January 3, 2015

Starting Off on the Wrong Foot - Happy New Year?

Lots of sewing bloggers have done a recap of all the great things they made this year just to make me feel inadequate. So continuing in this downer mode I am going to tell you what a failure my latest project was. The weather outside today is a very cold hard rain which adds to my gloomy mood and the only brightness on this day is the glow off my computer screen. My sewing machine is banished to the opposite  unlit corner of the room.

I started of with this great vision of how I would make another wool handbag as lovely as this one.
EVERYTHING about this bag went well and I sold it immediately at a craft show after getting numerous "favorites" in my Etsy shop.

I loved working with wool for these two bags as well. 

I ordered some wool plaid online from MOOD and my first problem was that it was a much larger plaid than I thought ( my fault). It also smelled like WOOL!,  of course. So I spent time running it on air in the dryer with a dryer sheet. Then tried Febreze and then I just washed it and air dried it. Finally it was acceptably less sheep-like.

 Here are some steps in the building of the bag.  This shows an inside view no one ever gets to see.
 Here is a mistake I had to rip out.
                           Cramming all these thick layers under the presser foot was a drag.
 Then comes the birthing of the bag where you have to pull the whole thing back through the hole in the lining.
And that is when you see that what you had envisioned as a really classy classic bag is actually NOT!

After flipping it I had to do the top-stitching around the upper edge. Due to the thickness of the straps with piping the machine just went nuts and went into spasms leaving about a half inch unstitched and a few thread "bird nests" which I couldn't bring myself to photograph.

I had used a gray faux leather on my loved bag and it worked very well. The black vinyl (faux) not so much.  I made piping which looks great but a larger expanse is yucky.

It's the "Saggy Baggy" Bag.  The very stiff interfacing I used around the sides should have been used on the front and back to prevent the fold over tab with the enormous button from dragging it down. There is actually a magnetic snap under it. Too bad that I wasted it.

I do like the piping across the outer pocket and 
on the tab. Oh, I already said that. 

Well, I liked it so much that I decided I had to have more. Around the seams would have been nice but the thicknesses entailed would be too much.  I never
thought about it though when I added it to the strap which I made the same width as the bag side.      

What a beast this was to turn back right sides out. If I had made it narrow towards the center it would reasonably sit on a shoulder and not flare out as seen below.

Even this photo turned out bad. Where did those weird dots come from??
AND the plaid is not straight at this seam.

And speaking of photos, they are all wrong because the color is so off. I tried all kinds of settings which I really don't get.  Smart capture usually works fine for me in natural light.  Not one of these shows that this fabric is not a bright white and black houndstooth plaid with colored flecks BUT a dull beige - y white and black houndstooth plaid with colored flecks!!!
 I changed lighting, locations, settings and the white is still way too bright.

Oh well, I don't need great photos since this disaster is not going to appear in my Etsy shop.

I will probably cut it up and rework the elements into something else much smaller.

Some sewing bloggers call this a WADDER.

Any suggestions?


  1. How about opening up the lining and putting some peltex in the front? You don't have to sew it in, just cut it a little smaller than the front of the bag minus the stitching and push it up in there. It will give you the structure you crave.

    1. Thanks, Kyle. That solves ONE of the problems!

    2. After putting the peltex in the front and back (I said just front above, but should have said back too) maybe you should put it in the magic closet for a while and see if you feel differently about it then? Most people are not going to notice the other problems.

  2. Thomas Edison supposedly tried 1000 different materials for the filament in his electric light bulb before he found one that worked. But he did not regard that as 1000 failures; he had found 1000 things that didn't work. Every mistake is a learning experience, at least as valuable, if not more so, that the things that went right. You learned some important lessons from this bag. Focus on that and move on.

    As for saving this particular bag, if you narrow the strap along with Kyle's suggestion above, that would fix most of your issues. When I can't get decent topstitching because of thickness issues, I usually end up hand sewing the parts that didn't work out. Give yourself some markings to ensure evenly spaced stitches.

    Finally, if there is going to be a lot of bag sewing in your future, you might want to invest in an industrial machine, which would be able to power right through the multiple layers that a home sewing machines chokes on.