Friday, November 30, 2012

Simplicity 2617 - will I never finish this bag?

First thoughts upon awakening this morning – creating a buttoned flap.  Last night, I did not get to bed by 8 as I had hoped.  Instead, I searched frantically for the perfect button for my flap closure.  I was thinking black or gold and large, but I had nothing.  I am a bright color person, so whenever I see buttons I love, they are usually crazy colors.  At 8:15, I ran out the door to go to Jo-Ann’s to look for a button- they are about 8 miles away and they close at 9, so I hurried. 

I ran in the store and headed for the button aisle.  As I approached it, from about 15 feet away, I could see the most perfect button – it was big and it was red!  (Since I have commented somewhere previously about my bad eyesight, I should probably clarify about it here – close to my face, everything is a blur, but I have eagle eyes at a distance.)  The button is a 1-9/16” diameter and has a wonderful texture to it.  It was the only one like it and I grabbed it, but I searched through everything else before making up my mind.  I looked at black and gold, but nothing caught my eye like this one.  The red goes well with the fabrics.

This morning I got the lining sewn together – I like the weight of the interfacing.

Finished, I want the closure flap to be 6” x 3” so I drafted a rectangle 7” x 4” to account for ½” seam allowances.  I marked the center and then used a cup to create a curve at the bottom.  

I am going to cut this out with my rotary cutter and ruler – much easier.  I will also only interface one side with the heavyweight interfacing.  I decided to cut the front out of the fabric with all the writing and the back part out of the lining so when the purse is open, the flap will blend with the lining.

I marked the seams on the lining side before I started sewing.

They didn’t look straight in this picture so I remarked them before I sewed!

I got it stitched all the way around when I realized I should have padded it a bit to topstitch it like everything else.  Argh.  I took it out.   Then, to get the padding, I had to move out a table or two to get to the tub where I keep the battings and paddings.  Before I put them back, I took the time to move a couple of things to make it easier to get it out next time.

While basting the padding to the wrong side of lining part of the flap, I realized I was covering the marked lines to sew the seam of the flap, so I had to remark the interfacing side of the other side of the flap.  (wow, it seems like there are a lot of sides involved in that sentence!)  I feel like I am making about 20 times more work for myself!

After all the extra steps, I finally got it sewn, turned and ironed.  Not totally perfect, but probably as perfect as I will ever get close to!

I decided on three lines of top stitching and I centered it by folding and then ¾” from the center on each side.  Of course, I marked them and used the zipper foot because I do much better when I do that.  However, in the case of the last line sewed, the one on the left, I was pretty much off the mark.  It’s okay, I can live with it.

At this point, I’m a bit worried.  I am not at all embarrassed to admit – I am scared to do the button hole.  I have spent my life avoiding patterns that called for button holes.  All morning long I have been telling myself not to worry about the button hole – my machine has a handy-dandy button hole foot- it can do it all by itself, well, almost by itself.  The only problem I foresee is operator-error.  Time to get out the instructional manual and plenty of scrap fabric. 

And horror strikes- the buttonhole foot is not big enough for my button!  Ack!   What moron invented a buttonhole foot that is limited to 1” buttons?!?  I don’t sew straight enough to be able to just create my own buttonhole with the zigzag stitch, so my alternative is to use my mother’s non-electronic sewing machine to make a 4-step buttonhole.   So I guess I will stop for the day- I have some class work to do anyway, I was just procrastinating on it as long as I could.  <sigh>

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Making a Pocket - Simplicity 2617

The day started out with a headache.  I had to take Harry to his toddler class, and he wouldn’t eat but half a waffle fro breakfast.  By the time class started at 9, he was a bit fractious.  Good example of how important a good breakfast is!

After class, we went to Wally-World.  When I made the Hippie Bag, I really liked the stiff interfacing I used for the outside- for the lining is another matter.  I decided I wanted to use a lighter interfacing on this one and of course, I didn’t have enough of what I had.  Wally-World was fun.  Harry didn’t want to sit in the kid seat, so I let him sit in the big part of the basket.  The lady was cutting the interfacing and I realized Harry had been awful quiet for awhile. 

In my experience, Harry being quiet means he’s either pooping or into something he knows he shouldn’t be.  I look over at him, and he had opened the small tube of hand lotion I was buying and had it all over his hands and legs!  That intensified my headache.  I knew at this point that we would not be looking around at anything else, and we headed for checkout.  When we got into the car, he had a screaming fit because he didn’t like the song playing on the radio.  I thought about turning it up louder to drown him out, but instead I just turned the radio off.

