The next step was finding the cotton webbing for the handles. Again, my plan was foiled. After spending literally 45 minutes walking back and forth between two aisles willing some gray cotton webbing to appear, I gave up and decided I would instead make my handles out of extra fabric. Happy with my fabric choices and game plan in mind, I headed home, washed my fabric, and then let it sit in my closet for 6 months, untouched. Needless to say, my friend's birthday came and went - by several months.
Finally, last week, I had some time and was able to make this bag. And I have to say, my initial instincts were right - this was a GREAT beginner project. I made this bag in only three days and even added a few personal touches (such as the handles and an inside pocket) to make it more unique. And I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the color combination. I think this bag will definitely stand out and draw attention (in a good way) while my friend totes it around L.A.
Now, for the variations:
1) Handles: Since I couldn't find cotton webbing to match, I used extra fabric to make the handles. I had to be very careful and precise with my cutting to make this work, because there was only one narrow strip along the edge that was long enough to make them. The pattern calls for 20 inch handles, but I cut mine to 21" long just to have a little extra room to play around with. I also cut them 1 1/4" wide so that the ratio between binding tape and fabric would be more even. My binding tape was too wide to use it on both edges of the handles, so I just did one. My original plan for the other was to zigzag stitch the edge in the gray thread to hid the raw edge and prevent fraying. However, I'm still new to sewing, so this did not turn out very well. Instead, I folded about 1/8 inch of the edge underneath and just edge-stitched it in place.
|Main compartment of bag|
2) Inside pocket: I get a little nervous putting keys/phone, etc. in the outside pockets of bags, especially if they don't zip. In addition to my creative gene, my mom instilled in me a paranoia that I'm going to be pick-pocketed at every turn, so I like to keep important items inside bags, where it's slightly safer. To make the inside pocket, I took a small piece of scrap duck, folded and sewed both of the two short and one of the long raw edges. I covered the other long edge in binding tape, then folded the three unbound edges again and stitched it inside the bag low enough that the thread lines on the opposite side would be hidden underneath the 12 inch pocket.
|Outside pocket section (left) and main compartment (inside out) with inside pocket|
|View of inside pocket|
|Assembled bag sans edging|