Twofer Tuesday 1: Messenger bag, polymath style

Solve this equation:

(2 yards of Spider Man fabric + approx. 2 yards of black fabric + aida cloth + bias tape)Sam’s frustration = ?

You probably guessed, based on the title…

A Spidey messenger bag!

A few posts ago, I mentioned making a tote bag out of the remaining fabric from the Super Birthday Project, but then I remembered that I don’t like totes, and I rarely use them. Besides, using a Spidey tote for grocery shopping seemed, well, sad – Spidey deserves better.

The reason I don’t like totes is that I don’t care for bags that sit on the shoulder and hang down. I much prefer them to across the body. You know, similar to a messenger bag.

But, as usual, there was a problem. Messenger bags are generally sturdy, and they tend to require thick cloth. I have a ton of cotton prints and some fleece. Show me a messenger bag made with thin cotton and fleece, and I’ll show you another item that does not exist anywhere. In answer to this, I wallowed in self-pity for about an hour, bemoaning my lack of good fabric.

Then I got crafty because that’s what I do.

About a year ago, I purchased some black aida cloth for a cross-stitching project that never happened. If you are unfamiliar with this type of cloth, it can be fairly rigid, but it is also riddled with holes, since it’s for cross-stitching. Of course, it’s also easy to wrap in other fabrics.

So that’s what I did.

For whatever reason, I don’t generally use patterns. For better or worse, I just go forward with my ideas when I get them.

Pictured here: fabric about to be mauled

I trace things, sure, but I am not a stickler on perfect cuts or anything. This is probably where a lot of my problems start, but until it becomes a major issue, I seem to fake it fairly well.

I did trace the aida onto the cloth for the panels

I could have done three completely separate panels, but I opted for one large panel in which I sewed three pockets, essentially. I used black for the outside and Spidey for the lining of the insider of the bag. I lined them up on the wrong sides, sewed around the edge, then flipped it back right-side and sewed the smaller middle pocket (which became the bottom).

The flap for the opening

My thought was that having one panel of fabric with three heavy inserts would be stronger than three panels sewn together. Once I had the main panel done, I just had to sew the sides together.

Luckily I had not finished sewing it all up before I remembered I needed a flap for the opening, otherwise it would not be a messenger bag. It would just be a cross-the-body bag. So I made that rather quickly.

Kids, this is what happens when you rush

I did it so quickly that the bias tape is not actually attached to the fabric in one spot. This is a relatively easy fix if I ever bother to do it.

And besides, you can’t tell it’s there unless I pull the bias tape up and out, and even then, you have to be close to it.

The other part that is rushed and looks bad, though I forgot to take a picture, is where the flap attaches to the bag of the purse. To cover the spot, I added a bit of bias tape (why did I not use this stuff before?!), but my sewing machine went a little crazy in the middle of it, and there is this fine curve right in the middle. Luckily, that is the side that rests against my person, so it’s not noticeable.

New Holland shirt courtesy of Pa.

The straps I made with *gasp!* bias tape and Spidey fabric sewn together. I had not planned on making this, so I didn’t have anything stronger. To ensure it can hold up, though, I sewed probably close to a bazillion stretchy zig-zag stitches.

Things I might change if doing again:

1. I would actually buy some heavy cloth, though making the aida pockets worked great!

2. I would have made the pockets with all black fabric, sewn the straps on, then made a liner of the Spidey fabric, so that it would be reversible!

3. Had something more strap-appropriate.

All-in-all, I did a Happy Dance when I finished this project last night. I had a pretty important meeting today (more on that later this week), so I didn’t break it out today, but I definitely will tomorrow to see how it works. But seriously, I can’t believe I made that!

Spidey Senses

I am in full geek out mode lately, it seems. And now I have about two yards of extra Spider Man fabric.

At first, I danced with the idea of making a skirt because, well, they are easy, and I’ve done it before. What kind of blogger would I be if I only did stuff I felt comfortable with, though? I like to think that half of the fun is getting see the pictures of 135 inches of fabric splayed out on my floor because I asked for 4 yards instead of 4 feet.

So instead, I’m going the bag route.

I don’t do purses in general. I have used a grand total of 6 purses in my life time, and 6 of them were used before I really had anything worth carrying in a purse.

However, my thinking is this: I work in a craft store that required bag checks every day as we leave. Currently, I have a bag with umpteen thousand pockets, and it is kind of a pain to go through when I’m just trying to get home to craft. I need a simpler bag to bring to work that can hold my wallet, lunch, and phone with no problems. I am told these are generally called “tote bags”, so that is what I’m going for.