Harry chanted “night, night” all the way home, so I knew he was tired, but I wanted him to eat something first.  Mom was making rice and Foo-Yuk when we got home, which is basically just a sauce with chicken and vegetables in it like a stir fry.  I put a bowl of that in front of the kid and he ate like we had been starving him all this time.  He pulled pieces of broccoli and cauliflower out and would go “Yum, broccoli” and “Yum, cauliflower” and scarf them down.  I am so happy he likes vegetables – his sister won’t usually eat them, much like their mother.

Anyway, I was very happy when he told me he wanted to lie in his bed and watch TV for a little while and then go to sleep.  Of course, being 2, he didn’t say it in quite so many words, but I knew what he wanted.  He watched Max & Ruby for about 20 minutes and then yelled “Lowa, over!”  And he lay right down and went to sleep – what a good kid he is!

Finally – me time!  I cut out the lining pieces for the bag, and the interfacing.  I had wanted something of a medium weight interfacing, but all Wally-World had was heavyweight, super light, or featherweight.  I liked the way the featherweight felt on the bolt, not as light as I thought featherweight should be, so I thought I would try it. 

I don’t know about anyone else, but I do not like ironing on interfacing.  I just feel like I am never doing it right, even though I am reading the directions.  It usually says to use a damp pressing cloth- well, I don’t have a real pressing cloth, I have to use a wash cloth, and to keep it damp means I have to keep running into the bathroom to re-wet it.  Today, my brain clicked and I tried something different.  I steam basted around the edges to hold it down to my material, and then I turned it over, lightly sprayed the material with the sprayer from my iron, and then ironed it.  The interfacing went on better than any other time I have tried to do it.  Why hasn’t anyone ever told me this before??!!

After a break to pick Layla and her friend up from school, I was back, ready to tackle the pocket.  I have never done a pocket like this and I was really confused as to why I was supposed to cut TWO pocket pieces.  The picture on the directions looked like only used ONE.  I decided to go ahead with one and see what happened.

I marked the pocket sewing lines on the back panel lining and on the pocket piece and then pinned them right sides together.  

After sewing around the marked lines, which are hard to see in the picture, I cut through the center of the sewn rectangle and angled out to the corners, turned it to the outside of the lining and pressed.

I wasn’t sure if the odd shape was the result of my crooked pinning or crooked ironing.  The zipper had to be centered in the hole – which the crooked hole seemed too big for!

But after sewing around it, I caught in all the sides of the zipper and it looked okay.  Still not seeing where I need the second pocket piece.

Sorry for such crummy pictures – this material really doesn’t photograph well.  The color doesn’t look right in any of those photos!

To finish the pocket, on the interfacing side of the lining, the piece is just folded in half and sewn around- I also trimmed the seam and zigzagged around to give it a bit more strength.

It doesn’t look too bad – and you don’t need that second pocket piece at all.  It lines itself.  Here it is open-

I have to say, that was not as hard as I was imagining.  I’m finding out more and more that it really is pretty easy if you are following the directions closely.

Looking at the next step in the directions, I find that I was wrong about a closure for the bag- it calls for a magnetic snap.  I don’t like magnetic snaps – I have deactivated many debit cards thanks to them, so I think I will still create a flap with a button closure.

So it’s time to sew the lining pieces together.  I was beat from starting my day with a wrestling match with Harry, so I decided to stop there.  Going to do my best to be in my bed by 8 pm, which I don’t do very often.  Maybe I will be able to finish up tomorrow- just need to sew the lining, make a flap with a button hole and then the strap.  Not too much work for one day... I don’t think.  J

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My first time with D rings!

Last night’s search did not uncover 2” D rings, so this morning Harry and I made a trip to Hancock Fabrics.  I’m glad we went – if I had the rings in the right size, they probably would have been silver, and I got to thinking that since the red brocade has a gold pattern in it, gold D rings would have been better.  Got ‘em and ready to go!

