My new designer bag

Friends, this is perhaps my finest hour. Well. I hope it’s not my finest hour, but I did feel very accomplished when I finished this little bag. Any finished object is a victory. A finished object that didn’t spend three months languishing on a shelf? That’s a blow out, with Sewing, in soccer style, losing to me by one point. (Other ways in which sewing is like soccer: it’s boring to watch, I pretend to hurt myself a lot, and when I finish something I tear off my shirt and run around the house screaming.) But when I finish something in a timely manner, that’s also useable, and that I did not use a pattern for (a.k.a. designed), that’s a real triumph from which I may never recover.


Although “design” is a grandiose word to describe what I’ve actually done here, I’m not backing down. I skimmed a few tote bag tutorials, and ended up following this tutorial from Design Sponge*. I know that my bag looks nothing like the bag in the tutorial, even though I wish it did, but the instructions are easy to follow for the bag part, and when it came to straps and pockets, I was able to just wing it (a.k.a. design it).

It’s a very versatile bag. You can pretend to look for things in it…

… or pretend to stroll through your neighborhood with it.

I got this lovely Amy Butler canvas from a friend, and I’ve used it to make so many things. Mainly bags to organize my knitting and to put my knitting bags in. See below.

See? Matching bags.

Long story short: I like my bag, probably more than usual because I’m the one who made it.

*Citing dilemma: Do I site Design Sponge for the tutorial even though it was created by one of my favorite sewing blogger of all time, Renske Solkesz of The dress I made? She designs (for real) and sews the best things. Do I cite them both in the text, should I include a footnote, or should I trust my reader to click thru to find out the full story? More importatnly, do these questions make me seem crazy?


Ok. Now smock it to me!

Smock in repose.

I finally moved my sewing machine and doodads downstairs and got set up on a big table with room for cutting and sewing. Makes all the difference. Of all the obstacles that keep me from sewing, I think hunching over a pattern on the floor to trace and cut was both the worst and the easiest to remedy. Now that I’ve solved that problem, I’ve finally finished up a shirt that’s been in the works for months.

I was trying so hard to look normal in this picture, but my hair had other plans.

This shirt started life as a humongous collared button up that I found at a thrift store. I originally tried to make it a slightly less humongous button up, but the fabric (silk! for $0.90! haha!) defeated me. I decided to turn it in to a tank top based on Collete’s Sorbetto (the mother of all tank tops). Why making a tank top would help me work with the fabric is difficult to understand now, but it made sense at the time. Anyways, I stumbled along, figured out I needed a special needle to work with silk, stumbled a little more gracefully, then I got to the neckline. I thought I would peter pan collar it, but that seemed like too much work for, lets be real here, a trend that doesn’t look that good on me and will probably be out by the time I figure out how to do it. So bias binding it is! Now I just have to figure out how to that…

Look. I found a tree.

Three months later, a shirt is born! A strange and deeply flawed shirt. I wasn’t going to tell you how flawed it is, but I just can’t do it. In place of confidence, I’ve opted to tell people that this shirt has serious problems, but not pointing the issues out like I’d usually do. It’s a step in the right direction. And during lulls in the conversation, my companion can pass the time surreptitiously looking for wavy seams and loose threads. Everybody wins!

Next time, a tutorial on tree climbing. First, strap on your sandals…