Nate and Miranda gave me some really awesome fabric for my birthday. I absolutely love it - so much so that I couldn't imagine using it just for the lining of a bag. I wanted it to be on the outside. The center of attention. I thought for awhile about what I wanted to make, and last week I came up with the idea for this. I finished sewing it all together tonight.
It's a gigantic tote bag. I've been carrying two bags to work every day: my orange knit purse, with all normal purse things - my wallet, my keys, my iPod, some lip goo, my deck of cards - and my green Natalie Dee "will knit for tattoos" tote bag (like this, but a tote, not a t-shirt), which I fill with my lunch, a pair of shoes to change into at work (I walk a few miles into campus each day), some lotion, a book, etc. It seemed silly to me to carry two bags every day.
I wanted it to have a sturdy bottom, so I used some teal vinyl for the bottom half. I think this will also help it look cleaner too. The fabric is mostly white, so I was worried that if I made a bag with the entire outside the pretty bird fabric it'd look dirty as soon as I sat it down somewhere.
I went a little bit more muted with the lining fabric than I usually do, just because there was so much going on on the outside. I bought the lining about ten months ago when I was just getting into sewing. It was on sale, so I got a few yards. Then I found other, more interesting fabric for linings and such, and I forgot that I had it. I was pretty pleased with how well it matched the darker pinkish color in the bird fabric.
I also decided to experiment with pockets. I've only really done a little patch pocket before. I wanted to figure out how to do something bigger. Since this is for me, I don't mind experimenting around, ripping things out, redoing, etc. I put in a bigger flap pocket (as well as a patch pocket - I need somewhere for my phone and lip goo). I like it, but I think next time I'll use something to make it a little sturdier, less floppy, and I'll insert it a little lower in the lining. This came up high enough that it got in the way of my topstitching. Multiple times. I sewed parts of the pocket closed three times. This made me swear.
It really is gigantic. I love it. And I have more birdy fabric in blue from Nate and Miranda. I'm already cooking up some ideas for it!
Also....I've got blisters on my fingers! I'm like Ringo Starr.
The straps for this are a little thinner than the ones I've made before. In turning them right-side-out for topstitching, the vinyl stuck more than usual and I couldn't turn it with my fingers alone. So I used a little wood dowel. It worked okay, but the vinyl still stuck. It took me about an hour and a half to turn both straps right-side-out, and by the time I was done I had a nice blister on my thumb, the bottom of my middle finger, and in my palm. It occurred to me, after the damage was done, that I should have just recut wider straps and saved myself an hour. Whoops.