March 9, 2008

Spring is in the Bag

Or perhaps that is the fever, the spring fever, talking. As I write this I'm listening to the roar of the wind outside, and through, my window. The sun is toying with me. It's just bright and clear enough to believe that spring could very suddenly appear. Then another roar reminds me that winter is still in charge around here.

On the bright side I have plenty of time to sew my new spring accessories. On the tops of my spring fashion list were two bags by two fabulous Amys: Amy Karol's pleated beauty bag and Amy Butler's Kimberly bag.

Spring bags

First to be completed was the pleated beauty bag in Heather Bailey's Freshcut fabric. I did make some modifications to the pattern after seeing Elise's pleated beauty. It was a bit on the large size for me for an everyday bag so I downsized the height by two inches. I used sew-in interfacing on both the exterior and lining fabrics. Although I like flannel facing in some applications this one just didn't work for me. I felt it added too much weight without enough structure.

Another deviation is that I didn't pleat the lining. Once I had constructed the exterior I used that as a pattern piece to cut my interior fabric to size plus seam allowances. I also added a magnetic tab closure and many, many interior pockets in varying sizes.

A major change was the construction of the bag bottom. I wanted the bag to be really sturdy; no drooping when full of a day's necessities. Having studied the Kimberly pattern I knew that was how I had to do the beauty bag. It involves a separate piece of exterior fabric with layered fusible interfacing-Peltex-fusible interfacing. This very sturdy bottom is then attached to the bag.

Next came the Kimberly bag in Amy Butler's Nigella fabric. This is going to by my perfect spring/summer night on the town bag. I didn't make any changes to this pattern. There are some things I'll be prepared for in the next Kimberly though.

First, watch the zipper installation. The instructions tell you to line up the zipper pull with a pleat. I'd probably go about 1/4 inch past the pleat. Second, watch the bar tack, the zig-zag you do at each end of the zipper to close the gap. At this point you've got a lot of layers (fabric, interfacing, fleece, zipper) and I found it a bit difficult to maneuver everything under the foot with the bulk. Third, check the size of the exterior bottom panel against the size of the exterior. Mine was a probably a tiny bit too large making sewing in the bottom a small exercise in frustration. (Oddly, I'd not had this problem with the beauty bag bottom.) Finally, by the time the bag has been turned out it's quite a wrinkly mess and it was very hard to get into the corners and crevices to iron everything out. If you're willing to put up with a few steam burns, however, it can be done.

Now all I need is a real spring day. And perhaps a new spring coat...and rain boots....and sunglasses. Oh my, it must be the fever talking.

1 comment:

April (Polkadot Sparrow) said...

thank you so much for sharing tips about the Kimberly bag. I'm about to make my own & want it to be perfect! :)