The “I Might Be Jealous of People Who Are Still in School” Bag

The Battle of the Quilted Bag rages on, but I am pleased to report that the strap has been officially subdued.

I remember reading somewhere that if you put a paper towel on the ground in the middle of a football field, a cat would find it and sit on it.
I believe this is true.

I had to work up the gumption to tackle the bag again. So, a couple of carefree projects were in order.

First, I made a little belt to go with my most recent Simplicity 2209, but I’m going to talk about that later.

More importantly, I finally made that Slouchy Schoolbag I’ve had my eye on for ages. (Ages = a few months.) So, let’s chat for a bit about this project.

While I am most definitively out of school (although, people ask me all the time when I’m going to graduate. I’m like, “Seriously, people? I’m 30.” Whatever–totally taking it as a compliment), I still miss the whole school experience. Especially since I’m not teaching any more. I feel like being on the teaching side really taught me more about the learning process. I really love taking classes and would absolutely go back to school if it were feasible. And if I ever do get to go back, I’ll have a lovely little bag to carry.

This was a free pattern (hurray!), so I’m not at all complaining. But, there are quite a few things I would change were I to make this again–and I strongly suspect that I will.

Trying to choose thread for topstitching.

What I like:

The bag is very easy to put together. No special skills required. I like the shape and the fact that it has four exterior pockets that are great for keeping things (keys, phone, LipSmackers–you know, the important stuff) within easy reach (well, sort of–but more on that later). I’m very happy that I got a chance to learn how to do rivets and how to box the bottom corners of the bag–easier than I thought it would be.

What could be improved:

Where to start. . . ?

1. I should have chosen better corduroy. What I bought was a “baby wale” stretch corduroy that didn’t quite want to stay where I put it. So, when I was sewing up the side seams, my front and back pockets got out of line, in spite of the fact that I checked and double checked them before I started. However, I’m not too disappointed. The corduroy was super cheap and I’m glad I didn’t use expensive fabric that I may have really liked because there are other changes I would make before sewing this again.

2. There were times when the instructions were difficult to follow. For instance, they would tell you to sew a hem in step three but not mention until step five that you should be using contrasting thread. Not a big deal, really. And if I had been more aware of what I was doing, I would have caught that earlier. As it is, some topstitching on my pockets is in matching thread and some is in contrasting. Next time, I’ll know to be consistent. There were a few other places where the instructions could have been clearer. They make sense once you understand how the pieces are supposed to work together and what the markings mean. But, I’m not one of those people who can visualize ahead of time.

These are buttons that I inherited from my grandmother’s sewing stash. I try to use some of the hundreds of buttons whenever I can, but it always seems I am one short–as is the case here. I had to use just one button on the other side.

3. The strap needs to be either several inches longer or several inches shorter. The strap is too short to wear the bag cross-body, but when I wear it on my shoulder, I can’t quite reach down into the pockets. (I kind of felt like a T-rex this morning trying to reach my security badge.) I think I’d prefer to wear it cross-body. I’d probably also make the strap thinner.

4. The bag has a lining (easiest lining insertion ever! Not having a zipper to deal with helps), but next time I would also line the outer pockets. More for aesthetics than any practical reason. I really like how my lining fabric works with the corduroy and I’d like to see more of it.

Inside there’s a pocket cut from the corduroy. Maybe next time, I’ll make it bigger and sew a seam up the middle for more storage options.

5. The outer pockets are formed using a single rectangle that runs under the bottom of the bag. This means that items that you put in the front pocket can end up in the back pocket or at the bottom of the bag. Knowing me, this will cause panic when my keys or phone are hiding under the bag while I frantically search the pockets. Next time, I’d sew a seam at the bottom–possibly two seams.

Unless I were interested in dabbling in some street magic, that is. . .

“I put my phone in the front pocket–and it magically appears in the back pocket. What sorcery is this?!”

So, no the bag isn’t perfect. I’m thinking of it as a usable muslin. I’m really just happy to be finally using that corduroy I bought so long ago. Although, there’s quite a bit left. I think I may need to make some little clutches or pouches or something to use it up completely.

And now, on to the next stash-busting project. . .


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

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