Friday, September 5, 2014

StudioCherie Duffel Bag

Even though I have a gazillion sewing goals I'm trying to accomplish, I decided that what I really needed to do was add another project! I wanted to make a duffel bag to take to the hospital. I started it Monday (the day before my due date), and finished it today, Friday. Baby decided to wait to be born until his bag was done, which is super thoughtful of him. My mother-in-law flies in tomorrow evening, so he can decide to come on out any time after that!

I read several reviews and blog posts about the Studio Cherie Travel Duffel Pattern, and the consensus seems that it's a real pain to make but it looks awful pretty when it's all done. So I decided to make it, naturally.

So, let me just preface this with letting you know that 3-D objects are really hard for me to make. Quilt tops are super easy, but once I start working on bags or clothing, my brain has a hard time processing things. I'm a very visual learner, and have a hard time reading a sentence in a pattern and then knowing how I'm supposed to do that. I really need lots of good diagrams and pictures. This pattern doesn't really have that. I found the directions really confusing, there were only a few dark pictures, and there really weren't enough diagrams. I ended up changing lots of stuff. I used some of my beloved Far Far Away 2 cotton/linen blend, as well as some linen blend Mochi Dots. This required some math, since I didn't want to have my FFA2 hidden by the straps or something! Speaking of straps, the pattern calls for Jute webbing, which is super gross--it's like burlap. So instead I made super thick, super fat handles out of the linen, and added Soft & Stable to the folded over part of the handles, so they're super duper fat & awesome.

I used a sport zipper instead of a regular-type one, and added D-rings instead of zipper tabs so I can add a shoulder strap. I used Soft & Stable for the construction of the whole bag, so even though it's empty in all these pictures, it stands up on it's own and is really....stable. I used some perfect Far Far Away 1 reprint cotton for the lining. I added two interior pockets (one regular & one with a velcro closure), which was really difficult because the bag sides are quilted, and the straps and exterior pocket got in the way. But it happened, and it was definitely needed.
 I also bought a package of bias binding, because the pattern has you leave the raw edges unfinished inside. I seriously would not have been able to make this without Wonder Clips, and I bent at least 10 pins before I went and got some. My sewing machine could barely get through all those layers of linen, lining, and Soft & Stable, and this thing took me like 5 days of 6+ hours a day to make. The pattern designer sells them for $189 on her etsy site, and I'm surprised it's not more--they're a lot of work and a lot of materials!

It was really hard for me to cut into this favorite fabric that is out of print and selling for upwards of $40 a yard, but I'm glad I did. I love looking at it in my fabric cupboard, but being able to use it is even better.
I'm pretty sure I'll never make this bag again, because it was a beast. But I did some hard things, and figured stuff out and even finished it on time, so those are all good things!