Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Bag Endeavor

This is the beginning of a long story. My affair with Amy Bulter and the ultimate Bag Endeavor.
I started off by purchasing Amy Butler's Style Stitches: 12 Easy Ways to 26 Wonderful Bags by Amy Butler - Yet another irresistible craft book with wonderful photography and a set of patterns in the back.

It seemed so economical, as patterns usually cost between $10-$30 each. The only problem with these gorgeous books is that I usually buy them, look at them and file them on my shelf. I am determined not to do that again!

On the insistence of Madhu, one of my ever loyal and encouraging sewing students, it's my plan to make every bag in this book. It will take several months, even with my students pitching in to do their part. It really hasn't been that hard to convince them to take up a bag project of their own. These bags are gorgeous and totally challenging.

The tote pictured above is called: . I made it for my friend Kristen. This was the first bag I started and it took me a couple of months, working on it a couple of hours each week.

Each bag is a complex project of it's own. They make wonderful gifts, but it will be hard to part with once you finish.

To the left, pictured is the flight bag. Nancy is making this out of an old Ikea Curtain with an awesome print.

The first step is cutting out all the pattern pieces out of the main fabric, inside fabric, applique fabric. This will take a couple of hours. I try to keep them with the pattern pieces. There are a lot of rectangles in Amy Butler's work, so don't forget to label your pieces, as it gets confusing really fast.

Nancy keeps on cutting....and we haven't even gotten to the complex system of interfacing.

The next project pictured is the _____clutch. It comes in two sizes. I decided to do the small version. This small bag looks simple, but don't be fooled. it has a very complicated pocket system on the inside. While it's difficult to complete, the pockets are a great asset to this bag once it's finished.

After cutting out all the pattern pieces and interfacing, I started putting it all together. You will start with the main body of the bag. There is a whole technique Amy Butler uses with interfacing and Peltex, where the Peltex (stiffer interfacing) is cut smaller than the fusible interfacing, and placed on the wrong side of the fabric, positioned very carefully. The fusible is then placed over the Peltex and fused to the fabric/Peltex. It allows the seam allowances to be less bulky while keeping the body of the bag reinforced.

The main bag and flap are then sewn separately.

The magnetic snaps positioned and secured.

The handle finished and stitched to the flap.

The inside card pocket completed.

The lining (with zipper pocket!) completed.

Then you get to stitch it all together! Eventually the inside card pocket gets sewn to the lining and the lining gets placed and sewn delicately into the main bag. It's done! This one took me about a month to finish and I topped it off with a great Broach that came from the Alameda Antique Fair.

Lots of Fun and lots of Work. This one took me about a month, working on it a few hours each week.

Good luck with your projects and I'll be posting more progress soon!

1 comment:

Please leave a comment!