Sunday, April 8, 2012

Opening Day Bag

When I was 12, I had a pen pal. I loved her. I was not in love with the girl in California, who I never met, but I was in love with the idea that I got to write words to someone who lived across the country, and she read them, and I felt connected to her. I felt like I owed it to her to write awesome things about my not-so-awesome life so that she would read my awesome letters and marvel about how awesome I was.

I think I began almost every letter with the words, "I'm sorry it's been so long since my last letter."

I feel like I should use those words here, now, but I won't. Instead, let's pretend that you are my awesome pen pal, here to read about my awesome life, and it has not been over six months since my last post. Let's imagine that I have posted almost daily, and my super sewing and parenting and wifing abilities have been nothing short of awesome, and now you're here to read about my latest awesome adventure. Are we good, then?


Then let me tell you about the Zakka Style Sew Along, in which I am enthusiastically participating. If you are at all interesting in sewing and challenging yourself, I highly encourage you to check it out. Not that I am a procrastinator by nature or that I need the motivation of a great challenge to keep me going or that the first project in this book would have sat in a half-completed state on my sewing table for months were it not for this sew-along, but if any of those things were true, I feel confident that my being part of this group would remedy the situation.

I have decided that all of my projects for the sew-along will be sewn from upcycled/recycled materials, which shouldn't be hard, since almost all of the fabric I have is previously loved. More on that in another post. Anyhoo, for project #1, the Zig Zag Tote, I started off with this:

The beige is a linen/cotton blend curtain, new in a package when I scavenged it from a co-worker who was moving on to a place where she would not be needing the curtains she purchased but never hung. The green is an Ikea sheet which I love and which was the victim of an unfortunate bleach accident almost as soon as I brought it home from the store. The blue-and-white polka dot is also a curtain from a bag of thrifted fabric I procured well over a year ago.

Given these raw materials, plus a few other notions and the bulk of my weekend, I emerged with Project #1:

Truly, I adore it and I'm glad I did it. I'm always encouraging my students at school to reflect and ponder, so let me do that with this.

What I love about this project:

1. The directions are very clear.
2. The colors are perfect.
3. Because of the interfacings I used, this bag is sturdy - VERY sturdy. I'm pretty sure I could take it to the beach and use it as a sand bucket. I won't, but I could.
4. The size is ideal. When I began making it, I thought I might use it as a gift; however, as the process went along (and it was quite a process, for reasons that have nothing to do with the book or the instructions), I decided that something that took that much of my time was probably something I'd want to keep. I added one more interior pocket than is indicated in the instructions, so it is big enough for my iPod, my phone, and my Nook, plus all of the other purse essentials. It will definitely be my summer bag.
5. The double-sided handles are fun.

Things I learned from this project:

1. Patchwork, and quilting in general, is all of the work I always thought it was. And probably more. Those zig zags are all made from individually cut and sewn triangles, and since my seam accuracy is not always the best, my points are not perfect.
2. I used a heavier interfacing than is called for in the instructions, which makes for a really sturdy bag, but it was difficult to sew it some spots because it was SO thick, and had lots of layers (and not like an onion or an ogre, either). My Brother held in there like a trooper.
3. When quilting with a thread color that will show, it's probably good if your stitching is near perfect. Mine is not. It's wonky and crooked in some places, but I still love it.

Why the name Opening Day Bag? I'm glad you asked.

While watching the Opening Day of baseball last week, my husband pointed out the new stadium down in Florida. While he was ogling all of the state-of-the-art baseball stuff, I was drawn to the colors of the seats:

I don't think you can see it here, but some of the seats are green. The blue and the green really grabbed my attention, and thus, the Opening Day Bag was born. Plus, it's the "opening day" of the Zakka Style challenge. And it's the first time I've done any real quilting on a finished project. So lots of firsts here. The name fits.

Play ball!


Amy DeCesare said...

Love your bag, and the name for it! You nailed the look of the ballfield, which is so cool!

Michelle said...

Thank you, Amy!