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Topic: The Bibliophile Tote! A project photo diary - IMG HEAVY!  (Read 2486 times)
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antarcticraft
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« on: December 30, 2008 09:46:03 PM »

Learning to sew was one of my 2008 resolutions, and two basic totes and an apron later, I decided I wanted to try something without a pattern or tutorial. I made this for Foxlet in the Book-Lovers Swap, and I'm quite proud of it! I didn't measure a thing, but relied on the iron, eyeballing, and basic folding geometry. I actually found it to be less stressful, and the finished product looked much nicer than the previous tote I'd made using measurements.

First, the fabric: Amy Butler and for the outside, and a sturdy red lining:



I decided I wanted it to be pretty large, so I measured out the pieces and cut two panels of each fabric for the body.



I knew I wanted a gusseted bottom, so I cut the squares out (back to this later):



I then stitched the inside and outside fabrics together at the top to make the front and back panels.



I then stitched together a panel for a set of inside pockets:



And figured out where I wanted the pockets to be based on what they should hold (pencils, notebooks, etc.):



I stitched lines down the center of the pocket panel to make individual pockets:





I pinched and sewed the edges of the bottom corners to make the gussets:



Everything was going splendidly until I realized my mistake - you could see the raw edges in the bag! If it had just been in red, it wouldn't have been so bad, but the outer fabric made the edges look awful:



And it was definitely noticeable even when the bag was rightside-out.



I had an idea - line the edges with ribbon! I folded a wide ribbon in half, pressed it in place, pinned, stitched, and trimmed to fit the edges.



Much better! Not gorgeous on the bottom, but it's not like people see the inside of the bottom - hopefully it will usually be full of books!



And the view of the inside is much better. I like to think that the bag is also stronger, reinforced with the ribbon and extra stitches.



I wanted an embellishment for the outside, and so did an iron-on transfer with an Aunt Martha embroidery pencil. It says "Bibliophile," which means "book-lover."



Of course, I realized that I'd already sewn the outside and inside fabrics together, and so would have to hand-sew the embroidered piece on. I decided to embrace the rough edges of serendipity with some contrast stitching:



Now it just needs straps!



I cut the straps to the width and length I wanted (by eyeballing them) and pressed in the edges.



Folded them in half, pinned, and pressed, then seamed along one edge.



And then attached to the outside of the bag with a stitched square and criss-cross for extra support. Done!




Thanks for looking! Comments and critiques welcome.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2008 07:57:03 AM by antarcticraft » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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babyimbadnewss
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2008 09:53:34 PM »

Gorgeous! Cheesy
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skankamaggot
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2008 10:20:48 PM »

WOW.  For eyeballing and no measuring, I'm in awe!  I just started sewing (like, this week   Lips sealed) And I hope to be able to do something like this!
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marieC
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2008 05:58:38 AM »

Nice!  Now you don't need a pattern for bags or aprons!  Alot of times if you just kind of think about it for a while (the car is my favorite place for this, boring meetings at work are perfect too.  Just draw in your logbook in a way that everyone thinks you're taking notes) you can figure out all the cuts and seams before you start.  I find this goes way faster than having patterns.
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A state of confusion is unpleasant, but a state of certainty is ridiculous.  - Voltaire.
antarcticraft
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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2008 06:17:54 AM »

Thanks, everyone!

marieC - That's what I found - just thinking my way through the process, I learned a lot more about how to make a bag than if I followed a pattern and stressed over making cuts to measure. Using symmetry and folding, and ironing, I actually came out with a BETTER piece, in part because I was more confident, I think.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2008 06:18:31 AM by antarcticraft » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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Rumpazel
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2008 07:29:48 AM »

What an awesome project.  Thank you for sharing.  Smiley
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I am interested in personal swaps...and kittens...and rocks.  Weird huh?
antarcticraft
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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2008 07:58:25 AM »

Thank you! The process was very informative, and I think I'd like to perfect the bag and turn it into more of a real tutorial. I think I'd fix the raw edge problem first - or maybe the ribbon trick is good for beginner sewers. Smiley
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BlueLupine
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2009 12:23:25 PM »

Great job!  I love that fabric  Shocked
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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2009 05:31:31 PM »

great idea~ This would come in such handy for alot of students like me <3 thankies for the tutorial!
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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2009 03:25:40 PM »

Congrats on learning to sew - and then learning the rule of being a great crafter...improvise!  The ability to take a 'mistake' and make something awesome with it...is a real gift!  My grandma who taught me sewing had that. 

It is an awesome bag!
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