Well, I finally finished it! Lately between all my little projects, I’ve been trying to get this bag done. It’s my submission for the Amy Butler Sew Inspiring Contest my cousin so kindly told me about. So, before I talk about the nitty gritty details, here it is!!!!
So, the main fabric is Amy Butler’s Lotus in slate. The black stuff you see wrapping around the bag is a used bike inner tube. The zipper is just a jean zipper I picked up at Joann’s. How the heck did I come up with this?
Dickson, of course. I told him about this contest, and got him to exercise his design skills to help me come up with something REALLY cool. Something that would be original and different than what I was used to doing. His idea was to use some more unconventional materials, and basically to breath life into something that would otherwise occupy precious garage or landfill space. Both Dickson and Mom are dedicated cyclists, so they both have a lot of bike tubes just…laying around occupying garage space. We also managed to scrounge up an old binder that was falling apart so I could use the cardboard piece as a bag bottom between the lining and exterior. I love bag bottoms.
Originally, this fabric was going to be used for a Frenchy bag I wanted to make myself a LONG time ago, but it’s been awhile and I lost a pattern piece, so it got pushed off. I showed Dickson the fabric after he rejected some other fabric choices I had, and he said that the tube and the Lotus/Slate fabric would complement each other well. He says deep down there’s some method to why, but I guess I don’t want to know the complexity hahah…anyway, so I was kinda apprehensive at first, but I decided to trust him, since so many of my projects he helps me with turn out fantastic.
Once we ironed out the basic shape and idea, his job was done and the rest was up to me. The first step required a call to my cousin…the fabric store doesn’t sell “bike tube needles”….and my universal needle was skipping stitches or botching up stitches when I was testing it out. So obviously some help was needed. The solution was a leather needle. YAY!
The bike tube wraps around the entire bag. It makes the strap, sides, and bottom of the bag.
I added a zigzag stitch across the seam for stability and also some decorative straight stitches (one orange and one blue line) as well. Yes, that was MY idea. The difficulty with this design was I had never made a bag that:
1) had a zipper closure
2) had a strap that wasn’t attached by sewing it into a seam
Yeah, I spent a whole dinner thinking about this, and I finally figured out the solution. Ugh, but it made sewing the bag SO difficult, just because there was so much bulk going on and so many layers to sew through (I think at one point I had: bike tube, interfacing, fabric, flannel lining, more interfacing, main fabric).
Anyway, all that hard work resulted in this gorgeous strap lined with the exterior fabric.
I added pockets to the bag…mostly because I LOVE pockets. So, obviously the lining had to have pockets.
The lining fabric is by Michael Miller. I added 4 pockets total, two on each side. One for my phone, one for my keys and chapstick, one for my pen, and one for other precious junk.
I also added an exterior pocket:
This one’s my favorite. From the other shots of the bag, you can see that I lined up the fabric so it super duperly coolly flows from the main panel. When we took my finished bag with us on our trip to the Getty, I slipped our bar of chocolate inside (99 cents from Ikea–DELICIOUS milk chocolate…you should go get some), and I also put our maps in there for easy access. BEST POCKET EVER. It closes with a magnetic closure. The piping is made from some orange contrast fabric I bought originally to go with these two fabrics. I used Lisa’s piping tutorial for the pocket.
Oh, so when I finished the exterior, it was a bit floppy on the main panels. I used Pellon 70 on the main panels plus a layer of flannel. Yeah, I guess it wasn’t enough when paired w/ the tube. So when I sewed the lining, I used some Peltex and it worked great. I used Leisl’s tips on sewing with Timtex to make my life a LOT easier.
Anyway, so it’s taken me about a month to make this bag. I have no clue if I could EVER duplicate it again. But I love it. It’s nearly weather-proof, I don’t have to worry about never using the fabric I bought for another bag, I expanded my bag sewing skills, and now I finally made a bag for myself that I can use DAILY. YES!
So here’s one more shot of my bag (as if you need to see more):
Oh, and if you want to know what was inside during this photo shoot? Wallet, keys, phone, chapstick, six oatmeal raisin cookies, two cutie clementies, a bar of chocolate, and a map of The Getty Museum. I’m cold in that picture because it just started raining. But I’m happy nonetheless. Now I can go start and finish my next small project….