As I started my remix of the EDC2 this week, I initially thought I had bitten off a bit too much than I could chew by trying to undertake a project like this one. Upon watching all the tutorial videos, I was feeling a certain sense of anxiety and dread that I would fail. (This is something I see quite often when teaching high school science.) I often had to settle down and tell myself, as I often tell my students, let’s take this one step at a time. There is no sense in worrying about step 32 when steps 1 to 31 have yet to be completed. With this feeling of anxiety and dread, I buckled down and got to work while telling myself: there is no shame in failing, as long as you do your best!
Step 1: Preparing my fabric
Last week, I was thinking that using canvas as my main fabric was the way to go, but when looking for canvas to use to my bag, I found it was hard to find exactly what I liked. The canvas material that I found was very expensive and it wasn’t quite the texture I wanted. Before making a decision, I decided to go look at the remnants section of the store and found some denim. After much consideration, denim was much more affordable and provided the rigidity and the structure I desired. Having cut all the patterns last week, a few hours of cutting and all my fabric was ready to go.
Step 2: Sew the pocket
The first task I undertook was installing the pocket on the liner of the bad. Positioning the pocket took a bit of measuring, but once everything was positioned, a few pins kept everything in place. I first folded over the edges and stitched them all the way around. This stops the material from fraying on the edges. Then I stitched the pocket to the liner remembering to not stitch the top. I added a couple vertical stitches to keep pens and markers in place. Although the stitching is not the nicest, as this will be inside the bag. I’ve accepted this result as a learning experience and decided to press on.
Step 3: Attaching the bottom to the outer bag
The next step was to attach the bottom piece to the outer bag. Although relatively straight forward of a task, I needed to fold over the edge of the denim and met a major obstacle. As once tries to fold over denim, the material has a tendency to regain its shape thus not keeping the fold. I had seen in one the Youtube tutorial videos someone use some special tape to hold the fabric in place when preparing it to be sewn. After a bit of rummaging in my wife’s supplies, I found said tape and was amazed at how well it worked! Not only did it keep everything in place, the constant width it provided made for a nice consistent professional look. I’ll keep that special tape in my toolbox for years to come! With everything taped up, top stitching the bottom to the bag went perfectly.
Step 4: Make the handles
This step was and interesting one for me. To make the handles, I first had to fold over strips of material and stitch them in a manner to make a long tube. Using fabric clips to hold everything in place, the stitching was rather simple to accomplish. The difficult part was turning over the tube to get the proper side on the outside while hiding the seam. A long stick proved to do the trick.
Once the tubes completed, I had to fold over a small section in the middle of each tube and stich them together to make the place where the handles are to be grasped. I was surprised by how well this technique worked and how it made the handles sturdier and more comfortable to grasp. I’ll never look at bag handles in the same way again!
Step 5: Attach the handles to the bag
Positioning the attachment points for the handles was simple. The pattern provided the exact locations. I simple overlaid the pattern on top of the bag, poked holes in the corners of the areas where the handles were to be attached and drew marks with my white pencil that I had retrieved from my sewing kit. I then traced the positions and removed the pattern. Now that I had clear locations for my handles, I need to attach them. I positioned them with sewing pins and stitched them with a rectangle stitch pattern with and x pattern within. As I got to the 4th handle, I was pretty happy with my improvement.
(Side note: At this point of the project, for the first time, I had the feeling of being one with the sewing machine. My old Signer was now an extension of my mind and by body. I felt complete trust in its abilities and the machine worked with me rather than against me. Perhaps this is the point where my anxiety started to fade, and I started having fun.)
Step 6: Stitching the sides of the bag and the liner
This step was simple, stich the sides of the bang and the liner. Making sure to hit my marks it went perfectly. The next part of this process proved to be a bit more difficult. I needed to add a second stich along the inside of the bag to provide strength to the structure. This required me to sew inside the bag and I had difficulty seeing what I was doing and it blocked much of the light from getting in. To solve this problem, I retrieved my trusty headlamp from my toolbox and my world was illuminated! (This is the type of problem solving I love!) Doing the inside stich went like a breeze.
Sept 7: Bottom stitch and flip
The last step was to do the final bottom stitch of both the bag and the liner do the final flip to reveal the bag in its half-done glory!
Next week: zippers, straps and clips!