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October 27, 2012

Having used my bags repeatedly now, I've come up with some alterations.

The Corduroy Bag

Too small, which is frustrating, especially after looking at this photo and thinking how big it looks.  IT'S NOT!  I think I can fix it by adding fabric to the bottom, and I actually have fabric that will work with this.  So . . . I'm going to take it apart and do so.  Fortunately I don't have to take apart the difficult bits at the top.

The Hip Bag

Having used this on two cruises now, I love it.  It's not quite big enough for everyday use, though.  I'm trying to come up with a small list of alterations.  This WAS, after all, only supposed to be a prototype.  However, I'm not going to alter this bag, but just make a new one in nicer fabric.  (and I found some nice, nice fabric.  I can't wait to see how it turns out!)

First, it needs a proper belt that's a little easier to remove.  My biggest problem was trying to get out of the silly thing when I needed to run it through the security machine whenever reboarding the ship.  I simply had it strung on a cord with one of those squeeze pins to keep it around my waist.  I had thought my design would allow me to use the bag as either a shoulder or a hip bag, but I found I much preferred it as a hip bag.  I was considering parachute clips, but I'm not sure how easy those are to find in the size I want them to be.  I think if I add two rings to the bag and get some swivel snap hooks, it will work just fine.

It needs to be just a LITTLE bit wider.  A little annoying since I'll have to cut a zipper down to size, but I just can't fit a full passport inside it.

I need more card storage if I want to use it everyday.  I only had the very basics on the ship, but running around during the day, I'd need room for the additional store cards, library cards, insurance cards, gift cards, and the metro pass card I normally haul about.

My husband has been carrying around an aspirin tube in his pocket and just mixing all his pills inside.  I'm thinking instead of installing a zipper pouch in the next one, I'll put in a little pocket in the inner corner to hold a similar tube.  I've got one in there now and it fits OK.  I can always pick up pepto bismol in pill form rather than the pre-wrapped chewables.  Although a zippered interior pouch would be nice for loose change.  Perhaps I should install an exterior one on the back?

The formal wristlets I just made worked fine, although they could probably stand to be a little wider, too.  The owl already came loose so I'm going to have to reattach it in a new way.

Finally, I'm happy with the flap, but I need to attach it to the bag at both ends.  Lots of choices for this.  Buckles? snaps? a button? slot and tab?  We'll see what happens.
October 5, 2012

Here's the next evening bag, made with leftover fabric from my clockwork doll.  The pattern is based on Amy Cornwell's clutch tutorial.

The jewelry finding is an earring.  It looked ridiculous in my ear.  The other half is now a necklace.

Slippery fabrics are hard to sew.  Must be more careful next time to lessen the sloppiness.

This was supposed to be a mockup.  It became a monster.

I bought a pattern off of Etsy from Lekala of what I thought would be a cute, simple jacket with minimal fabric requirements, exactly what I wanted to make with the mere 2 yards of coral fabric I had.  Since the fabric on the discount table at G Street Fabrics was cheaper than muslin, I grabbed a large amount of what I felt closest matched the type of fabric I had, and set to work testing out the pattern.

For all its cuteness and simplicity, this pattern was a bear for a beginner like me.  It's a computer generated file customized to your measurements.  However, the instructions were rather foreign to me, (I guess translated English?  I'd never heard of a selvage being referred to as a 'beam' before.) and the printouts had the annoying habit of being JUST a little bit over the edge onto the next page, coupled with my printer's inability to print the last 3/4" inch of each page.  And I had to add on the seam allowances myself, which was difficult due to the close layout of the pattern pieces.  Fortunately I have a stash of large sized paper that I was eventually able to trace over.

Once I overcame those obstacles, I had to solve the problem of the huge sleeves.  If I narrowed the sleeves, the armhole became too big.  If I narrowed the armhole one way I got these awful pulls in the back.  I eventually just added a big curve to the arm and that will have to do.

By this point I'm thinking this cheap striped fabric is pretty awesome and I actually DO want a 'real' jacket out of it.  I decide I'm going to add cuffs.  And pleats.  And lace.  And a button.  I have no idea how to do any of this, but years of faking it in one inch scale gave me confidence to proceed in my insanity.

So, this was a real learning experience.  And I'm still not done!  I need to solve the droopy lining problem, most likely with hem tape.  And then - make the coral one.
October 2, 2012

 This bag is made from the Buttercup Bag pattern found on Made By Rae's blog.

I'm slightly disappointed.  I needed a BIGGER purse, not a smaller one!  I can barely fit my basics inside.  I do, however, like how nicely it fits under my arm.

I'm not sure I could have made it much bigger in any case.  The brown corduroy is made from an old vest I found at the thrift shop.  It proved to be a much nicer fabric for bags than vests!  I have just enough left to make a wristlet.

If you think that interior color looks familiar, it is.  The fabric I used for the owl bags just made the exterior vest fabric go 'pop!'  So I had to use it again.  In fact, I had to go buy more, and was lucky I could still find it at JoAnn's.