Wednesday, March 9, 2011

call me ishmael...

well, my entry for the audition round of So You Think You’re Crafty was…

(drumroll please)

leather bag_4342 
lovin the "vanna" hand, aren't you?

my diaper bag!!

so, it was supposed to be anonymous. and i did, really, try my hardest. do you know how precisely i had to place that bag to cover my big pregnant belly? i will admit that my freckled arms gave me away to my cousin (and some other features which we won’t talk about because this is a FAMILY blog people.)

anyway, i placed a respectable fourth which gives me entry into this “season” of SYTYC. nerves!! did you see that reading light???

we weren’t required to have a tutorial for our entry project. i tried taking photos of the whole process…but anyone who’s ever tried that knows how much TIME it adds to the endeavor when you’re attempting to document the whole thing.

fancy way of saying: i gave up.

so consider this a director’s cut if you will. like a little “behind the scenes making of”.
welcome to the Inner Workings of Googiemomma’s Mind.

fair warning: it’s gonna be long. it was a complicated project (and, face it, i'm a wordy gal). i don’t blame you for cutting out early. but i’ll try hard to keep it interesting. enjoy the ride.

we start with an idea. i’m diggin the diaper bags that don’t LOOK like diaper bags. no need for disney characters or pink bows to advertise “this bad boy is full of STINKY DIAPERS--not cash!”.
i had a bunch bookmarked on my computer as inspiration. they all had price tags with 3 digits--$xxx. NO WAY that was happening.

i found this tutorial where she explains how to make a bag with an interior divider. it was the ONLY tute of it’s kind that i found. (warning: if you’re not a sewer, it makes for extremely dry reading)

then i did a practice run to work out the kinks:


the leather & fabric were scraps from work, the hardware i ripped off an old bag i had. all free. it’s not perfect, but i like it.

and it gave me the confidence to tackle my big project. this is something i’ve had lurking in the back of mind virtually since i found out i was pregnant with five. but it was nerve-wracking. it’s a lot of leather and fabric to waste if it didn’t look good enough to use. and as any sewer knows—we’re our own worst critics. i have experimented with bag making before (see here and here), but never anything to this scale.i decided to take the plunge. that's why i named it my "white whale".

my supplies:
dark chocolate leather, some embossed basketweave leather, my two fabrics and iron-on vinyl (both from joannes), and a hardware kit purchased here (i didn’t have an exact plan in mind when i bought it, but it was a good price and seemed to have everything i could need)

then i worked out my “plan”:

leather bag_4345

i’m so precise, right? but patterns fall under the same heading as rulers.

about 2 hours of figuring and cutting later i had this:

dats alotta pieces. deep breath.

start your (sewing machine) motors folks, here we go.

first i cut and ironed on the vinyl to my lining pieces.

this stuff is so cool. i have wanted to work with it for a while, and this was the perfect application. i used a coupon so the 2 yard package cost $5.

next i sewed on all my interior pockets:

i was super excited at this point. the elastic pocket at the bottom there? oh yeah. like i said, we're our own worst critics. so when i manage to cobble together something that--to me--doesn't look completely shoddy and homemade (in a bad way) i tend to get a bit over-excited.

then comes assembly. i put the center pocket with zipper together first, and attached everything from there out.

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the key to the center pocket, or any interior divider in a bag, is that your boxing (the long outside piece) is not one piece. it's separate pieces that all attach. like a big sandwich. simple, but duhhhh...(or maybe i'm the last one to figure that out. please just let me be happy in my ignorance if so.)

you also have to leave a big opening in one side of the lining to turn the whole thing later. it’s kind of hard to see on this fabric so i have created this handy photo, labeled so you can better understand the last two instructions:

clear as mud, no? 

next comes exterior construction…
one side with large pocket…

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and the other with two smaller pockets…

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and attached the two with the exterior boxing (which got a cell phone pocket before being sewn on)

leather bag_4326 

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i reinforced the bottom to stiffen it and made sure to put in all my snaps and closures as i went.

i was so excited. and then…


i got a little too cocky i suppose.
it was a big boo-boo. fixable, but it took quite a while.

(it was also at this point that i decided to add the other hooks on the side for an optional longer strap. so you can see them in the following photos. but i didn't make the long strap yet.)

final steps: attach the handles

 leather bag_4331 leather bag_4332

and sew the insides and outside together.

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that sentence really doesn't do the process justice: sew the inside and outsides together. it much a much more nervewracking and momentous occasion than the feeling that that simple sentence imparts.

i may have played "chariots of fire" on my ipod whilst i completed this epic act of stitchery.
sometimes i'm dramatic like that.

i guess the real final step was to fill it with junk important baby related items and photograph for the contest…

leather bag_4335 leather bag_4336 leather bag_4341
there i go...hiding that ginormous belly again. but leaving my freckled pale arms out for your viewing pleasure. i have FAT ELBOWS. srsly...11 more weeks. i am carrying this baby everywhere. even, apparently, in my ELBOWS.
i’m so happy with how it turned out. i can’t wait to start using it when five makes her debut!

before then i would like to get some more of the lining fabric and vinyl and make a matching diaper changing pad. and i may use that fabric to make a faux chenille blanket to match.

that is, if we ever pick a name for this child…

so there you have it. thanks for reading! and if you voted for my project—thanks for that too!! (if you didn’t, well, then, pthhhbbtthh to you)

linkying here:
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