Because all the colors were so different, I had to keep changing the thread to match. It was irksome for me, but amused Daniel to no end once I let him change the bobbin for me.

Let's wrap this up with one last close-up of a pocket flap, for no other reason than the fact that all the other pictures I took were blurry. (I think I need to work on my photography skills.)

Daniel is thrilled with his new bag. I won't let him take it to school because I don't want it ruined by muddy shoes, or lost, or stolen. It's perfect for trips to the library, though.


Jessi said…
Super impressed. I couldn't make that in a million billion years.
Julie said…
Laurie said…
Suze, how did you configure your parachute buckle on the strap and bag to be adjustable? I am trying to use this type of buckle on a bag and CANNOT figure out how to make it adjustable! I've used the single strap adjusters, but somehow this is beyond me. Asking my (engineer) husband is a joke ... he would leave strap pieces hanging, which he would "cure" by putting a fabric band around it!! (non-sewer, obviously)

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