Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom! a.k.a. Anatomy of New Bag Design

Well first of all. Today is my mother's birthday! Yay!
And for her birthday I decided to make her a tote bag. As I was creating the bag in my head, I decided to document my journey so you can see how the bag came together.
So, here we go!

The first part is what inspired me. I really like this red bag because it was roomy and had great straps for slinging over your shoulder. But I liked the simplicity of this canvas book bag.
These two bags inspired my mother's bag. I imagined her using it to carry books around, since she likes to read.

So next I picked out my supplies. The thing that grabbed me the most was this BRIGHT Elvis fabric. She loves Elvis, but I'm not so sure about bright colors. Nonetheless, I was not deterred. I decided to use the awesome Elvis fabric as a lining and then use a dull, muted black as the outside. The pink fabric I choose as an accent color which will show up as piping. The finishing touches is the bright green thread & zipper and the big, bright pink button.

Next I started creating a pattern. The main reason for this step is so I can make another bag in the future if I like this one.
I decided on 16"x14" bag, but I think it ended up about 13"x15". I often make last minute size changes! The straps are about 22" long and I choose to have an inside zippered pocket and three large pockets on the outside.

Of course, for the future... I marked the pattern pieces so I knew which was which!

I turned the iron on next because I had to fuse on interfacing soon!

Now I pin my pattern pieces to the fabric...

... and I cut it all out!

And here's that part about the interfacing... I am fusing it on the straps, the four main pieces (lining & outer fabric) and on the inner zippered pocket. This makes it tougher!

Now, for the fun part! I'm kinda joking about this...
I cut out strips of the pink fabric to create my piping.

And here's what the strips look like wrapped about the cord.

Next, I pin it in place...

... and then I sew it in place using a zipper foot. It's so, so tiny, but piping looks SO COOL on stuff I just couldn't leave it out of this project.

Here I take my freshly made piping & attach it between the outer & lining pieces of the large outside pockets.

And after attaching, I turn it inside out.

In this step, I attached the pocket to the main bag piece. I did this twice because I have large, outside pockets on each side of the bag.

While sewing the other outside pocket on, I decided to include this little loop on the inner pocket. This is for hooking keys onto, so you don't have to search for keys inside this big bag! Nice, huh?

Here is the exciting part where I sew the two outer pieces together (with their shiny, new pockets attached).

Before I turn it inside out, I sew a little notch on each side at the bottom of the bag. This gives the illusion of a flat bottom, but eliminates the need for me to add another piece into the bag. It's mainly for looks.

And ta-da! The outer layer!

See my next blog for the rest of the bag... you're so excited huh?!!

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