Sunday, October 27, 2013

Messenger bag

Recently there was a Bag making virtual event on Artisan's Square, a news group in English on just about all areas of sewing. To participate in the virtual event, one need to choose a bag to make. I chose to make a modification of the Don Martin messenger bag. I love the bag, but it was too big, not something I would use. I also had some size constraint caused by my choice of outer bag fabric.

Choice of fabric. For 50 euro cents I recently purchased a beautiful, fabric wise, A-line wool skirt. When purchased, the skirt was dirty and wrinkled, as such it was in the "take it for almost nothing" bin. There were two of them. One was grey and the other was blue. Both were in a size extra large. They had been sewn by someone with less than exacting sewing skills. The machine used to sew the skirts had its bobbin tension adjusted so loose that the bobbin thread just pulled out. It is a wonder that the skirts held together when worn. I thanked the person who made the garment for that as I took it apart.
First order of business was to wash both skirts. No special precautions were taken, both were just tossed into the washer on warm with a load of darks.  Both may have shrunk a little, but they both came out of the wash beautifully clean and ready for a project after they were line dried.
The blue one was taken apart, and after pressing, the 4 pieces were measured for possible purse size. Based on not wanting to have a seam on the main portion of the bag, here are the bag's measurements, on Don's pattern for the outside of the bag. These measurements do not include seam allowance.
I built a paper model to make sure I liked the dimensions. The other outside piece, the front flap measures  10"x 6.5" again without seam allowance.
Now for the inside of the bag. I wanted to reuse the skirt zipper for the pocket on the inside of the bag and, on hand, I had several zippers to choose from, from old blue jeans, for the outside pocket of the bag.
As usual things that could be used for and on the bag were assembled all in one place.
Months ago, my Bernina 180 was in the shop being repaired. I am lost without a sewing machine. Knowing I was about to be machine-less for weeks and maybe longer, I bought the bottom of the line Bernina, the B215. Even more fun for the future, I would have a machine to use while my 180 was busy embroidering something.
I also splurged and bought the Punch needle attachment for the machine.
That was months ago that I made that purchase and the punch needle attachment had not yet been put though a test as to whether it was a good purchase or if I should have left that capability for a stand alone machine.
Inspiration for the design on my bag:
The inspiration bag is from a Japanese magazine from 2010. I have misplaced the name of the magazine, but I loved the use of grapes and leaves on the bag.
I wanted to use my punch attachment So I designed something.
The curved lines were traced off onto the front flap piece of the bag using a chalk pencil:
 Using yarn left over from other projects, some pieces of hand dyed wool, a felted sweater found at a yard sale, I put my punch tool onto my machine. Easy installation, so far so good.
It is good to make a sample first, which can be seen on the photo of all of the assembled item for the bag. The sample worked beautifully so taking a deep breath it was time to punch the actual project. Here it is:
Stabilizer - just a word about stabilizer... in making a bag, to get that professional finish, use a fusible stabilizer. This bag took a medium weight fusible which was ironed onto the back of the two outside blue wool bag pieces. the flap was fused after the punching was completed, then the flap was then cut to size.
Ignoring any directions given for construction of the bag by Don, the top of the bag was assembled. A flap pocket with a zipper was installed using one of the old zippers from a pair of blue jeans. Look closely at the picture and there is a greenish piece of canvas that was added to the inside of the bag giving the bag more stability.
The lining was stabilized with a light weight fusible interfacing and then the pockets were sewn on. lesson learned from past bags is to always make the inside of the bag a light color so that you can find things at the bottom of the bag. The pocket and the zipper were installed 2.5" below the top of the lining piece.
Constructing the bag, wherever possible. the green canvas was cut without seam allowance to reduce bulk.
At a yard sale recently was a roll of blue belt webbing of the perfect color to match the bag. The black strap buckle was the only item purchased specially for the project.
Here it the completed project:

 Here it the completed inside:
Finally for a "pop" of color, what you see when the outside pocket is unzipped:

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