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Looks Like We Made It


Whew. That was much more arduous than it ever should have been. So many days. So many mistakes. In the end, though, I am surprised by how much I like this bag. Surprised because, to tell the truth, I wasn’t all that fond of it. The shape just didn’t do it for me, and there’s the whole matter of inserting the zipper, which fills me with dread, regardless of the fact that I now know how to work with zippers and haven’t had all that much trouble with them as of late. From this point forward, I’ll look back at this project and remember “Look, you totally can put in a zipper, OK?” That will be nice.

So, yes, I started out with plans to just wing the patchwork—just cutting and randomly piecing until that 15×18 (or whatever it was) rectangle emerges. After about two minutes, the pieces went in the trash and I remembered all of those nice strip-pieced blocks that I’d made in a fit of determination to whittle away at the growing heaps o’scraps, and thought about how nicely they would speed this process along. And speed it along they did: I sewed two patchwork squares together, added a border of the turquoise paisley and brown to the top and bottom, and there you go. Patchwork rectangle.

At this point I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Ms. Finny herself for the pep talk she gave me, and also for her idea that this bag could be used as a fine cosmetics bag. I don’t like the little metal-mesh lunchbox that I picked up a couple years ago at The Container Store anymore. It doesn’t look cute enough in our newly painted bathroom, but this will be a stylish alternative indeed. Also, be sure to check out her own cheater patchwork hint, which worked out beautifully for her bag. Cheaters never prosper? I beg to differ.

Anyway, the construction itself was pretty straightforward, which is something I’ve come to appreciate in this book’s patterns. Page after page of instruction, but the doing is nowhere near as difficult as that would make you think. The problem I have with that much text, though, is that I’m a skimmer when it comes to reading. I kid you not, I read the instructions “using the zipper foot…stitching close to the EDGE OF THE ZIPPER“. Italics mine; this is what my brain filled in for the words “zipper teeth“. Not at all the same thing, but I read it and re-read it the same way not once, or twice, but thrice. [I love when I can work in the word “thrice”.] Hello, seam ripper. Then I also sewed the lining on inside out, but at least I discovered that at the halfway point. Oh, and I put the side panels on the wrong way.

Some projects start off on the wrong foot and never seem to straighten all the way out.

Still, I have visions of a more subdued, less lengthy, strap-free version for a men’s travel toiletry bag. I think I’m going to have to give it a go. You see? The bag grew on me enough that I want to try it again, which has to be worth something.


4 responses »

  1. “Cheaters finish bags”, that is the new saying. And let’s not forget that every time I sew now I think back to your advice to read the pattern and not assume “that you have it” because “you do not.”

    Really, this rings in my head in a creepy yet funny way.

  2. Nice job!
    You are braver than I. I haven’t even read through the whole pattern!

  3. I think “Cheaters Finish Bags” is a t-shirt in the making. Awesome.
    And that bag? FABULOUS! I am so proud of you for your tenacity. Good for you!

  4. I’m almost ready to forgive you for putting a Barry Manilow song in my head!!!

    And when you attempt your men’s version of this, I hereby curse you with “Ready To Take A Chance Again” running through your brain.

    So, ha!

    (Oh, almost forgot to say how much I love the bag – I salute you!)


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