Friday, March 28, 2014

Earning The Stripes

Stuff does not get done by thinking about it, wishing it were done, imagining it or pretending. At some point, I have to sit down and do it. I have been collecting supplies, ideas, and tools for some serious bag-making for a few months with the goal of eventually working more seriously with leather.

But baby steps:
linen tote
(bead zipper pull made by Selena Wells)

The first bag I sat down to make is linen (mostly). Purchased handspun tow linen hand towel fabric, of which I had about a yard. Enough for a tote bag, and a good first step into the breach.

There are leather parts: the bottom of the bag is reinforced with leather, and the zippers have leather tabs around them. Both of these areas on a utilitarian bag such as this get plenty of wear. I wanted to use leather for the straps, but I did not have any leather long enough, and (duh! this is how we learn) did not think of piecing it!

So I went shopping for red, or barring that, off-white or beige cotton woven webbing. All I could find was dead white. So I went old school and dyed it with tea...

(it was about time to retire these anyway, sad well-traveled little wads that they were: I keep a few extra bags in my carry on for emergencies. There are very few emergencies where tea will not assist).

I heated water and steeped the tea bags, then plopped the webbing in a pan:

and let it soak overnight:


It matches the linen fabric perfectly. Still, a little dull, so I stitched on some red twill tape:

and now had the perfect straps. There are pockets inside and out, some open, and some with zippers (one can never have too many pockets). Of the several in the lining, this one is a favorite...
inside pocket, linen bag
left to right: a flat pocket, then a columnar pocket for a spindle, big enough for a spindle with a cop-in-progress, next there is a pen pocket, and last an expandable pocket.

The top zipper closure was a screaming success on this bag, so I took an older bag, ripped out its less-than-stellar zip-closure and replaced it!
celtic project bag

Two new bags: one completely new, and an older one remodeled and now more useable!

Yes, there was learning. It involves sewing and ripping out, throwing away parts that did not work, and trying again. It's what happens when I try things out. When I have to think things through and just go for it. But now I know lots more! I have more mad bag-making skillz, and have started two more bags... Next post!

I also finished a simple little stripey project bag:
handspun silk project bag

Handspun silk, about 8" x 9", for the bag exhibit at the upcoming CNCH conference in Oakland. Several classes have now expanded space for enrollment, so if you are thinking of weaving/spinning/dyeing and want a class to jump start: now's your chance. There are vendors, and galleries too, if taking a class is not possible right now. It should be a good show (and I will have 3! bags on display in the gallery area. Oh! Maybe 4, if I get busy and get back to work :)!).


Blogger Barbara said...

I thought your class at CNCH was full?

Now I'm thinking about coming over for it - what do you think?

10:46 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

I am jealous of your bag making and I'm not even a bag lover.

Oh, wait, there are 5 bags within two feet of me here. Hmm.

4:53 AM  
Blogger Anne P said...

LOVE the combination of the natural linen and red - That is stellar!

7:26 AM  
Blogger Anne P said...

LOVE the combination of the natural linen and red - That is stellar!

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Marcy Habetrot said...

Whee! I've been wondering when we might be seeing the results of all your fact finding. Red does make everything better.

8:11 AM  

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