Improv Tote: WIP 1

Happy New Year all! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and maybe even managed to get a fair bit of sewing done.

Sadly over here, hardly anything was achieved sewing-wise. Apart from over-eating induced coma I suffered a bout of Perfectionism. Hence the lack of activity here – it was just too depressing to write about!

But as the Sewing Princess reminded me, there’s a wonderfully supportive sewing community online, and I need not wallow in my fitting woes alone. So I’ll take some pictures of my Whack-a-Mole fitting problems on a sunnier day and maybe you’d join in with my Name That Fitting Gremlin Game. But not today. Today I want to talk about my first bag making attempt.

inspiration_originalA while back when I was traveling a bit, I wanted a replacement carry-on bag. The one I had was getting tatty in places and was a bit heavy once laden with all the modern-day gadgets. So I started cutting out fabrics for a replacement.  But when I measured the weight, my fabric pieces was working out heavier than the original bag. Some sewn products are best left to the professionals, who have access to special material that better meet the practical needs which we can’t easily get hold of in consumer fabric stores. Sigh.


So, what to do with the cut out fabric pieces? As they were originally destined for a rectangular bag, I decided to make a tote a bit like this £114(!!!) Vivienne Westwood tote bag:

Vivienne Westwood Battersea Print Bag Khaki

As my fabric is a polyester faux suede, I’m not sure how easy it would be to transfer printed images onto it. So I had to look for alternative ways of adding visual interests.

Hot Patterns Queen Of Hearts Bowling Bag & Hand Bag PatternI’ve always like corner patches like on Hot Patterns’ Queen of Heart Bowling Bag Pattern. So I thought I’d use some of scrap vinyl I have in my stash for this.

As you can see I don’t have a proper pattern and instruction to guide me. So I’m improvising as I go along.

One tutorial I am using bits & pieces of is this tutorial for a mini-bowling bag by Qazicat:

Qazicat Leopard Bowling Bag Tutorial …Like its instruction for the corded handle. Or how to stiffen the bag sides and bottom. Or order of construction. Useful stuff and clear instruction.

Love the leopard print example Qazicat shown as well. Would be perfect for Pretty GrievancesJungle January too (which I chickened out from – my slopers not being ready and all)!

Work In Progress

First off, attaching the vinyl patches to the bottom parts of the bag. As both vinyl and polyester don’t like high heat – and I’ve lost the instruction for the various interfaces and adhesive webs I have – I decided to just use standard double-sided tape in my stash. I’ll edge-stitch them as well just in case the adhesive tape lose its sticking power with age.

Here are all the patches – entire bag bottom, small strips on lower edges of the sides, and rounded bottom corners on the main pieces of the bag:

I’m using up decades-old stiff fusible woven interfacing on the back of the faux suede. I think they were for shirt collars and the likes. But again, heat issue with faux suede, so they’ll probably just be sewn in rather than fused.

I’ve also started on the handles. Here are thick piping cord wrapped in the same stiff fusible woven interfacing. The outer layer will probably be the faux suede. But I’m still pondering on whether to beef it up a bit with an extra layer. Or maybe even use thicker piping cord. At the moment it looks a bit wimpy compared to the size of the bag.

inspiration_handleAnd I’m also debating whether to attached the handles directly to the sides or to attach them via a D-ring so that they can hang down when not in use for more compact storage.

That’s it for now. For apart from fretting over fitting, I’ve also been busy stressing over our bathroom renovation, making endless plans and drawings to try to whip the builders in line.

New Bathroom

And of course now the builders have taken over a huge chunk of our apartment with inevitable dust everywhere, any sewing would have to proceed at a tortoise pace.

Hopefully it won’t be weeks for the next installment of this!

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