Late one night last week, as I zipped by a friend’s house to retrieve The Boy (who is thick as thieves with one of her boys, and they hatch plots constantly to wangle more time together), I walked in to a friend eager to see me. You see, she needed to construct a new church tote for a little niece, and was nervous about the geometry presented in the pattern we’d found on-line. Knowing the bag would go together quite nicely (it was drawn well!), I answered the prayers of my son, who had prayed over supper with his friend, “Please bless the Moms that they will visit for a really long time, so we can hang out more.” I stayed and helped make a bag.
Note To Self: when making bags at 10pm, remember that letters quilted onto the back side of a bag will be in reverse; a mirror image is necessary for things to work out properly, unless the recipient’s name starts with a T, or O, or X. This one? Started with a K. As ye sew, so shall ye rip. It all worked out.
When I got home, I took a fairly critical look at my current bag. It kind of looks like someone took a Vietnam-era military pack, and processed it through a cat. It is not terribly pretty anymore. Pictures do not do the lotion, sunscreen, and melted lip-stick oil stains justice. They cannot begin to detail the lingering bits of scrud, deep down in the seams. (Those aren’t shadows… they’re generalized grodiness and nasty.)
But the leather on the tabs, and the zippers are still in good shape, so I’ve been trudging on with this bag, waiting for I-don’t-know-what to inspire a change.
Enter: my son’s fervent prayer, and my friend’s geometry woes, and my fabric stash, and the wrapping up of a huge Real Life project on Saturday afternoon that freed me to create something new for me Saturday night!
So, I took the pattern, did a little fiddling to make it suit my size needs (it’s slightly shorter than the Large, but not so wee as the Small from the linked patten.) It’s a nearly-100% stash project… I did send The Boy and the Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal fellow out to match some deep brown thread. Instead of fusibles and heavyweight interfacing, I used what I had on hand: some ugly twill, and long-leftover scraps of cotton batting. I did random straight and wavy-line quilting on the exterior (in brown thread), and added a divided pocket (bound in the exterior fabric) on the inside, tailored perfectly to hold my favorite pens, lip balm, lipstitck, and powder compact.
(I also monkeyed around with the handle construction some, because I hate turning tubes of fabric. Instead, I cut the batting exactly the width I wanted, centered it on my exterior fabric, pressed the long edges of the fabric to the wrong side, and made a strip of lining fabric to match it, then arranged the lining on the batting/exterior strip, hiding all the raw edges, and topstitched the edges before adding quilting lines.)
I’m really tickled with my new bag! It holds everything I need it to hold for Sunday, without excess or bloat or losing things in the depths. It holds my compact scriptures, my everyday notebook, my Sunday notebook, and still has room for a wallet and keys when the weather gets nasty and I can’t walk to services. (I’m going to make a new wallet, too… high on craft success…)
The Little Girls have already expressed a deep and abiding desire for bags of their own, and I do believe I’ll draft up a pattern for a bitty messenger-style bag for them to take on our trip to Grandma’s later in the year. And maybe make the wee versions of my bag (in their own fabrics) for doll-mama bags. Or generalized dress-up. Or library books… I can see I’m going to have to restrain myself.
But OH! This is So Much Better!
I’m rebelling against mass-made totes. It’s really, really small rebellion, but makes me happy, all the same.