It always makes me especially happy when I can officially elevate a sewing book from “love it” to “love using it”. Such is now the case with Bend-the-Rules-Sewing. The Pleated Beauty Bag was the first pattern to catch my eye on my initial skim through this book, and since it is Bag Month, it seemed only fitting to dive in without delay.
Although there are several steps in making this bag, none are particularly complicated. The real upshot of this bag, construction-wise, is that there end up being a lot of checkpoints, if you will, along the way. By the time you get to the all-important part where you join together the front and back to make the exterior, you have several matching points: the pleats at the top and the seams along the bottom in addition to the edges. Same goes for when you match the bag to the lining to finish the bag. It was a pleasant surprise not to have any tucks or puckering for a change when I came around the final turn, not to mention the bonus of the precisely-matched strips along the bottom.
Can you tell that I’m used to equating “bag-making” with “seam-ripping”? ahem
By the way, if you find the double-sided straps a little challenging, here’s a not-so-revolutionary tip: after you’ve pressed in the 1/4″ seam allowance, dab the raw edges of the lining strips with a washable glue stick and then adhere the lining to the exterior strips. (I then hit it again with the iron, but please pipe up if you know of any reason why this is a bad idea.) I was able to edgestitch the straps without any frustrating fabric shifts, which was probably way more exciting than it should have been.
The whole fabric selection process was, as usual, very different than I’d originally imagined. The piece that I ended up using for the pleats is from Valori Wells Sole collection, and was purchased with this bag in mind. I’d envisioned using it as the main fabric, though, with green pleated accents. Well, of course, none of the greens that I have on-hand were doing it for me, so I started playing around with other combos and noticed that it went surprisingly well with the FreshCut mums print, and I also happened to have a yellow piece for the lining that perfectly matched the one in the print – how serendipitous! What’s more, I still have enough of the Sole piece left to make a smaller bag sometime down the road, so it all worked out in the end.
While the Pleated Beauty Bag is a little larger than what I like for everyday running around, it is the perfect size for those times when I’m taking a project to-go. It’s also roomy enough to accommodate a couple of magazines, which is a huge plus in my book.
Really, though, as stalled as I’ve been the past couple of weeks (sewing-wise), I’m just so happy to have finished something – anything.