And it came from a real pattern! *Gasp!*
That rarely happens. I may have control issues, because I simply cannot follow directions. I'll read the pattern and interpret it my own way sometimes by accident, but usually on purpose. Not that I didn't do that a lot this time, but I still finished it, accidentally-on-purpose mistakes and all.
It's a diaper/messenger/book/whatever bag for my sister-in-law Jessica. She already has a great diaper bag, but it's gigantic. I remember when my baby was about six months old, I got really sick of dragging around a huge bag plus my own separate purse. I like this design because you could use it for your own things and just enough baby things to get you through one event/activity/day of errands. And depending on your fabric choice, it wouldn't have to look like a diaper bag. I also like the messenger bag style. I love the look of purses with little handles or straps, but I have oddly-shaped shoulders that cause any kind of strap to slip right off. And you know if I have to carry a bag I'll put it down and forget it. So I like the long, hands-free strap that you can wear across your body.
The stitching on the strap is horrendous. This is one of those parts of the pattern that I skimmed over, thought I knew where it was going, but obviously did not. I ended up with a messy seam right down the middle in contrasting white thread. Why, oh why didn't I buy matching thread??
Also I think I may have mixed up the gusset piece and the strap piece because my strap wasn't long enough and the gusset ended up being trimmed. The strap was meant to have a sliding buckle thingie so that you could adjust the length. Oh well, I don't think I could've figured out the installation process anyway. (It's one of those things like using mirrors to drive in reverse or folding down interlocking box tops that I will never get. Must be the same part of the brain that controls playpen folding. Closely related to the violent part of the brain that tells me to kick the stupid thing because it won't cooperate.)
Anyway, here's what the bag is supposed to look like:
Look at that nice straight topstitching on the strap!
That's by the fabulous designer, Bari J. Ackerman. I love following her blog, she's so inspiring. Here's another look, from the Lill Street Messenger Bag pattern photo:
The fabrics used are both from two of her three gorgeous lines, Country Lane and Art Journal. Of course, my favorite is her third, Full Bloom. She used it in her amazing quilt, Garden Tea Party. It's actually available as a free download here.
Isn't that gorgeous?! I love the collage border, so unique. My mom loves to quilt, but so far I've successfully resisted the urge to try it. Now I think I'll have to!
Anyway, back to the diaper bag. Jessica loves woodland-y stuff, that's what inspired me to make it for her in the first place. When I went to the fabric store to pick out the bag fabric for myself, I saw the Michael Miller Hedgehog fabric, and I immediately thought of her. It's neutral enough for a baby boy, but not too juvenile for a handbag. Here's the back:
When it comes to sewing, I'm like a bad cake decorator. I make a mistake, and instead of trudging back to the fabric store for another yard, picking out the stitches, and starting over, I choose to add a cover-up. But sometimes I have to add cover-ups to cover up my cover-ups.
Like this little makeup bag to go inside the diaper bag:
I made it up as I went along. I know what you're thinking, how hard can it be to make a simple little rectangular bag? If it involves me and a zipper, then very hard! Plus my machine doesn't have a zipper foot. And the zipper was too short. so I added the little strap. But the stitching was so bulky and messy. So I had to add the buttons. And I put the zipper in wrong anyway, so I had to hide the messy seam. Hence the backstitched wool yarn. With a leather needle and a pair of pliers. *facepalm*
More of my disastrous topstitching:
Again, not entirely my fault. My ancient machine doesn't have a walking foot either, so I was trying to stuff four layers plus buckram through a regular one. So maybe I lost control a few times. Stop and correct? Pffbt. Sorry Jessica.
Overall, I really enjoyed making this. It only took two evenings. I'd like to say that none of my failures were in any way the fault of the pattern, just my own laziness and ineptitude. I love the way these designer patterns are so unique and personalized compared to the typical brands you see at the craft store. They have a handmade look and feel, with special little touches. She has a few more I'd like to try:
I'm thinking about grading the pattern down to a small handbag size and using solid color fabric with contrast stitching. Maybe add some pompoms and ricrac? You know I won't have a choice when I mess it up anyway!