Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Wonderland Bag that Wasn't.


A couple of weeks ago I read through the directions for the Wonderland Bag from the book Big City Bags by Sara Lawson.
Wonderland Bag as pictured in Big City Bags by Sara Lawson.
Every month Angela from Sewing with Squeak host a linky party for a bag from the book. The Wonderland Bag is number 4.

From the beginning, I have struggled with the bags. My biggest struggle is just getting all the pieces cut out. There always seem to be soooo many. I don't know why I hate it so much. I have to constantly remind myself that I will not be defeated by this first step!

But even with that success, it is becoming pretty clear that I am not a great bag maker.
January's Bag.
For January's bag, I had left over pieces and my lining was saggy and much too large for the bag. Also, there was so much bulk in my seams that my machine had some troubles at the corners. But, in the end it turned out okay.

Month two I missed the deadline but did finish February's bag the first week of March.
Like this bag a lot.
This one went pretty quick for me and I am still carrying it for spring but I made a couple mistakes that mean the bag probably won't last me very long. Partially it was the fabric I chose, partially it was lack of experience with bag making.

{Memo: Bag Making is a skill that requires Yoda like patience, knowledge of all kinds of bag construction techniques, bag making tricks (that make the bag look professional) and even more knowledge about bag hardware; where and what to buy. And while I have books and the internet, much like all other sewing; to get really good at it takes time at the machine.}

In March we made a cute clutch purse.

Daughter took this one to prom.
This one went pretty well and left me excited for April's assignment. Not really any major mistakes or issues except with the zipper and the way the bag curved. Again, experience.

Then today and April's bag. One would think I would be getting better at bags now that we are on month 4. And when I read the directions in the middle of the month, I imagined this bag would go pretty quick. There weren't a tremendous amount of pieces to cut (yay!!) and the design is very straight forward but, as soon as the main fabric pieces were cut, I knew I was in trouble. The size of my panels, cut according to the directions, did not even come close to matching what I thought I saw in the book as far as size. I based that on a photo where Sara is holding the bag. There was no way my bag was going to turn out that size. The only way it would even come close was if I turned my fabric to make the larger measurement the width but my lining was directional and had already been cut and even if I turned it, it still seemed much smaller than the bag in the picture appeared.

I sat thinking things over and looking at the pictures of the Wonderland Bag. Truthfully, even if I tried again, cut more fabric and made the bag, it wasn't my style. I am short and big bags make me look shorter. What would I do with it? Did I really want to make the bag? The answer: No. If I am going to spend time, effort and money on a bag I should like it. Even if I were to give it away afterwards, I still should like something about it. It is not a bad bag, it is just not me and the thought of the effort to start over and try to figure out some workable measurements just didn't seem worth it.

But, now what? No Big City Bag for April and what to do with the cut fabric. It seemed about the right size for a toiletry case or a large zippered pouch. The fabric would work for a guy so why not make a case for my son? I used my favorite tutorial for a large cosmetic bag and ta-da....one zippered pouch for Cole.
Found a guitar applique online. Cute.

Used my machine blanket stitch which made it quick.

Had some fusible vinyl which I used to make the inside waterproof.

Cole was quite pleased with his bag and I got some experience with machine applique. I am going to link up with the linky party but my "Wonderland Bag that wasn't" shouldn't be included in the prize drawing. After all, it's the bag that wasn't and it's okay.


  1. You are so right about bag making and practice! I love all four of your bags including the Wonderland Bag that wasn't! Last months bag looked so pretty in the book,and I really disliked mine.

    The bag does look much larger in the photos in the book,I was surprised at the size difference too. Although I really like my bag,the photos are very deceiving as to the actual size.

    Glad that you were able to figure out a use for the already cut fabric,and ended up with a great gift in the end!

  2. It's crazy how big the bag looks on the chair compared to the actual fabric that is cut out. The chair must be REALLY small.

  3. I love your zipper pouch. I've literally thrown bags away half made b/c I've gotten so frustrated with them. At least you have something nice from the process! And I've decided the Sara Lawson must be extremely tiny, because I'm always thinking I'm making a huge bag...but it never looks so big to me once it's done. It's all a learning process. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Betsy,
      It will get better. After seeing others bags, I am thinking I may try again especially if the bag is not as large as I thought.

  4. Yes bag making is challenging. But it's a learning process too.

    Love the bags you made. Happy sewing!

  5. I love the guitar applique and as a fabric hoarder I'm happy you found a use for your fabric :) I love how all your bags came out. Pattern cutting is my least favourite part of sewing too, not sure why I hate it so much. You are welcome to be in touch with me if you want a list of suppliers for hardware.

    1. Tracey, yes! Would love a list. You are such a marvelous bag maker.