The tabs are not big, and I wanted them to be mostly black, so I fussy cut again out of the rooster fabric – this time getting the bigger sections of black as I did not want a decapitated rooster on there.  Here they are cut and interfaced-

I sewed the wrong sides together from the short ends, trimmed the seam allowance and turned them.  They were ironed flat with the seam in the middle of one side, and then I stitched five rows down them- I figured they were so small, I wouldn’t be lazy this time.  LOL   Folded them in half with the D ring, and basted them onto the bag body-

The top stitching looks crooked, but who’s going look at it except me?  J

Up next is the lining with the zippered pocket.  I do not like a dark lining in a purse or bag– it makes a purse a cave, am I right?  I looked at all the light stuff I have, and came across this piece of cream with a tan marbling.  The selvage reads Cranston Print Works.  It’s really hard to get a good photo of, but it goes well with the other fabrics, since they have a bit of a pebble look to them.

I am so glad this is a fabric I don’t have to try to figure out its direction!

I got the front/ back and bottom sections cut from the lining fabric, but this is where I have to stop for today.  I have to pick Layla and her friend up from school, then I am going to a friend’s house to help with her computer.    I feel like this bag is taking me so long to get together, but I know I have had several interruptions along the way!  I hope to get something done late tonight.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Moving Along on Simplicity 2617

As soon as Harry went to sleep this morning, I tried to catch up on a couple of things – I made a name label for granddaughter Layla’s jacket for school, I fixed a stuffed toy that was coming apart, I pulled a bunch of stuff out of the closet that I needed and to do that required moving half of everything in the room and then putting it back, I fixed where Layla had gotten stuck on the little stamped cross stitch project I started her on, and I caught up on some emails.  Just as I was finishing the emails, I could hear Harry start singing – he only slept for an hour!  I’m happy that I got quite a bit accomplished in an hour, but boy, I sure would like some more free time!

Thankfully, GG (Great-grandma) was up for a bit of Harry time and I came back upstairs to get a bit done on the Rooster Bag.  I had decided to fussy cut the fabric for the bottom and sides, to make sure the fabric was upright from both sides.  As I was cutting it, I realized – I don’t know how to read Chinese – I have no idea if it is upright or not!  Duh!  I was literally LOL at my stupidity!

I jumped online to see if I could find this particular fabric, hopefully photographed right side up.  No luck. Then I thought to compare it to the rooster fabric – it also has Chinese writing and I know which way that one goes for sure!  Sure enough, there were a couple of symbols that kind of looked the same, so the way I cut looked right.  I sewed them together, and I just figure, if anyone ever tells me they are upside down, I will just apologize for my ignorance!

The directions called for heavy non-fusible interfacing, and I had nothing non-fusible.  I yelled down to my mom, and asked what she had, and turns out she had a special interfusing just for making bags and purses!  Yay, Mom!  After basting the interfusing on, I stitched three lines down the length of the piece- the directions call for five lines, but I didn’t want to go into overkill.  Trust me, three lines of stitching looks fine and I guess that is all I will do on the strap as well.

Next comes pinning the side/bottom to the front and back sections of the purse.  It really is important to clip as you are trying to go around a curve.

first side pinned
first side sewn

Then the other side-

second side pinned
second side sewn

Turned it right side out and voila!  Doesn’t look bad!  Again, I am surprised by the size – but I am really happy with the size of the Hippie Bag so I believe I will also really like the size of this one.


This is where I have to stop tonight, even though I would love to continue on.  The next step is to attach the tabs with the D rings to hold the strap- I bought two sizes of D rings, and they are both too small.  Going to search through some old stuff and see if I have the right size (2”), if not, I will have to make a run to Hancock Fabrics or Jo-ann’s tomorrow.

This bag does not have a zippered top, so I may try to create a tab to go over and button.  There is a zippered pocket inside, but I prefer to be able to close the top in some manner.  This would also offer a perfect opportunity for embellishment!

Back tomorrow!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday :-(

Well, it certainly is Monday.  It doesn’t look like I am going to get any work done on the Rooster Bag today because of the paper I have to write for my English class – I still haven’t started it and have less than 11 hours to get it done.  I have only eight classes to finish for my BA, but I am really feeling burned out – my enthusiasm has definitely waned. 

Last night, even though I was dead tired, I finished all the quilting on the front and back panels.

I used invisible thread and like how it looks.  Removing all the basting threads wasn’t easy, but I got them out without damaging anything – I was really afraid of pulling a thread in the brocade.  The lines look pretty straight, which is a huge accomplishment for me.

So, if I get some time this afternoon/evening, I will push on.  The gusset is next- will probably make it out of the material on the left of the panels, not the roosters.  It will be just like on the Hippie Bag, where I will have to cut it into two pieces to make the design upright on both sides, rather than cutting it on the fold.

