In Which I Might Be Giving Away Too Much Information About Myself. . .

My mom’s birthday was in July.

I am still working on her birthday present.

This really says a lot about the current state of my brain.

Earlier this summer, I bought Simplicity 2274, a (seemingly) simple overnight/weekend bag. And let me tell you, this thing has been kicking my tail. So, it’s no wonder that the last two projects that I’ve tackled (other than the bag, of course) were simple re-makes from patterns that had already proven their greatness. Typically, I prefer to work on one project at a time, but in this case, I needed to break away from the bag and accomplish something just to get a small sense of my own self-worth.

And why, you ask, is this bag so difficult? Essentially, it’s a bunch of rectangles sewn together. There’s no fitting involved. Not a single dart to deal with. What on earth is taking me so long??

It all comes down to this: A Showdown of Wills.

The pattern says, “Do this.” And I say, “Heck no. I’m going to do this.” And the pattern says, “Well, if you do that, then how are you going to handle this?”

And before you know it, Simplicity 2274 and I are locked in an anime-style battle to the death–you know, where there’s all this inexplicable wind, and we’re flying around to a soundtrack of some sort of techno remix featuring a choir singing gibberish–possibly Japanese. And of course there’s the small group of people on the sidelines whose sole purpose is to add commentary that explains what’s happening. In this battle, the cats can add the commentary since. . . they’re the only ones present.

Simplicity 2274: “You pathetic sewist! You’ll never defeat me and my calling for jute webbing which you will never be able to find! Hahahahaha!!”

Neville: “What’s happening?!”

Oliver: “Simplicity 2274 has found her weakness! She couldn’t find jute webbing! She’s powerless!”

Eloise: “Jenny.”

(Because when animes get emotional, that’s what they do. They say people’s names. No real reason other than. . . emotion.)

Simplicity 2274: “Hahahaha! Bow before me and beg forgiveness and maybe I’ll spare your life! Hahahaha!”

Me: [On hands and knees, clutching Ginghers. . . which are probably broken] You think you’ve won? *cough, cough* [pulling myself up off the ground]

Neville: “What is she doing?”

Oliver: “She’s trying to stand up! But she’s so weak! She’s been fighting this battle for over a week!!!

Eloise: “Jenny.”

Me: “I may not have *groan/flinch/cough etc.* found jute webbing. There were no colors *cough/flinch/cough* that worked with the fabric. But I am not finished yet. . .”  [raises Ginghers into the air as inexplicable wind begins to swirl around]

Neville: “What’s happening??”

Oliver: “It can’t be. . . ”

Eloise: “Jenny.”

Me: “I call upon the power of . . . BIAS TAPE!!” [wind gusts, flashes of light, probably sparkles!!!!]

Neville: “Bias tape!”

Oliver: “I can’t believe it! She’s going to use bias tape!!”

Eloise: “Jenny!”

Simplicity 2274: “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

. . .

Yeah. . . so. . . I may or may not have been watching a lot of anime while sewing recently.

Whatever! I’m not ashamed! It makes me laugh (or do the face/palm thing because it’s so ridiculous) and maybe I like inexplicable wind. In fact, I think there should be more inexplicable wind in my life! Also, since the characters typically explain what’s happening in the dialogue, I don’t always have to be watching in order to keep up. It’s quite convenient, that mostly-terrible writing is.

Anyways. . .

Problem, the First: The pattern doesn’t have a lining. Instead you quilt your fabric, batting, and muslin together which, as some Pattern Reviewers pointed out, leaves your raw edges all. . . raw. . . and edgy. . . and you open the bag and there they are. What gives? Whose terrible idea was that?

So, my first thought was “to heck with the muslin, I’m going to use a pretty fabric!” which does nothing to solve the raw edge issue. My second thought was to use bias tape (BIAS TAPE!!!) around all those edges. But, Sweet Daniel Craig, that’s a lot of bias tape sewing. So, instead, I’ve just been using my overcasting foot to sort of bind the rawness and make it look at least a little more polished. The best solution, if I were a genius, would be to add a lining. But, I just couldn’t wrap my brain around all the finagling that would require.

. . .

In retrospect, slipstitching the lining to the zipper and tacking it down in the corners would not have been that big of a deal. . .

Problem, the Second: The pattern, as is, doesn’t really work with one-way designs. I didn’t realize this until I started laying out the pieces and noticed that the birds on my fabric would end up upside-down on one side of the bag since the body of the bag is just one big rectangle that wraps around the bottom.

So, I added a seam and seam allowance. No biggie. It also really helped since I no longer had to cut the huge rectangle on the fold. Which, as it turned out, I did not have quite enough fabric for.

Problem, the Third: Jute. Freaking. Webbing.

I could not find this stuff. Correction: I found this stuff, but not in any sort of usable color. So, I had to put on my Improvise Hat and figure out another solution. What I came up with has turned into the longest, most tedious process in the history of the world.

First step, cut out double the required strap pieces (there were four) plus batting to go between them. Second step, sew the lining straps together and the outer straps together. Third step, pin everything together (the strap is actually an enormous circle, so this took about 45 minutes–or two episodes of. . . D Gray Man, I think). Fourth step, draw quilting lines on with fantastic new fabric pen I bought (seriously, I love this thing). Fifth step, quilt strap. Sixth step, attempt to buy bias tape to match. Seventh step, fail. Eighth step, make bias tape from lining fabric (here’s where the real tedium begins. Have you ever made your own bias tape? Have you ever made your own 7 1/2 yards of bias tape?? Have you ever made your own 7 1/2 yards of bias tape from 9″ squares of fabric??? Yeah. . . ). Ninth step, apply bias tape to strap. . .

And here’s where I’m stuck. Since I’m officially making up my own instructions at this point, I can’t quite figure out how to attach the strap and then top stitch. . .


I seriously just had a breakthrough. The solution involves a fair bit of seam ripper application, but I really think I just might have it. . . !

And because this post could really use another set of ellipses. . .

There ya’ go.

In the middle of all the baggery, I made another Simplicity 2209 this past weekend. But, I’ll save that for later.

Actually, no. There’s not anything to say about it. I’ll try to get some pictures up soon. Time to call on the amazing Hsqrd for some assistance!


6 thoughts on “In Which I Might Be Giving Away Too Much Information About Myself. . .

  1. this sounds so much like me!
    i have noticed that most patterns don’t ever mention finishing your seams, even if they are left out and exposed, so you have to think way ahead (which i’m not always so good at).
    i’ve also had the same trouble with one-way prints and making miles of bias tape…
    i can’t wait to see your finished bag – i’m sure it will be fabulous!

    • At least I know I’m not alone 🙂
      I can’t wait to see the finished bag either–I feel like I’ve been working on it forever! To be honest though, the finicky projects tend to be the most fun for me–no idea why.

  2. I’m working on the Simplicity 2274 duffel now. Did you ever get yours completed? Any pics yet? Would love to see your work! I’ve decided to do a “patchwork” design and I’ll post pics on my blog when it’s finished. I feel after reading several tutorials on this duffel bag that I’m in for a lot of hard work! Can’t wait to hear from you about how your bag turned out.

I'm done. Now, YOU can talk :)

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