Monday, August 10, 2009

Diaper Bag is Possessed by Sewing Gremlins

After all is said and done, my sister's diaper bag turned out to be a pretty snazzy specimen. Getting to the snazzy part, though, was quite turbulent.

After perusing pattern after pattern on the internet, I settled on Butterick B5005, View C. I used an upholstery remnant purchased at Hart's for the outer layer and a blue poly-cotton yard sale find for the inner layer (all part of catering to my sister's love of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle). I opted out of the optional iron-on vinyl coating and also ended up opting out of the interfacing. Now that I think about it, I think those pesky Gremlins showed up when I purchased the interfacing.

The pattern calls for something called "hair canvas" to be used for interfacing. Hair canvas? Never heard of such a thing and neither, apparently, had the clerk at Hart's. She directed me to some very heavyweight normal-looking interfacing. We both agreed to try it and she cut me the required 2 1/8 yards. While I was looking for the handle webbing, she came over with the bolt, looking a bit flustered, and showed me the price--a whopping $12.99 a yard! She had no idea and then said, "Well, I've already cut it..." Oh well. Turns out this was not even the sew-in type of interfacing that I needed, but some sort of double sided fusible thing. Ugh. I decided to cut it up and sew it in anyway. After about the third panel, I realized that this stuff was going to make the bag really stiff. Not to mention the fact that I would have to sew through all of these super thick layers, so I ripped the stitches from everything but the bottom panel. I did not want to use the recommended cardboard lining for the bottom of the bag, so I figured that this stuff would make a decent substitute.

So everything was going along quite smoothly with this bag and I kept scoffing at the one review that I had found of this pattern. Obviously that lady was not a Sewer Slut! And then I got to the point where the lining and the outer layer get sewn together. With right sides kissing, I sewed all the way around the perimeter of the bag. Then I turned it only to find that I had not turned the zipper facing toward the outside of the lining and it was now stuck between the two layers. Rip. Rip. Rip.

Okay, so let's try that again. Pin pin. Sew sew. Turn. Looks good. Let's zip it up. What's this? The zipper is UPSIDE DOWN? For about a full thirty seconds the only thing I kept saying was "Seriously? Seriously?" This was the last thing I did last night. It was 10:00 p.m. and I thought I would wake up and give it a fresh start. Then this morning, I decided that the best thing to do would be to just rip out the zipper, turn it around and sew it back in. I got about three inches into my seam ripping when I realized the folly of my thinking. This would be a near impossible task. It took me about 20 minutes just to sew up those three inches, so can you imagine how long it would have taken to re-sew the entire thing?

I turned the bag inside-out again, ripped the seams, flipped the zipper facing and sewed it up. It worked! Hah! Take that, Gremlins! I finished it up with some top-stitching, instead of understitching (because I still can't remember what that is!). It looks pretty good. What do you think:

And here it is filled with baby goodness. Looks like there's still space for some more things...

Overall, the bag is really nice. It could use a tad bit more support (curse you, hair canvas!) and slightly clearer directions. Or perhaps, I just need to follow them better. Case in point: At one point the directions wanted me to clip to small dots after sewing the pockets onto the lining. I looked at those directions and looked at the lining and thought, "Now why would I do a stupid thing like that?" Then I got to the point where I needed to sew it onto the bottom lining and realized that I actually did need to clip it. Ugh. Perhaps the problem with the zipper was the same. Perhaps I just ignored the step that said match circles or squares...I refuse to go back and check.


boofsmom said...

Hair canvas is super super stiff stuff that has been around for-ever. Not too many patterns call for it anymore, and it's quite hard to find. I can only find it at an independent little fabric shop, not at any chain stores. The stiff interfacing you got should have worked fine, although you didn't need the iron on stuff.

I think your bag turned out great! I made a similar bag a year or so ago and had similar issues to you, so don't feel bad!

boofsmom said...

Crap-sorry. Meant to also say that it was made out of horsehair, hence the name. I don't know that they still make it out of that, my guess is that it's probably synthetic anymore.

Rachel Eloise said...

Thanks, Boofsmom, for your comments! Good thing I didn't use that horsehair sister is a vegetarian and she may not have approved!