I'll be back....  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Start your engine!

This morning started me with a short interruption to take pictures of a friend’s house she has for rent.  If anyone is in need of a 3 bedroom, 2 bath rental in a nice gated community in the southwest area of Las Vegas, please check it out here.  In addition to a beautiful house, my friend is a super landlord, paying for the gardener, the pest control, and a home warranty for repairs!

But today I did get to fire up the old sewing machine!  YAY!  I put together the panels for the front and back of the Rooster Bag:

The hard part for me when sewing something other than a quilt is to remember to press the seams open. 

The band across the top of the panels is where I am using the polyester brocade.  My hands are so dry I have to be careful not to touch the cut edges or it just frays like mad.  I was very careful to overcast this seam well, then I pressed it toward the band.

Next came the interfacing for the front and back.  The directions call for heavyweight interfacing, which I used, but I was a bit hesitant of what it was going to do to the brocade, so I didn’t use as high a heat.  Of course, it didn’t fuse to the brocade.  I tried a most pressing cloth and made the iron a bit hotter, but I was afraid of melting that polyester material.

You can see how it started to wrinkle in the brocade area.  I decided to leave well enough alone, and just stay stitched close to the edge around that part.

The front and back of this bag are quilted, so next comes the padding.  The directions say to baste it all around the edges, but I made an X across the middle as well to make sure it says down during quilting.

I trimmed the padding up to the basting stitches.  Then I had to figure out how to do the quilting.  I have never been terribly successful at machine quilting before, but I know it is a fear I must face.  I did several tests on scraps to see what I liked, and finally decided that it is fairly easy if you mark the straight lines first, and use the zipper foot to keep the stitching straight.

The directions show quilting all the way up into the band (red), but when I did that part, I didn’t like it.  I have spent probably 2 hours testing and ripping stuff out to get it where I like it.  I have only gotten this half of one side finished so far- it’s only 4:30pm but my sewing space is getting dark and I am beat.  And I guess I really should work on the 1,500 word paper I have due for my English class tomorrow, since I haven’t started it at all.

I have Harry all day tomorrow, so I hope I get some free time.  Sometimes he takes a 3 hour nap – dare I dream?  J

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Another day without the pedal to the metal...

I thought I was going to get so much done today.  Then, I got an invitation to go out to Boulder City and ride the train, so everything else was pretty much dropped.

It’s a fun ride, only about 35 minutes long- the drive out to Boulder City takes longer.  The kids enjoyed it-

The station is a museum, so there are a couple of trains to see-

and one train has a post office mail car open to see what they were like in the days of old.  They will be having a Santa train next month, only $5 a person, so that should be a lot of fun.  It only runs on the weekends- more info can be found here.   If you are local or planning on coming to Las Vegas, it’s worth the drive out to Boulder City.

Other than that, I got a couple of pieces cut out for what I am now calling the Rooster Bag, and I got the embellishment done for the Hippie Bag-

Where the two sections of the strap meet

The zipper pull 

I have actually had to redo the wire for this since the picture was taken – it got “pulled” by a small child, so I had to reinforce it.  I am now using the bag and I love it- the strap length is perfect and it has a nice feel on my shoulder!
Well, I am going to cut out more pieces for the rooster bag tonight, I hope.  I have a bit of schoolwork to do for my online English class so that will take up some of my time.  I may try to put some of the bag together tonight if I have time.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

I hope everyone had a really great day yesterday and are enjoying leftovers today.  I like that “next-day sandwich” made like a Bobbie from Capriotti’s!  But hopefully all the leftovers will be gone by tonight, because by tomorrow I will be so over it.

I know I said I wouldn’t do it, but I did anyway – I ventured out on Black Friday to Jo-Ann’s.  I found the beads and charms I need to finish off the Hippie Bag-

The little peace charms look gold in the picture, but are actually silver.  I loved the button – going to put it on the strap with a couple of strings of beads.  That will be finished up tonight- pictures tomorrow.

Ok, so after the turkey yesterday, I ironed and narrowed down my fabric choices.  Of the five pieces I originally pulled out, I am at only two of them now.  They are both from The Alexander Henry Fabric Collection, one is called “tsuk kanji” and the other is “rooster’s tale” and both are dated 2002.  I really like the roosters- in Chinese astrology I am a rooster, so it’s fitting!