Most of them are made with canvas. I could go buy canvas. But I have a boatload of fabric upstairs and sitting on the dining room table, so that just seems silly.

Instead, I’ll be doing this project. FYI, it is through a website to which I am already subscribed, so it might ask you to subscribe. Suffice it to say, it’s a tote bag. And it doesn’t require canvas, thus my previous mini-rant.

In other news, I am working on a last minute bit to add to my brother’s Super Birthday Project, but I will keep it under wraps until I reach a decision. I also still have to make that valance.

Work might be getting even MORE hectic soon, but I will soldier on. So many craft projects and so little time! I apologize for this cop out post.

Also, because I don’t say it enough, thank you to all you folks who have subscribed to my blog. I spend most of my life feeling like I’m talking to myself, so it’s nice to know that at least a small handful of folks in the world are amused by my…well, trials and tribulations as well as successes. So thank you for sharing them with me, and I hope you enjoy!

Super Birthday Curtain: An exercise in patience

What a week. Sorry for no post yesterday. I was watching The Dark Knight Rises.

Today I ventured into making the curtains for the Super Hero Birthday Room Project (as I’ve taken to calling it…since now). I have two sewing books, and they both have lovely little explanations for how to sew curtains. There is also this amazing resource for crafters known as “the internet”, which has a ton of information for first-time crafts.

I used none of these.

Instead, I decided that what I needed was four hemmed edges and a hole to put a curtain rod through. This model worked fine. But because this is me, the project did not go off without a hitch.

Here is my journey through curtain making:

Step 1

I started with fabric. I bought my fabric on Saturday; this was my second choice. I went with this Spider Man fabric because the fabric I had originally chosen was nearly gone, and they did not have enough.**

Step 2

I pinned the bottom edge for the hem. I also ironed it down before I took it to the machine. Notice that I am not using my hand-made pin cushion. This is not because of any reason other than I keep forgetting about it.

Old needle = BAD

I did have the wherewithal to realize that I had sewn multiple projects on the same needle and perhaps it was time for a change. So here’s to the needle that sewed many of my first failures and successes.


The first side is completed!

Have you ever dropped a whole container of pins on the floor?

I did, just today. 🙂

I got wise…

At some point, I realized that I could pin and iron simultaneously. So that’s what I did. I pinned in two spots, then ironed. Then pulled the fabric up and pinned two spots, then ironed. And so on.

Making headway

Although I was sewing on the dining room table for extra room, I still found it amazing difficult to keep all of that fabric from falling off the wooden surface.

Curtain rod!

Finally, after the 2 hour Tim Burton Batman, all sides were nice and neat, and I was ready to sew the loop for the curtain rod. In order to do this, I simply placed the rod on the fabric and folded it to see where I would need to sew.

I was worried it wouldn’t be long enough

You might remember, keen reader, two asterisks earlier when I mentioned forgoing a favored fabric because there was not enough. Well, I’m afraid the joke’s on me. The day I picked up the fabric, the internet had given Eric and I the finger and taken the day off, so I did not have access to my e-mail with the window and door measurements from my mom. So I called whilst in the fabric store to get them: 40in by 44in.

Somehow, in the midst of my searching for fabric and mom trying to juggle answering my questions and guests coming into the house at that very moment, I got it in my head that I needed at least 4 yards of fabric. Obviously, I only needed one and a half.

However, I bought 4, and so here are the 135 remaining, usable inches splayed on the floor.

Now my brother is getting a curtain for the door and a valance for his window. And I will be getting a Spider Man skirt, perhaps. Or tote. I’ll still have quite a bit left over.

The curtain rod being finished

Because my brother is the best person on this planet (and I do mean that), having a plain curtain rod is not good enough for him. Luckily, I grabbed some Spider Man duck tape for my dress form project the other week, so I used that to decorate the rod. Now he has a totally Spidey curtain rod to match his curtain(s).

My awesome husband/curtain

With the curtain completed, I had to get a picture of it! Alas, at 5ft, I am too short to hang it up for a picture. In steps Eric to save the day. Thus, here is the completed curtain for the door.

I am going to do the valance tomorrow, probably, as it will take some actual skill to complete.

And when I finish whatever else I do with this fabric, I’ll be sure to post it and remind everyone of my yards of glory. Last day of work for the week tomorrow! Hooray! And then off to the lake Saturday. Even my days off seem busy. Hopefully next week, I’ll only work a few days. More craft time = a happy polymath.

In the meantime, keep it crafty.