June 2, 2011

Goodie Bag Swap (aka the last swap I'll be doing for a good long while)

For the last 6 months or so, I've barely had time to do any designing or actual quilting because of the borderline insane number of swaps I've been in. I can't say that I regret it, because how can you regret meeting awesome new online friends and receiving super cool stuff like this?

Today I finished sewing my last swap commitment, and aside from running the Goodie Bag Swap with Angela again in the fall, I'm taking a year off from swaps to focus on personal sewing and designing - it's time to get those creative juices flowing! I'll still be plugging along at my usual pace and posting on here, except that I'll be focusing more on posting helpful tutorials for you guys, original patterns, and more quilting! Yeah! Bring on the quilting! *bangs forks on table*

I taught myself to sew & quilt 100% through the internet back in 2007, and I wouldn't have been able to do it if it weren't for the generosity of bloggers who shared their patterns & tutorials for free. I want to pay it forward, because sewing has become a huge blessing in my life, and teaching others this skill has become one of my passions. It really excites me when I can help someone learn how to make something on their own...because isn't it so incredibly freeing to be able to make things for yourself? Exactly how you want them?! No more scouring stores looking for the perfect color, material, or details. Once you know how to sew, you can snap a photo, go home, and create it from scratch with new & improved features!

All that aside, I'm behind on so many wedding and baby quilts it's not even funny. The one I'm most excited about (that I probably won't get to until later in the summer) is a Mad Men inspired wedding quilt for my good friend Amanda. She got married this past weekend and I'm making an original quilt for her that I've dubbed the "Swanky Squares" quilt...it may or may not involve some retro-looking paper pieced blocks ;)

So here goes. These will be the last swap photos I post for a good looooong while. My partner asked for a messenger bag, and I decided to go all out because I like experimenting with hardware. This was my first attempt at sewing webbed belting material, plastic snaps and adjustable shoulder straps, and while it was a pain in the cartouche to finagle that stuff under my needle at times, overall, it wasn't nearly as bad as I anticipated.

The finished dimensions are roughly 17 x 12 x 4. I pulled the measurements from the messenger bag pattern in Sew What Bags, but the instructions and techniques in that book are pretty shoddy (no interfacing, unlined pockets, no interior pockets, nothing to fasten the flap, non-adjustable strap...who wants a big messenger bag with a non-adjustable strap?), so I didn't use anything other than the materials/cutting section. All the fabric is home decor weight and I interfaced the daylights outta this thing, so my partner can literally carry around bricks if she wants. I also added two zippered pockets because I like having lots of secure little compartments for hiding my stuff :)  I put one in the front flap because I once had a messenger bag with a pocket there, and it was a God-send. It kept me from having to fish through my bag for my keys and phone all the time - ugh.

Alright. Sorry. I'll stop blathering on now. I've really run quite the gamut of topics with this post, haven't I? Focus Kaelin, focus! Just shut your yap and show us the pictures, crazy blogger lady!

In 2 days it went from this...

Goodie Bag Swap

To this...

Messenger Bag for the Goodie Bag Swap

Messenger Bag for the Goodie Bag Swap

(the side panels are about 4" wide)
Messenger Bag for the Goodie Bag Swap

Messenger Bag for the Goodie Bag Swap

I told you I loved pockets. Total, there are 6 regular pockets + 2 zippered pockets.
Messenger Bag for the Goodie Bag Swap

My favorite fabric is the interior. It's a really heavy linen with brown stripes I found at a discount home decor shop.
Messenger Bag for the Goodie Bag Swap

You can fit a crapload of stuff in here. There's plenty of room left over even with a 3" binder, hardback book, and 2" wide software box crammed in there.
Messenger Bag for the Goodie Bag Swap

Here's a closeup so you can see the 3 different fabrics living in harmony....*ebony & ivory, live together in perfect harmony...la la la*
Messenger Bag for the Goodie Bag Swap


We have some things in common. I always tell people I am you tube taught! I also have a passion for teaching others how to sew and for sewing/quilting altogether. (Except I don't like constructing clothes as much!)

The bag turned out perfect in every way;)

Ooohhh, very nice, Kaelin! Your swap partner is going to love this (and if she doesn't, I'll send you my address *wink wink*).

Great bag, Kaelin -- but I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the year to come!!

AWESOME! I love that bag to pieces. I'm with you on the swaps too. I had to refrain from joining a few that were tempting. I need to take some time to do what *I* want to do! I'm sure I'll be swapping again in the fall though. :)

That was a fun post Kaelin. I just love that messenger bag! For all the purses, wallets and bags I've made, I've never tackled a messenger bag. You did an amazing job and I hope your partner appreciates all the thought and effort you put into it! What interfacing did you use, and did you fuse it directly to the back of each pattern piece? I have not yet found one that doesn't get all wrinkly when you look at the fabric from the right side - it looks downright yucky, especially on quilting weight cotton.

Enjoy your swap-free year. I'm on the same program, but I'll continue to do some private swaps with friends b/c I like them the best....that pretty little pouch swap was aces, too!

What a great bag! Love every detail. Your swap partner is going to be very happy!

Enjoy your new 'freedom'.

Count me among the swap-free, too! I am happy to start sewing for me me ME! I'm also interested in Krista's interfacing question.

Kaelin, I really, really enjoy your blog so much - your posts always make me smile.

Fabulous bag, Kaelin! Love it!

I use Pellon 950F Shirt-Tailor fusible interfacing for most projects. I like it because it's not as flimsy as most fusible interfacing, but not stiff as a board either. And I've never had problems with it wrinkling.

You can find it at Joann's mixed in with the regular interfacing - I love it so much I buy it by the bolt!

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