The pattern piece for the front and back is just the right size for me to fussy cut the roosters out.  Not exactly what I had in mind, and I’m sad the dragons have to go back into their lair for awhile.  I will have to find a project just for them soon.

I was left a little perplexed as to what to do about the piece that fits above the front and back pieces – it’s a strip that will only be about 12.5” X 3” finished, so I thought maybe I could add a little pop.  I have the most beautiful jacket I bought at a thrift store for only $3 – it has a tag that says it is a Charlotte Ford II Design, red satin with a stunning Chinese or Indian floral design.  I bought it for the express purpose of cutting it up.  But I just couldn’t bear cutting into it.  I may have to put it up for sale on an auction site.  As I was putting it back in the drawer, another flash of red got my attention.

It was a piece of polyester brocade that I have had just about forever.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  The red is so vivid with a design of golden cherry blossom branches.  Gorgeous!

I will just have to be really careful with the edges and over cast it well.  It should provide a lovely bit of color to the purse.

So that is where I am.  Tomorrow I will be sewing, because this is Day 4 I have not turned on the sewing machine.  I will just get my buzz on with the beads and charms for the rest of today!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Turkey Day!

On this day of thanks, I must mention all the wonderful people in my life who take care of me, and not necessarily by choice.  Being unemployed, my only option was to move in with my family, and they took me without complaining – at least to my face.  My mother, who has put up with me for 50+ years, still worries if I am late getting home. My little brother, Casey, puts up with me so I can fix his computer occasionally.  My beautiful daughter, Alexis, and her wonderful husband, Mike, put up with me because I take care of the kids- two beautiful kids, I might add.  I know I am a huge pain in the ass because I can be an obnoxious crabby bitch, and I know I am always right.  I hope they all know how grateful I am to them, and even though you can’t pick your relatives, I’m very glad they are the ones I got stuck with. 

Okay, so moving on.  Today I dug through fabric and came up with five pieces I really like for this pattern – Simplicity 2617 – they all have red in them, which is always good.  I love the purple dragons and have been anxious to do something with them! 

I don’t know that I will use all of them, but it is always a possibility.  Since the front and back of the bag each have 3 sections, there is a good chance I will try to put them all in there. 

As I was trying to decide, my delightful daughter came in and told me that my next project was supposed to be a bag for her.  I told her she has just a few days to decide – she will be the focus of Project #3.

So as I turned to my little cutting table, I was greeted by this:

Sheme had taken up residence on top of my pattern- I wonder if she is trying to tell me something.  I keep telling her that I am not the one cooking the turkey and not to worry, she and her sister will get a few bites.  Perhaps she knows I forgot to mention her and Lhasa in my declaration of thanks above.  Rest assured, ladies, I adore you both- even when Sheme is sitting on my chest, licking my nose and sneezes on me, and even when Lhasa decides she wants some love and leaves me and the keyboard an inch deep in cat hair.  THAT is unconditional love!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Project 2 Underway

I spent the entire day going through the closet looking for the right beads and charms for the Hippie Bag – of course I did not find what I wanted.  Now I will have to wait until Saturday to go to Michael’s or Joann’s – I’m not brave enough to venture out on Black Friday.

So I have not actually sewn for two days – and I felt myself sinking again.  It’s amazing that something as simple as being creative can lift your spirits.  I will have to do my best to always have something going in the future.

There must have been at least 150 patterns I went through to find my next project, but I finally settled on Simplicity 2617, a bag by designer Autumn Hall.  All of the variations are terrific, but I think I will go with View A, top left:

This view uses three fabrics.  I have many Asian-inspired fabrics and I think they would be perfect for this bag- I know I can find three of them that will look nice together.

With this being a four day weekend for my daughter and her husband, I have four days where I don’t have to babysit- I am really looking forward to it!  I am so fortunate to have a son-in-law and a brother who like to cook, so tomorrow I will be free, except for the eating and clean-up parts of the day.  I will be selecting fabric, determining if I need to get anything extra (so glad I found my huge bag of old zippers while rummaging through the closet!), and reading all the directions to get ready to sew.  I will post fabric choices tomorrow!

Happy Thanksgiving to anyone who may stumble across this blog!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thinking about my next project...

Well, I spent all day switching this blog from Posterous to Blogger.  Posterous was just so lacking in features.  

I finally decided that the embellishments for the Hippie Bag will be love beads.  I am collecting up the beads now and will have pictures by the weekend, maybe sooner.

