Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Project Floral Bag

Hey Peeps!

Long time no see, how have you all been? I've had the most amazing summer I can't quite believe it's October already, how did that happen? I've been very busy.....so busy it seems that blogging kinda fell by the wayside. I've had birthdays, been on holiday, spent time with my fabulous friends and family, gone blonde.....and back to red, watched my Baby Bother get married (third times the charm LLB!) and generally been very busy making all the things! I've got a list of unblogged items that is nearly as long as my arm..... dressing gowns, dresses, coats, a WEDDING DRESS (yes I made my Sister In Law's aka Big Bird wedding dress..... so scary but also so amazing!), bags and last but not least photo albums.

Today I'm going to share my latest make.....Project Floral Bag......
 ......I finished this bag this evening and my first reaction was......"meh"......!!!! I think this meme explains my mindset though......
......I find I go through this process with nearly everything I make, sometimes it takes a while to progress past Stage 4 but I almost always do. Today and this bag was no exception. The "meh" lasted all of about forty minutes but they were a long forty minutes. I've had Project Floral Bag percolating in my head for a while now; about ten years ago I bought this bag....

.....from Accessorize. It was love at first sight, my inner Magpie was very happy indeed with all the sparkly bits and beautiful embroidery. As you can see it is now falling apart, not bad for ten years of hard use. I've never really been a bag person, I've owned one designer bag which was nice but I eventually sold it as I knew someone else would love it more and it was just a little bit too grown up for me. I like my bags shiny and impractical (c'mon that Accessorize bag is made of velvet and beaded!).

Project Floral Bag started out life in my head with me trying to recreate my Accessorize bag exactly, so I started out playing around with peacock motifs...
 .....which I liked but it dawned on me that I could rectify all the things about the Accessorize bag that had bugged me; a little too small for ALL the things I like to lug about with me, no zip and only one internal pocket. So I went back to the drawing board and drafted (ha! that sounds so fancy for what was in fact drawing out a very simple shape) a new and improved Hobo bag pattern with all the bells and whistles I wanted.

Once I had the basic shape of my bag decided on I drew it out on the brushed cotton twill I'd bought to give me a rough guide for the embroidery motifs.........oh the embroidery motifs!
Bloody Hell that was a labour of love. I'm not sure how the original peacock embroidery idea mutated into edge to edge floral motifs.....
......but five whole days (and some evenings) later I finally had a finished bag front and handle! There wasn't really a plan with the motifs I used.....there's  some fruit, a parrot and many many flowers in there and overall I think they work. If/when I do this again I think I'll work methodically from left to right instead of hooping one side then jumping to the other which meant I ended up kinda smooshing things into awkward gaps that were left in the middle. (It's Stage 4 of the creative process again there!) I used regular machine thread instead of embroidery thread for this project as that was all that I had available and I think it's worked out really well, a few of the motifs aren't quite right colour wise as I didn't have the hugest range of tonal colours to choose from but it looks beautiful all the same. (Embroidery thread is definitely on my Christmas wish list! I have so many more projects simmering away in my brain.....)

Next up was construction.....I did get the fear a bit when I thought about cutting into the embroidered fabric....what if I make a mistake??? All that work ruined! But I gave myself a stern talking to and just got on with it.....whats the worst that could happen??? Thankfully no huge errors were made and things went smoothly, I got the interior pockets I wanted.....
.....one zippered and one perfectly sized for my phone, I also added a key loop which I'd had in a previous bag and loved (this is a big bag to be fishing around in trying to find your keys!). Lining wise I fell in love with this shiny two tone lining fabric from Stone fabrics but decided that it was probably not a great idea to add pockets etc straight to that so I added a facing and lots of interfacing.....those pockets aren't going anywhere! The strap was interesting with a lot of trial and error (I've never made a bag before, there was definitely a learning curve.....) but I love how it's turned out. I'd originally thought of using an ivy leaf motif for the embroidery but it just wasn't on the right scale when I trialled it so I used these star/circles instead which I think are simple enough to not clash with the main body of the bag. 

All in all I'm very happy with my new bag and hopefully this one will last me the next ten years! 

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