Saturday, July 30, 2011

Amy Butler's Birdie Sling bag

One of my dearest friends had a milestone birthday party last weekend, which I won't specify but was not 30, and was not 35, but anybody looking at her would have a hard time believing it was beyond those numbers!  She threw the most fabulous bash, which my husband and I were able to attend, OUT OF STATE, WITHOUT CHILDREN.  She specified no gifts, but she gets a gift just for that, yes?

I knew I wanted to make her something, so I decided on this great bag after seeing the awesome one that a friend had made.  I wanted fabric that included the color I always think of as "Rona Green." We have a history of passing on our paperbacks once we have finished them, so I filled the bag with my old books--the bag was just a receptacle, not a gift!

Hey, I even put a bird on it!  How Portland of me.
The inside has pockets

I'm really happy with the way the bag turned out, but there are a few things I must tell you:

1.  OK, first of all, you must know that I am not great at following patterns.  So I decided to make one of these for myself as well, using my bag as the guinea pig to make sure I was doing things right.

2.  With that in mind (I was making two bags, not one), I spent over FOUR HOURS cutting and ironing before I did any actual sewing.  Are you kidding me here?

3.  The amounts of fabrics specified in the pattern are, to put it mildly, ridiculous.  Unless you are using a very large print and you want to make sure that a specific piece of it is placed in a certain spot on the bag (like with my bird pattern above), you will need nowhere near the amount of fabric listed.  Particularly for the handle/trim fabric and the lining fabric.  You could get away with about 1/3 of the fabric if you chose a pattern that wasn't very directional.  You do need all of the interfacing though.

The pictures below are from the bag I made for myself (which isn't finished yet...I ran out of time and gave up on the guinea pig bag about halfway through).
The exterior.  You can see my two cut pieces, and then what's left.

The pieces at the top are the cut out pieces for the lining and pockets.
The huge piece of fabric below is LEFT OVER!

The fabric for the trim/handles:  cut out on the left, left over on the right.

4.  You also can skip the tracing paper and pencils that the pattern calls for.  Honestly, I couldn't even understand how I was supposed to use those items, and marking things off with pins worked just fine for me.

5.  I really do love how the bag turned out.  It's roomy, it sits nicely on my shoulder, and I love the fabrics.  BUT, for the cost of the fabric (which admittedly could have been dramatically reduced) and interfacing plus the time I spent...well, they have really cute tote bags at Target for less than twenty bucks, you know what I mean?

Avert your eyes from the camera remote in my hand.
Soon I hope to show you the bag I made for myself too.  In the meantime, here is the birthday girl sharing her spotlight with The Boy.  I am so lucky to have her as a friend, and even luckier that my kids get to grow up with an extra "auntie" in their lives!
Thanks for the cake, Auntie Rona!

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