Monday, February 19, 2007

High Street Messenger Bag - The Problem

The second Endpaper Mitt is almost finished, but I've had some trouble focusing on it this weekend--too much blog-reading and tv watching and (unfortunately) working. Today I decided to start a non-knitting project that I've been thinking about for awhile: Amy Butler's High Street Messenger Bag. It's a big bag with lots of pockets (three zippers are required!) but also a very clean look to it, I think it will be a great everyday bag. Here's the fabric I'm using:

P1010373 The floral fabric will be the outside, and I'll use the denim as the lining. The pattern recommends heavy-weight fabric, so I plan to reinforce the floral with iron-on interfacing. Today I cut out most of the floral fabric pieces, but due to a cutting error I had make an emergency trip to the fabric store. Very annoying--this fabric is Amy Butler's as well, and it is a little pricey. I will probably start cutting some of the other pieces later (once it comes out of the wash), or maybe work on interfacing the pieces that are already cut. I'm a little annoyed about my cutting error, and I'm worried that I'll try to rush through and end up with more problems.

P1010380I can't really blame anyone except myself for the cutting error, but I was being distracted by knitting podcasts and dogfights. Yes, I know exactly how hideous that carpet looks--I'm hoping that we can redo the sewing room this spring / summer.

I've made several of Amy Butler's patterns, and I love her fabrics and books, but I wish that the patterns were a little more Carrie-friendly. For instance, all of the pieces of the Messenger Bag appear to be rectangles, and many of them are the same width. I'd really prefer to cut the pieces out in strips using a rotary cutter if at all possible. For Amy's simpler patterns, I've traced the pieces onto template plastic and then cut around them, which has worked well, especially when I wanted a particular part of the fabric to show up on the front of a bag. The Messenger Bag pattern has far too many pieces for this to be a good solution. The pattern includes paper pattern pieces that are uses to cut out individual pieces from different parts of the fabric, on different folds. With heavy fabric I wouldn't want to cut through more than two or maybe three layers at a time, but I still think that a rotary cutter would speed things up and (for me) improve accuracy.

Also, many of the pattern pieces are two pieces in one--one large piece, and one smaller piece. Sometimes, the smaller piece is part of the larger piece, and sometimes it isn't--there's a lot of folding and lining up the pieces. While this cuts down on the total number of pattern pieces on the paper, it means that you can't just pin all of the pieces at once and then cut. Pin, cut, unpin, fold, pin, cut, unpin--clearly, cutting this pattern out requires a lot of concentration. Concentration that isn't necessarily available to me. Can you guess where I made my cutting error??? My third issue with this particular pattern is that the pattern piece for the strap is too wide for my 44" fabric, although that's the fabric width called for. This is another reason that I needed extra fabric--too much shrinkage in the fabric from washing. Washing probably wasn't strictly necessary, since I'm sure that I won't be washing the finished bag.


It's not really a good sign when, at this early stage in the project, the most satisfying part is putting the WIP in a box and tucking it under the cutting table. I'm best with sewing projects that can be started and completed in a few hours, and this is certainly not one of those. I do admit that I should probably spend a little more time with the pattern before I proceed, as the construction could contain as many pitfalls as the cutting. Hopefully, the finished product will be worth all of the effort!


tiennie said...

That's going to be a very nice bag! Where did you get the pattern?

Laura said...

Oh my, I love that fabric! You know that I'm a sucker for anything Amy Butler...but I've been holding on to her Nappy Bag pattern forever for exactly the same reasons as what you are experiencing now. Can't wait to see the finished bag!