Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Morning Bags and Mama Bag

I call these Morning Bags, because I made them Monday morning before we went for our hike. A couple of weekends ago we stopped at a fabric store after soccer and on our way to get a birthday present. Immediately upon entering the store E saw this beautiful orange fabric, which appealed directly to my taste, so of course I said he could have a fat quarter of it, to make something out of. Then of course I had to let Z and M choose a fat quarter. M found this really ugly taupe/black/maroon abstract floral print (that he considered somewhat camouflagey), and I could not convince him to wait and let me look for real camouflage at another store (yes it is bad enough I would prefer to sew cammo). Z of course wanted more of what M picked out, but I talked him into/tricked him into choosing a print with cute raccoons on it (he was sufficiently distracted by a plate of cookies, but later got pretty mad at me. He got over it and I'm sure we'll both be happier with the raccoons). Only when I went to check out did I find out E's fabric was $4.50 for a fat quarter! By then it was too late to reverse the whole process (and I really did like it), so I went ahead and bought it feeling thankful I didn't grab one for myself too.

Monday morning our friend called to say she wouldn't make it hiking with us after all, and I was waiting for the doctor to call (finally doing something about the persistent cough), so our time pressures were somewhat relaxed, and I found myself at the sewing machine making little Christmas trees (don't ask) when Z found me out and announced he wanted to make his raccoon bag (he was over the ugly fabric by this time). I went with a quick no measuring, no ironing, eyeballing method: folded the quarter in half length-wise, cut enough off the top to make it proportionally pleasing, used some of the cut-off bit for a pocket on the lining (we went with an olive-greeny ticking stripe of which I have several acres of half-yards cut into quarters vertically), sewed the bottom/sides, put in a gusset in the bottom, added straps (twill tape that came wrapped around a tablecloth I recently purchased at TJ Maxx), sewed the inside to the outside, inside-out; turned it right-side out and top-stitched around the top.

By this time E had found us out and declared he wanted his bag too, and would not be put off, even when I reminded him that I had just made his cowboy vest on Sunday. We finally compromised that I would make the outside of his bag now, and finish the inside later. Finally Tuesday afternoon, when I'd slipped up to my room for a little rest, E found me and asked me to finish the bag (persistent little bugger!). I asked what he wanted for a lining and he said "stripes." I found two fat quarters of yellow strips that my mom had sent me when I was doing a patchwork pillow in yellow stripes and couldn't find any around here (by then I was done with the pillow, but it's getting a bit worn, and I have enough yellow stripes to make a few more). He wanted it to be "really pretty," so he picked yellow and white and green stripes for the lining and tiny yellow stripes for the pocket. I have to say, I'm a sucker for any of my boys wanting anything "pretty." I sipped through the last few steps, trying to finish before we had to get M off the bus, encouraging Z to go find his socks and put them on and hoping I heard wrong when E said he would go to the bus after he put his shoes on (I didn't--he was there, waiting for us and the bus when we got there...I had to assess why I was so concerned about him being out by the road by himself, after all I played near our street every day growing up, and found it was less about him running in the road, getting lost, or being kidnapped, and more concern about what other people would think seeing a four-year-old alone at the end of a long driveway with no house in sight...gotta get over that!)
It turns out the bags are reversible (I didn't even plan that!). Here's the inside of E's:

And here he is wearing it in the manner both of them prefer--as a backpack (at first I thought the two sets of straps would be annoying, but they lend themselves perfectly to modification):

And here's Z's peaking out the bottom of his jacket:

Since my boys got new bags, I needed one too. Actually the truth is I checked out a copy of Handmade Home from the library, and I'm feeling quite unnaturally obsessed with making EVERY SINGLE THING in it (god I can't wait until it's due back at the library!). I rummaged in my fabric boxes and found this quite ridiculous decorator fabric remnant (I have quite a few that I was buying for $1 at a nearby store for some reason), some minute blue checked cotton and a leg cut off of an old pair of blue jeans. Within a couple of hours I had whipped out the Mommy Bag.

Although it is not really my style or color (practically everything I own is green or orange), it is growing on my (I was lying in bed last night with it slung casually over my shoulder...). I like its sort of retro-look--I feel like I should load it up with cigarettes, lighter and ash tray and go driving off with my kids standing on their heads in the back seat (there's that Shirley Jackson influence again). Instead maybe I should stick a notebook and pen and go off somewhere and write, because all this crafting is severely distracting me from writing (look...I've even given up refusing to use the word "craft" as a verb!)


  1. i, too, am obsessed with fabric and have been dying to learn how to sew so i can make bags out of my collection of scraps over the years. i actually love the one you did, and it is very similar to the kind i want to make. it is indeed a bit retro looking. you'll have to teach me and then i can make hundreds of bags in my spare time.

  2. Yea! That will be fun...bags=instant favorite kind!


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