The only thing I have been working on has been my big swap item for the For the Love of Solids Swap. I decided to make my partner a messenger bag, and am following loosely the pattern in Lisa Lam's The Bag Making Bible. I'm not making it a laptop bag, as I think I would really need to use home dec weight cotton for that, so I've tweaked some of the detail in it, and I've added a pieced front, back and flap.
It's almost a year since I last made a bag, and I forgot how much I love making them! There is a lot of prep work with interfacing etc, and that can be a bit tedious, but its nice to have a change from making quilts, and making something three dimensional is a different kind of challenge and lots of fun. This book was recommended to me by more than a few people and it really is great, with good explanations of lots of new techniques, to take you beyond basic bag making skills.
First, I made the flap for the front of the bag. I pieced some strips of coloured solids, in a variety of different lengths. The strips are 1" wide finished. I pieced these to 2" strips of Kona Ash, and then applied fusible fleece to the back. I quilted it in straight lines in the Ash, and then I decided to bind it in the same colour as the lining fabric for a bit of extra detail and I am very happy with how it turned out:
Next I made up the front, which will be underneath the flap, so not too much detail here:
And for the back, I stuck with the same theme but changed the layout a little, using 3 unfinished strips to give it some additional movement:
I sewed on the gusset then (seriously hate that word!) and I have the exterior of my bag done, yippee!!
I have the lining all interfaced with fusible fleece, and pockets inserted. One for a phone and the other for pens, wallets or keys. The colours aren't coming up too good in this but its a lovely shade of green and I've used aqua for one set of pockets and a brighter blue for the other.
All that remains is for me to sew up the lining pieces to make the interior, attach the outside flap to the exterior, sew the lining to the exterior and finish off with the strap and the magnetic buttons. I should be ready to post this by the end of the week :-)
I hope my partner likes it, I think if it all continues to go smoothly it will work out to be a nice swap item. I still have to think of my small item though!
And I promise I will do my best to reply to emails and catch up on my blog reading this week, I feel like I have been AWOL for far too long!