Friday, July 29, 2011

My first bag!

So, when Samantha had her birthday a few months ago, she was very lucky and received a fabulous handmade pillow from her best friend Ella.  The pillow was made by Ella's mum Jo and depicted a drawing by Ella, showing Ella and Samantha holding hands.  It was very creative and so well made and Samantha just loves it.  It's one of Samantha's prized possessions now.
The fabulous pillow
(Ella is on the left with curly hair,
Samantha is on the right side with straight hair)
So, it's coming up to Ella's birthday shortly and I was trying to think of what we could give her.  I thought of a girl's bag and Samantha thought that was a great idea.  I ended up buying a small tote bag pattern from Nicole Mallalieu's website.  It's a great pattern because it comes with options to alter the bag into several different styles and the instructions were good to follow.

Given Samantha's design instructions, the bag had to be predominantly pink. So, off to Spotlight we went to buy the fabric.  We bought hot pink cotton drill for the outside and a multi-coloured dot fabric for the lining (with a pink background).  Predominantly pink it was!

I decided to make a satchel style bag, which gave me the opportunity to do some applique on the satchel flap to make it more personal.  At first I thought I'd just make the flap with Ella's name on it.  After I had made done that applique, I then decided that maybe emblazoning a child's name all over their bag is not a good idea for their security viewpoint.  Any stranger would know their name just from the bag, so not a terribly attractive idea to a lot of parents, I would imagine. So, after making the applique of Ella's name, I ditched that idea.

Samantha suggested flowers, so after a bit of image sleuthing by Peter, we managed to find a flower design that I could applique (with a bit of tweaking).  I did the new flower applique one night and then made up the bag the next night.  Here's the finished product.

I used a metal tri-glide to give the bag an adjustable strap, which is more functional for a growing girl.  To give the strap a bit more body, I also used pellon (a fusible light wadding).  The flap was also given a bit more structure by using pellon and medium-weight interfacing. The outside fabric was stiffened with medium-weight interfacing and I also created a sturdier base by inserting a stiffened structural base piece at the bottom between the outside fabric and the lining fabric. 

This was also the first time I had ever made my own bias binding, to use around the edge of the satchel flap, so that was another 'try-and-see' experience.  Afterwards, I did wonder whether I should have simply used the plain outer fabric (instead of the spotty lining fabric) but I still think it looks good.

I also used printable fabric to make a personalised birthday message to Ella from Samantha.  This was stitched to the lining of the bag, so it was discreetly out of view.  And it was the first time I have ever inserted a magnetic catch (super easy, I have to say).

Thankfully the appliqued flower was centred in the flap, so I was very happy about that.

Anyway, I'm very happy with the way it turned out.  Tonight the bag will be wrapped up and tomorrow it will be given to the birthday girl!  I hope she likes it as much as my daughter does.  :)