Thursday, January 11, 2018

Christmas FO: Mix Tape Bag

So we've finished my many year end round ups, but I can't quite let 2017 lie yet. I still have to blog the items I made as Christmas gifts :) I'm going to blog them in chronological order of when I made them, so let's start with this cute bag!
When it came time to decide what to make as gifts for my family this past Christmas, I'm honestly not sure what put this pattern into my head. I've had the Sew Sturdy: Travel Organizers Craftsy class for quite a while, but I had never watched it let alone made a bag. When planning for Christmas, I decided that it would be a nice gift to give, but knowing it would be a fairly involved project I decided to tell my two recipients my plans as see what customizations they might want - if I'm going to put that much work into a project, I want to make sure it will be something they will enjoy. I presented my sister, Shannon, with the idea of making a bag to hold all of her cross stitching supplies. Cross stitching is her one old lady habit :) She said she liked that idea, and that she would want it to hold patterns, 2 thread boxes, and maybe her little zipper bag of notions. She wanted the fabric to be a surprise. She said, "It can be fun, but not too crazy," which I interpreted as what I've made. So let's take a look at the bag!
The bag is called the Everything In Its Place Organizer Bag by Annie Unrein. I believe you can buy the individual pattern from, but it also comes as a pdf download with the Craftsy class. The bag is a suitcase style zip open organizer that measures about 14" x 11" and 4" deep (if I remember correctly - I forgot to measure them and the pattern doesn't say). The pattern includes making this bag as well as making pocket pages - which I did not need for Shannon, but I did end up making for my other sister, Marisa. Check back soon for a post on that bag. The bag I made for Shannon just has pockets along the inside covers of the bag.
The bag has great structure and stands up easily by itself - the bag is empty in these photos - and this is due to the foam stabilizer. The pattern recommends Soft and Stable, which is a By Annie's product (who teaches the class), but I had Bosal In-R-Form fusible stabilizer on hand which Sara from Sew Sweetness says is a good substitute in her patterns, so I went with that. For Shannon's bag, I thought she might like this cassette tape print from the Geekly Chic quilting cotton line. I had 2 fat quarters I grabbed at some point, so I did not have enough for the entire bag. I actually am really glad I had to pick coordinating fabrics, but it did make gauging how much fabric I needed a challenge since not only was I using more fabrics than the pattern is written for but I also wasn't making the pocket pages which use a lot of fabric, nor was I quilting the bag which also takes extra fabric that you trim away. When all was said and done, I used:
  •  2 fat quarters for the main panels and the handle (using the scraps for little pieces like the extra inside pocket and the pocket trim)
  • 1/2 yard black and white houndstooth quilting cotton from Hobby Lobby
  • 1/3 yard of the acid green atomic print quilting cotton (from my stash)
  • 1/2 yard of purple broadcloth for bias binding
  • 1/2 yard of Bosal In-R-Form fusible 
  • 1/4 yard of clear 12 gauge vinyl from Hobby Lobby

The zipper was a seriously lucky thrift store find. I grabbed a bag with 15 yards of zipper tape and a box full of zipper pulls for something like $2 a few months ago not knowing what I would use it for. Technically this is the wrong type of zipper - this is a sport style with thick plastic teeth and Annie recommends a handbag or dressmaker's zipper because you can sew through the teeth of those while the one I used is technically too big. I made it work, but it was a challenge and I broke a few needles in the process. Doesn't it look good though? I threaded the pulls on at opposite ends to get the double opening zipper. Since I had no instructions, I had to watch a you tube video, but I figured it out thankfully.
The insides have just a couple of pockets. I made one vinyl pocket following the video's instructions and I used the cassette tape fabric for the trim (basically I was trying to use that anywhere I could). I changed the pattern and made the fabric pocket on the other side myself. I used two rectangles of the green fabric, one with Pellon SF101 interfacing fused to it - sew them together along one long side - press them right side out. I had some decent size rectangles of the cassette print, so I made a smaller pocket the same way (interfacing one side) but sewing it completely around and flipping it before top stitching it to the larger pocket. Totally easy change to make. I didn't think Shannon would need the mesh pockets the pattern suggests, nor would she need a zippered pocket since all she wants to use them for are paper patterns and books.
As you can see the pockets are the perfect size for patterns :) I hope she can easily fit all hers inside.
The height of the bag turned out to be perfect for 2 boxes of thread plus there is a nice little area around them to add a notions bag.
This is the bag closed with the boxes still inside - perfect! She could even add the thickness of some patterns and it would still close just fine.
I did have one little snafoo with sewing the stabilizer sleeve at the top of the bag. This area is technically a pocket - you sew it with velcro at the top edge to keep it closed and once the bag is sewn you add a piece of heavy cardboard or something to keep the bag from "pooching" when you use the handle. Everything was fine until I was sewing the binding to enclose the seam allowance at the zipper edges. I forgot about the pocket and sewed right through its top edge :/ There were so many lines of stitching in that line from the velcro and everything that I had no idea which thread to snip if I was to rip it out, so I just went with it. I used 2 pieces of flat cardboard panting canvas cut to measure and slide them in at the side, then basted the edges closed. I sewed the rest of the bag together with this hard stuff in there already, which definitely made things trickier to get my machine around, but it worked out ok. I figure that a cross stitch supplies bag will probably not need to be washed in the machine, so it will be fine. And it looks so nice inside with that binding :)
I did have one other (more) unfortunate incident. When trimming the bias binding after getting it completely sewn around the bag (both passes), I snipped a hole in my binding :O I was not happy. This bag was completely finished at that point and had to sit in my room for over a week until I finally buckled down to cover it up. The only thing I could do was cover it with a small piece of binding and I hand sewed it with a ladder stitch to try and keep it less visible. I don't think it would be noticeable if you didn't know it was there.
So that's the particulars of this bag :) Frankly I would've kept it for myself, lol, but it was Christmas so... Shannon got lucky. This was a very involved project - from watching the class to gathering the supplies to sewing - but it was a very rewarding one because the finished bag looks so professional. My whole family kept commenting on how it looked factory made (to which I said, "How dare you question my skills.")

I definitely liked this Craftsy class to make this with as it made the entire process much easier. Frankly, that pattern was very complicated without the video class to explain. I guess it's because I haven't made a lot of bags, but since this technically has no pattern pieces (just instructions on what size rectangles to cut), it got pretty confusing given the changes I made with fabric types and whatnot - the class made the pattern much more understandable. Plus Annie gives a lot of extra tips and explanations as to why you should do things a certain way, which is always nice. I'm glad to have given this pattern a try and to have a nice and custom gift for Shannon this year. I think I fulfilled the prompt of "fun but not too crazy," and it fulfills needs she has in a bag. She says she likes it, so let's hope she's telling the truth, ha ha.

If you like this bag, check bag in a few days for my second bag I made from this pattern where I made the entire pattern with the insert :)

Fabric: 2 fat quarters of Geekly Chic by Amy Adams, 1/2 yard purple broadcloth, 1/2 yard black and white Hounds tooth, 1/3 yard acid green atomic print cotton
Pattern: Everything In Its Place Organizer by Annie Unrein (from Craftsy's Sew Sturdy: Travel Organizers Class)
Notions: Bosal In-R-Form fusible foam interfacing, Pellon SF101 fusible interfacing, 38" of zipper by the yarn in white, thread, heavy card stabilizer sleeve, soft velcro
Time: 8 hours

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