Work In Progress – A Bag for QuiltCon and A Headache

February 11, 2015

Hey there – did you link up to our new Tips and Tutorials Linky party yesterday??  You still can!  It’s open all week, and you can even use an older blog post. There will be another one next week too. And there’s a prize for the most popular blogger link!!!  Check out all the cool tips and tutorials posted by other bloggers over there, vote for your favorite, and come right back, because I have a little story to tell you.


Apparently, I was not put on this earth to make bags. I try and try. But perfection eludes me.

I admit, I may have been in over my head with this one from the beginning.
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It seemed like the perfect bag… I utilitarian sewist’s dream come true. It has four zipper pouches on the outside, one on the inside, a zipper on top so nothing will ever fall out, and one last big, fat zipper right in the middle that opens to EXPAND the bag! Come on. That’s cool.

It’s from a book called Purses, Bags and Totes — Moya’s Workshop. There are a ton of pictures showing you how to put it together.  More like a blogger’s tutorial rather than a traditional pattern.

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I was so excited to start it.  I’ll have to buy more stuff just to fill all those little zipper pockets!

It’s the perfect bag to bring to QuiltCon, the modern quilter’s convention here in Austin next week. And after I use it for a few days, it would make a perfect gift for my mom. (What? You’ve never borrowed your mom’s gifts before giving them to her? Well, yeah, I know it’s a little weird, but she’s my mom. I swear she won’t mind.)

I had to have it. I mean…. I had to have it so I can give it to my mom.
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But you don’t really know how to sew zippers, that little voice in my head said.

I ignored it. (Snort.)

Your last bag had more puckers than Bruce Jenner’s face on the cover of Us magazine.

Shut up. How hard can it be? I replied to myself.

Well….. a month later, let me tell you. It’s bloody hard.

Bag sewists around the world, I bow down to you. I will never curse you again when I shell out over $200 for a beautifully made bag.

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Things started out on the right track…. I cut the pieces sort of accurately. I interfaced them pretty thoroughly. Maybe the red zippers went in a little crooked… but no worries, if I just tilt my head to the left a little when I look at it, I can barely tell.

The beautiful expandable center has the most adorable black and white dragonfly print on the inside. When you open up that zipper, and look at that print, you just shiver thinking of the ridiculous number of hours that went into making it.

I wish I could show you that cute expandable center, I really do. BUT I CAN’T.

Do you know why I can’t????

Because the zipper fell off right before I sewed the band to the top of the bag.

Right after it fell off, I heard the baby crying, and I slipped the zipper pull into one of the red zipper pouches so I wouldn’t lose it. I ran to the baby’s room and listened at her door until she quieted, barely breathing lest she hear me, and then tiptoed back to my sewing machine.

Whew. That was close, I thought. I almost didn’t get to finish the top of this bag tonight.  That would have sucked.  I grinned, and got back to work, and sewed on the top panel above the big, fat center zipper. I added the handles, added the last zipper on the very top of the bag and the binding around the outside edge.  And then went to bed.

The next morning, over my morning coffee, I paused to admire my work.  Ahhhhh, lovely.

And then I saw it!

What the F*#%  ?!?!?!?!!?

There’s NO zipper pull on the external expandable panel!!!!!


I feverishly opened that little red zipper pouch, and there it was.  Right where I left it.

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Not attached to my bag.

That pretty expandable panel will never expand again.

I know, I know, a more perfectionistic sewist would rip it out and do it right.

But I’m not that girl.  I’d rather shed a few tears, take some Advil from the resulting headache, and then move on.

Let’s not forget, I still have the abominable binding to hand stitch on.  And I’m pretty sure I’m doing that wrong too.  So let’s just get this thing over with, right?

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I’ll lovingly remember my expandable panel… I’ll pay homage to it through this post.  But I absolutely will not redo it.  Ce la vie. Mom won’t mind.

And maybe the lack of the expandable dragonfly-print panel will save me a few bucks at QuiltCon. Cuz, you know, I’ll be able to fit one less yard of that new Cotton & Steel print in my bag. Sigh

I’m linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedSew Fresh Quilts

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  • Reply cheryljbrickey February 11, 2015 at 8:44 am

    I think the bag looks great and I love your commentary!

  • Reply Ruth February 11, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Oh I feel bad for chuckling at your description but i can see so easily how it was missed. I’ve only made 1 proper bag with 2 zips and they are fiddly! Funny how proud you get later, imperfect bag but perfectly all mine!

  • Reply Sew Crafty Jenn February 11, 2015 at 9:40 am

    That’s a lot of zippers! Wow! And I’m sorry, but the way you describe the missing zipper pull made me laugh. And that line about Bruce Jenner? Too funny! I think your bag is going to turn out beautifully even with all that trouble!

  • Reply Genevieve February 11, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Oh no! This is so exactly what would happen to me if I were brave enough to attempt a bag! What about a little keyhole surgery to open the top of the band, tuck the zipper tab back on, and sew up the hole by hand? The bag looks beautiful in any case. The closed zip can be a decorative touch. 🙂

  • Reply quiltingjetgirl February 11, 2015 at 10:00 am

    …and that is why I don’t sew bags, either! Bless the people who do and enjoy it!

  • Reply sandralouise February 11, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Oh, Steph – you are so brave to even attempt such a bag! I bow down to you. I keep thinking I want to make bags, maybe even make a new tote for QuiltCon, and then I remember the zippers and I get over that idea…

  • Reply Conni February 11, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    your bag looks great, and if you don’t tell, nobody will know anything about the missing zipper

  • Reply Mary Pat Callihan February 11, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    I swear, I love you to pieces! Best post EVER!

  • Reply Rachel Dreher February 12, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    O my!! I would be SO frustrated! Bags are so hard…I wish I had the talent with zippers that some people have.

  • Reply bkringel February 16, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Great post – I bet it will be good enough, right? Not everything has to be perfect. Good job.

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