Sewing: Part Review – Part Tutorial

So my girl child has started swimming and she has been needing a good swim bag desperately. I looked around for something to buy and then I started looking into bag patterns. I found a tutorial that I thought would work and even better it had a built in “wet bag” so I went for it. I ordered some canvas cotton material and this past weekend I got to work.

This is the tutorial that I used. Now, the tutorial does mention that this bag is big. But honestly – this bag was big. Think Ikea bag. It was too much and I was so frustrated. I checked the dimensions on my cutting mat and it seemed like a good size, but really it was too large. I spent the next few days taking the bag back apart and today I shrunk it down and finished it up. I made a few modifications along the way so I thought I would share them.

This is the original bag. It’s really hard to tell how big it is, but there is a giant bag of fabric sitting inside of it – like a trashbag size bag. I’m telling you this bag was super big.

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REVIEWS AND CHANGES

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For fabric, I used a cotton canvas for the print and instead of using a nylon I used PUL fabric, which is mostly used for cloth diaper covers. I wanted to use something that was more waterproof than just nylon so I splurged and spent a little more money for that. The wet bag, the lining sides and the lining bottom are all with the PUL.

First off, here’s my dimensions:

front/back panels 20×18
side panels 18×7
bottom panel – after quilting cut 20×7

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For the bottom, I actually left it the original size from the first bag and decided to quilt it to make it a little more hefty on the bottom. I sandwiched a thin piece of batting between two layers of the canvas and just quilted lines about a half inch apart.

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I am super glad that I did this extra step because it gives the bag a good shape for the bottom. I kind of wish I would have quilted the sides too, but I’m not about to take this bag apart again!

Construction wise, the biggest change was how I did the bottom compared to the instructions.  The instructions tell you to stitch up the 4 panels and then sew the bottom on and then sew the last side together at the end. I tried that the first go round and it ended up super wonky. The second time, I sewed all the sides together, leaving me with a rectangular box shape and then sewed the bottom on starting with one of the short sides.

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I added a pocket on the other inside with sections. I decided to make a larger pocket with divided sections for her glasses, goggles and hair ties etc versus just one pocket.

So there we go. Honestly it was a great lesson in what I just wrote about for Seamwork Magazine. It was crazy how confident and powerful I felt after taking this thing apart that I’d super failed at and piecing it back together successfully. It was a great way to cap off the day.

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TSNEM: Sewing Date Traveler

I had intentions to try something else this month, but alas February is a short month and it is sort of flying out from under me like the Concorde. I started this bag at the beginning of the month and I realized that I wasn’t going to finish it if I didn’t have some sort of higher goal. Therefore, I introduce to you my Try Something New Every Month for February.

Sewing date traveler. TSNEM February

This bag is a free pattern from the Robert Kaufman website called the Sewing Date Traveler bag. I saw it on instagram and I’ve been looking for a different bag to carry my supplies in when I take my sewing from place to place. I thought this bag would fit the bill perfectly. And it does – sort of.

The fabric consists of a few favorites that I’ve had stashed for a while. The campers is a Birch fabric that is at least 3 years old. I bought it with the intention of making something for my husband with and finally realized that I had no clue what to make with it for him so I decided to be selfish and use it for myself. The hexagons I bought on a trip to Textile Fabrics and was just a happy yard I picked up. I had thought about making a tank top with it for the summer and I’m sort of weeping a bit that I didn’t buy more yardage. It has a lovely feel to it and honestly would have made a great shirt.

Sewing date traveler. TSNEM February

This pattern started out pretty well. My biggest issue from the beginning was that I chose the wrong sort of zipper. I had a zipper in my stash and honestly was trying to make this bag without having to go buy supplies so I used it. I realized pretty early on that I was going to have to make some modifications. I think my zipper was a jacket zipper (the tag was missing) and so it didn’t have any sort of tail on the zipper stop end. Big mistake. In the end though, I figured out how to make it work.

Sewing date traveler. TSNEM February

Overall, putting the bag together was actually pretty smooth. I’ve never made a bag with an insert like the zipper pocket in the middle and honestly this is by far the most complicated bag I’ve ever made. There was really only one spot at the end where I was really confused with why the directions said to do something. They had you preattached the lining and honestly, either I read it wrong or something but I don’t know why you would do that if you are going to enclose the whole top edge with binding anyhow. But again, I made it work.

Sewing date traveler. TSNEM February

In the end, I do love how it turned out and I do think a lot of it is due to how much I love the fabric. It’s a little wonky on the inside, partly because I’m thinking the hexagon fabric was almost too thin for this purpose and partly because of just general sewing hiccups. I’m happy I tried something new and finished it. And I’m happy to have a new bag to carry. I’m on the fence with whether I would try this bag again, but part of me wants to just to see if I can fix some of my mistakes. We shall see. I’m betting my mom is going to want one. 🙂

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