Have you ever been possessed by a project idea? I mean so totally consumed that you had to make it? Me, too.
Most of my sewing time is spent making samples or art quilts. I don’t make bags. I have lots of bags and, truth be known, I prefer leather bags. That’s why it was such a surprise to find a bag pattern that haunted me.
I was in the WebFabrics booth in Houston last year. Carly always has such beautiful things and I always look. This time, she had a new line of patterns designed to work with the Bali Pops that took the quilt world by storm at Market the year before. These patterns, by Aunties Two, use the 2 1/2″ strips in Bali Pops (you could use Jelly Rolls by Moda) and cotton clothesline to construct bags and boxes. I saw the pattern, saw the sample, and began to buy. Carly’s a great marketer! Even though I already had some Bali Pops at home, the feeding frenzy had begun and I had to pick up a few more. Why not one of each?
If I was going to make one of these beauties, I had to make one I’d actually use. I thought about going with all black, but I love batiks and decided to throw caution to the wind and embrace my inner color diva. I like red and so I decided to go with Strawberry Fields. This combination had some orange and just a little purple. What more could I want?
What more could I want?! Time to sew and time to play with fabric. My quilt guild’s spring retreat was the perfect time to try this pattern. I sat next to my good friend Kathy Lincoln. Kathy teaches this bag class at the Quilt Patch, the same shop where I teach art quilting. (Quilt guilds, she also offers this as a workshop!) If you’re in the DC Metro area, think about signing up. She’s offering the class again in January. Oh, and the Quilt Patch has a lovely selection of Bali Pops in the Batik Room.
I got out my 30-year-old mechanical Pfaff in case the clothesline proved hard to sew and I got busy. I sat next to Kathy, who guided me the whole way through the process. I could have done it with only the pattern, but a good teacher makes all the difference.
I sewed all of the strips together, end-to-end, not worrying about the color arrangement. Then I covered the clothesline, making a very, very long snake-like cording. Last, I used the widest zigzag my machine would do to sew the cording into a coil.
Easy, peasy! Of course, I had to change the pattern slightly by adding leather handles rather than fabric ones.
Did you notice that the sides of the bag in the pattern picture are straight and mine are angled out? I call this a design accident. The sides are meant to be straight, but I wasn’t very good at following directions and this was the result. I like it.
And so the next time a pattern calls out to you and won’t shut up, answer the call. I’m glad I did.