Finished just in time!
My much-anticipated trip to Fenway Park for Red Sox Opening Day 2008 was this week, and I wanted to bring a gift for my friend to thank her for hosting me for the night (especially since she brought me a beautiful illustrated hardcover Life of Pi - one of my all-time favorites - when I hosted her in New York!). It so happens that when she was here to visit me, she had a bag with her that she'd bought on etsy whose straps were starting to fray. My friend (like myself) carries a lot of stuff (read: books), so she needs a nice strong bag. When I saw this one on u-handbag, I thought it would be perfect!
Here it is on the steps of the State House in lovely downtown Boston. What joy to be in Boston again, home of my heart. I took one of my favorite walks, from the bus station through Downtown Crossing to the Boston Common, through the Public Garden, and down to Copley Square to this bag's new home: The Boston Public Library. Lucky bag! Naturally, I recorded this journey for posterity, so that those of you who have never been to Boston can get a little taste, and those who have can mentally retrace my steps. Hope you'll forgive the excessive number of photos...
This bag was actually not that hard to make, though it was a lot of cutting out of pieces, because of all the interlining required to make it extra strong. I might actually have made it too strong - the tutorial says to use "firm" interfacing and "heavy" interlining, but I'm still experimenting with interfacings so the ones I bought were really very firm and heavy indeed. The fusible stuff made my nice cotton fabric strong like canvas - that bag is practically bulletproof! :) I was afraid I wouldn't be able to turn it at the end, but it all worked out, despite the fact that sewing together all those layers I somehow lost half an inch on my outer bag. I had to sew the bag interior twice because the first time I used a 3/8 inch seam allowance and tried to place it into my bag exterior to make sure it fit, and the bag interior was way bigger than the bag exterior. (Of course you realize, by this time it was 10pm the night before I had to leave, and I hadn't packed yet, and had to get up at 4am to make my bus.) Then it seemed like I'd made it too small, so there was some panic and despair, but somehow when I sewed it, everything came together just right. Whew!
This was also my first experience with piping, and I think it came out pretty nicely. It's hard to sew directly on the bias tape, my sewing lines were all crooked and wonky, but that part is just basting that gets covered up anyway. What seems like the tricky part - actually sewing the bag layers together with the piping sandwiched in between - was not as difficult as I feared. It's not 100% even but pretty good for the first time.
(We took a wee detour to Beacon Hill before continuing down into the park).
No swan boats yet at this time of year, but they were filling the pond. My bags apparently have the power to bring Spring - the last time I made a bag, on its first day in the world they put all the flowers out in Bryant Park, and on this bag's first day they filled the pond in the Boston Public Garden!
I also broke my first needle sewing this bag. Is that some kind of sewing rite of passage? It felt like one!
Almost there, here's Trinity Church and the new John Hancock Tower!
That's the bag's new home in the background.
We made it! Just in time for me to give my friend her new bag (she loves it!), drop off my stuff, and head down to Fenway for the Opening Day ceremonies. I won't torment all you non-baseball fans with the details, but suffice it to say that it was a glorious day, sheer joy. And so you can experience a little of that joy for yourselves, I'll leave you with this moment.