Pictured here is the Sewist’s birthday gift. My Dad likes to say “Vinyl is Final” when explaining his choice of house siding; this phrase stuck with me as making this. Being somewhat limited in my sewing skills, my choice of projects are small. The Sewist loves bags so I decided to bust out the Amy Butler Messenger Bag pattern again. Instead of doing something that I could get through easily and quickly, I decided that she NEEDED a pink sparkly vinyl bag, to deal with the wet winters here in Oregonia. For the interior I went with the Echino Beehive in eggplant that I picked up from Bolt. The appliqué is reflective fabric, that kind you see on coats for high visibility. At the Mill End store they sell it in 12 x 18 sheets for $4. This is actually cool, at $25 a yard on the bolt it is much cheaper to buy the sheets to make tall and wide things.
The first part of the project was making the appliqué. I found a crow picture on the internet and blew it up in Photoshop. I printed it, cut it out of of paper, traced it onto the back of the reflective fabric and cut very carefully. I stitched the crow to the outside flap with silk and metallic thread that astonishingly matched perfectly. This part went really really well. I was feeling really good about the project at this point. Next was the vinyl (here the sound effect should sound like DUM, dum, dah; ominous like).
Wow, the sparkly vinyl is really cool and pretty, but my god it is hard to work with, especially if you have no idea what you are doing (see: me). I decided to make the strap first, though it is a middle step in the instructions. I like to get the little things out of the way first (and I am actually working on a separate post about this, because it is interesting how differently the Sewist and I look at directions). Following the pattern’s directions, I folded the two sides toward the middle, to deal with fabrics stubbornness, I glued like crazy and stacked books on top to hold it down. After a couple of hours, I folded, glued and stacked again. Now it was time for the sewing. I actually was able to get it stitched, terribly. The vinyl was incredibly sticky and it took me PULLING it though. I figured this was bad for the machine, so I called the Sewist at work and spoiled the surprise. I was drenched in sweat, the strap was really terribly screwed up and the sewing machine looked tired. The Sewist was not impressed with what I was doing to her machine so I called it day.
The next time out I sewed the exterior together, which was going great when the right sides were together. So the problems were back again as soon as the exterior of the vinyl touched any part of the machine. I was really close to quiting and going to Nordstrom’s and buying something, when it hit me that there has to be a way to do this (the Sewist mentioned a Teflon foot). I googled “sewing vinyl” and on this site someone mentioned wax paper. Melting wax paper onto the exterior worked swimmingly. The other bit about working with the fabric is that is is impossible to iron the seems open, so I trimmed them short (but not too short). The last bit about the vinyl is it is really difficult to turn inside out.
The interior actually came together as expected.
For the strap I went with a different tactic, I cut a 3.25 inch wide slice of the exterior and 3.25 inch wide slice of the Enchino Beehive which I backed with fleece interfacing, like the straps from the Very Green Bag. I sewed everything right side together and turned inside out. I think with the strength of the vinyl one layer will be sufficient and the fleeced fabric should be pretty comfortable. Turning the strap right side out took some time and an incredibly sore finger, but the results are pretty nice, though a little puffy. I again stacked books on top of the strap to get it to lay flatter, which is working, though in need of another night at this point.
The changes to the original pattern include:
no tab, actually no clasp also, the flap is heavy enough to stay shut;
no flap pocket, neither the Sewist or I every use it on the bags that we have;
no top-stitching on the outside, not necessary, no desire to wax paper again;
strap, as I mentioned;
tool pocket has more usable slots, for things like cellphones or iPods
and no canvas backing, this things weighs a ton already and is plenty stable.
probably the last time for sticky vinyl, too too too hard to deal with for any length of time
and anytime I am dead tired after making a seam, I probably am doing something wrong.
The next bag I make (one that I might actually use myself), will probably be our first adventure in designing a pattern. The Amy Butler Pattern is really great, but I am finding more not to like every time and there are things like shape and size that I would do very differently.
The crow is in honor of our dog, who hates them. We have always joked that if she had her own company it would be called “30 or So Crows” for the number she would like to catch every day. Another sign of our complete dog dorkdom!
Happy Birthday Honey, enjoy!No related posts...
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