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May 14, 2011

Inspiration Bag - visit her blog!
While browsing for bag patterns one day, I came across A Wednesday Afternoon and the wonderful tutorial on making an owl bag.  It hopped up and down and hooted "make ME! make ME!"  After sharing on Facebook, my sister subtly hinted that she'd like one.  Why not?  This looked doable!  And I could always make two . . .

My finished bag
Off I went to JoAnns, where in the remnant pile I found a lovely heavy home decor fabric in a minty green.  I grabbed it and wandered the aisles, looking for complimentary fabric.  In a section filled with random fat quarters I found the gold paisley for the wings, its stems exactly the same shade of mint.  It came with me and refused to be matched to any dark browns.  I finally tried the gold and the whole thing just went POP. Sadly, the wing fabric was the ONLY fat quarter I could find of it.  I searched everywhere in the store, with no luck.  I have no idea who makes it!  It was just a leftover.  Hopefully I can find it in another store, because it's really pretty.
I bought buttons to use for eyes, but they turned out to be too small.  (No one likes a beady eyed owl.)  An image search for owl eyes turned up beautiful amber stares, but I couldn't get any fabrics that worked properly without seeming too weird.  Eventually I found the right golden shade in my own stash to use as eyes, but it took a lot of tries. I then decided that it would be a good idea to use four layers of fabric: black, brown, gold, and black to define the eyes properly.  It's REALLY hard to cut out a cloth circle!  Eventually I used iron-on interfacing, after failing twice to come home with the right double stick iron on whatever it is I needed.  Yes, I glued the eyes together and on the bag.  If they fall off, glue them back on, please? 

I made a few changes to the original pattern.  I separated the front panel, wings and body, to make into a pocket.  The body fabric was folded in half and cut out, with interfacing on one side for added strength.  Pull on his beak and it opens!  I also altered the inside of the bag, making the top three inches of it the same fabric as the outside. (The rest is a soft tan colored fabric.  Possibly challis?)   For the strap, I used D-rings, and found a tutorial at Sew Loquacious that allowed me to make a fabric slide so the strap can be adjustable.  I couldn't find the right kind of metal part to do this, at least, not big enough.  If it doesn't work well it will be really easy to undo. 

The instructions were excellent and I had no problems with assembly.  I drew out the owl on oversized paper and then drew all the parts on separate pieces so I wouldn't have to cut it apart.  I added a seam allowance, just in case.

Owl Bag, Jr.
I had JUST enough fabric to make myself a second, smaller bag.  I like small bags, as I need to put my purse in my backpack while at school, and it needs to fit! This bag is a little over 8.5" wide and about 7.5" tall.  I made an interior pocket for my ipod, and added a metal magnetic snap enclosure, along with the front pocket.  I used buttons for the pupils.  I took a picture of the bag full, to be sure everything that I wanted to carry fit inside, and which is why his eyes look so crooked.  At least, that's what I'm hoping!  I gave the bag to Erin last week, which is why I didn't photograph them together. Too bad!

Fun, fun project!  Now I'm experiencing a small bag-making addiction and making plans for two or three others.