The bag was so much fun to make, I am looking through all my other bag patterns to see if that is what I want to do next.  Another option is some pajama pants - its getting cold and I could sure use some new ones- my girls (Lhasa and Sheme) are warm, but I think I would need about 8 cats in the bed to stay warm enough!

Another option is teaching my granddaughter, Layla, how to sew.  She desperately wants to learn how to work the sewing machine, but at age 6, I am a little hesitant to teach her.  She loves watching me do it, which I could never get her mother interested in, so I will be very happy to teach her.

Decisions, decisions!  I will know tomorrow!

The Hippie Bag - Day 4 and It's Together!

November 19, 2012

Sewing was a bit challenging this morning because of babysitting my grandson Harry, age 2.  I had to put the iron away from his reach when I wasn’t using it, so there was a lot of back and forth to the bathroom to hide it, and a lot of waiting for it to warm up each time I plugged it back in.

Yesterday I had the body of the bag together except for the gusset for the bottom and sides.  The gusset is one long piece that fits around the sides and bottom and I wanted to use the peace signs material and get an entire row of the signs centered around.  I knew if I cut it on the fold, the signs would be upside down on one side.  So instead of cutting it on the fold, I centered it on the peace signs, cutting just half of it at a time, leaving a bit extra to sew it together.

After I put it together with the interfacing and lining, it needed to be stay stitched, and I top stitched that bottom seam.

Sewing on the gusset was tricky – at this point, I had 9 layers of fabric and interfacing.  But my plucky Athena was able to do it- I love this machine! 

This bag is much larger than I originally thought it would be, but I’m happy about that – more room to carry my junk around!

To finish the seams on the inside, bias bindings are used.  Rather than try to cut out that long piece of fabric on the bias, I just measured the pattern piece and cut it out with my rotary cutter.  Much straighter and accurate than had I had scissors in hand!  When I ironed the pieces, I used a light spray of starch to give them a little body.

Sewing the binding on the first side adds another 2 layers, making 11.  After putting the gusset on, I had to trim the seam to ¼”.  That gave me the brainy idea to use my quilting ¼” foot with the bar to stop the fabric from moving over.  Worked like a charm!
I decided to hand stitch the other side of the binding, so as not to screw up that nice seam.  I rather like it with the binding on the seams- nice polished look to it.  

I enjoyed the hand stitching – Harry took a nap for a couple of hours so it was nice to be able to sit quietly and do it.  I used to cross stitch a lot – it was my passion for over 20 years until my eyesight starting getting so bad.  Someday, I hope to get a new pair of glasses and be able to take it up again- I really miss it.
I turned the bag right side out and pulled out a few basting threads that were left – I think it is looking good!

Next came basting the top at the sides to the gusset where the strap ends will attach- I didn’t realize until I saw this picture that I didn’t use the same stitch length twice!  LOL

The strap – the very last part!  The long part of the strap is originally 18.25” and the smaller section is 8.5” – the pattern calls for adjusting it to the desired length.  Based on my own personal preferences, I lengthened the long part by 9” – I like a long strap on my purse.  To do that, I cut a straight line across the narrow part of the pattern piece and then added 9” of paper, making it same width, and taping it together.  Note – don’t iron a pattern piece that you have used tape on. <slaps forehead>

I decided to make the strap out of the flower material.  The directions call for interfacing all the strap pieces – I only interfaced one piece of each section. 

After sewing around them and leaving the wide end open, I had to turn them.  Thankfully, not too long ago I bought a set of those straw and dowl fabric tube turners, so it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.  I ironed them out and attached the one raw edge to the bag where the top meets the gusset, then flipped the ironed up side of the strap end over the raw edges of the top/gusset.  (Hope that makes sense!)  Then a little hand sewing to slip stitch that folded side down to the side of the bag.  Topstitching around the strap sections, and it’s pretty much finished! 

I am trying to decide how I want to connect the two strap ends (where it is pinned)- either with a button hole and large button, or just sew it together with some sort of embellishment, probably something with beads.  I have already decided to make a zipper pull with beads.
I love the inside – there are four pockets on both sides.

This has been an incredible experience for me.  By sharing what I was doing, I had to slow down, make sure I was doing it right, and take pictures. It’s amazing that I made it in just four days!  Sometime this week, depending on how energetic Harry is, I will be making the zipper pull and putting the strap sections together.  Will post photos as soon as I have that done!
I hope that in some way I can inspire someone else to give this a try – it really is a lot of fun.  Thanks for stopping by!