Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A New Bag (for me!)

About a year and a half ago, my mother-in-law made me a handbag/diaper bag and I loved it from the time I opened it. I adore the fabric she chose and I loved how big it was, without being super massive. I loved it so much that I used it every day and little by little it started to fall apart. I did small repairs here and there, but now the straps are nearly threadbare. I was really sad, but also kind of stoked that it gave me reason to make my own bag, and tailor it to my exact needs.
I started by really thinking about what I need in a bag - I really wanted a zippered pocket to carry along and keep clean one spare diaper and a few wipes. K is potty trained, but when we go on long train trips, I still put him in a diaper. He is extremely good about waiting and has yet to use the diaper, but I am so nervous that the time will come and we will be stuck between train stations. I also wanted a small pocket to fit just my phone and keys. Additionally, I wanted a pocket for K's drink, one for my drink and another one to hold hand sanitizer and tissues - the things that always get stuck in the bottom of my messy bag. I, obviously, couldn't find a pattern that suited all of those "needs," so instead I found a pattern in a sewing magazing for the outside of the bag, and then completely ignored the instructions for the lining.
Once the outside of the bag was chosen, I bought some fabrics that I love. I think that my mother-in-law's fabric choice was the main reason that I love the bag that was gifted to me. Anyway, on to the bag.
I started by cutting out all of the outside fabric and then got working on the pocket.

Once the pocket was sewn together, I worked on the outside of the bag. The design has a little wave in it. I don't think the pattern said much about how to do this, but I had sewn something on a wave before (I can't think of what it was) and it turns out it is really easy to do. Line the tops of the fabric up as perfectly as possible and just sew. It seems a bit scary since the sides don't match up, but it turns out beautifully!

Then I flipped the pocket right side out and sewed a double line across the top. This project solidified my desire for a double needle. Look at how crooked the lines are.

Then I sewed it onto the bag, trying to match up the fabrics as closely as possible. I LOVE how the pocket extends into the hipster deer material.

The next step was to literally poke a hole in the bag so I could insert some rivets. This terrified me. I have never used rivets before, but the pattern called for it and I love the look of them. That being said, I hate cutting fabric. All I could think about was that if I mess this up, I would have to recut all of my fabric and then resew it. I was really scared.

Turns out, it is pretty fool-proof and also pretty awesome. It takes a bit of strength to get the rivet in tightly. I could only get it in a little ways, I had to have Y take a few slams at them once he got home from work.

But look how cool they are! They make the bag look so much more professionally made. I am in love with the rivet detailing in this bag.

Now that the outside was ready, I had to work on my lining. As above, I had a number of pockets that I wanted in this bag. I got to measuring and it seemed they would all fit. Yahoo! I started with a small welt pocket to hold my phone and keys. I had never done a welt pocket before and it includes cutting into your main fabric, so again, I was a tad nervous. Again, as luck would have it, it is not nearly as challenging as one might think. That being said, my welt pockets are not the cleanest and I am happy I did not put them on the outside of say a pair of shorts.

Once I had conquered the small pocket, I got on to the bigger, zippered pocket for the diaper and wipes. After that came the drink and sanitizer pockets. For these, I just did a strip across and then divided it into three sections.

Once the lining was done, I moved to the straps. I deviated from the original pattern on this bit as well. I loved the straps on my last bag, so I copied those. It was just two long strips, sew each one with the long ends together, flip and press so the seam is on the underside of the strap. Then topstitch the two long edges. I basted them to the lining of the bag and finally sewed the lining and outside together.

Once the bag was done, it was time for more rivets! Although this was my last, last, last step, I wasn't nearly as scared this time around. I measured where I wanted the rivets and marked the spots - two for each point where the straps meet the bag - eight in total.

I like poking holes now that I know it isn't scary and that the result looks so good. 

Once again, I had to wait for Y to get home from work to tighten up the rivets, but I definitely gave it a few cracks!

Y has a really weird work schedule due to some training he is doing, so he has Mondays and Tuesdays off for a while. Luckily, today (Wednesday) was a public holiday so we ended up with a three-day weekend! Late last week, I looked up the weather for the weekend and it was supposed to be beautiful - sunny and in the 70s. Given that I am only getting bigger at this point and then we will have an infant, K starts school soon, and the amazing weather, I thought we should go on a quick holiday. Y did some research and we settled on Shirahama - a beautiful beach town on the Pacific coast, famous for their pandas.

We went yesterday and did all of the standard sightseeing things. We went tidepooling, hiking over massive rocks, and were on the path to seeing a gorgeous sunset until the clouds got in the way. We finished the night by going to the beach and playing in the sand in the dark. K had a ball. The forecast changed and it was meant to rain all day today and be a bit cooler (mid 60s), so we got up early and headed to the beach. K spent ages playing in the sand. It was such fun to watch. After the beach, we went to Adventure World and saw the pandas, went on a little safari and saw some sealife as well. K also went on his first rollercoaster - Y was scared, but K apparently laughed the whole time! We also completely dodged the rain. As we were on the bus headed to the train station to catch our train home, it started pouring - what luck!

I finished the bag late last week, so this was it's first real test run. I loved it. It kept everything so organized and was big enough to fit some extra things like a fleece that I totally didn't need.

Also, on Friday I am 20 weeks pregnant. That means I am halfway to meeting my baby!!! Although this photo doesn't do my stomach justice, trust me when I tell you I just keep getting bigger.

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