Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Paper or Plastic? I'll Take Cashmere, Please.

I didn't expect to post anything more before I left, but I managed to fit in one more project...

I had been pondering what purse/bag to take on the trip because it needed to be big enough to carry a lot, small enough not to be bulky, comfortable, easy to carry, somewhat secure from sticky fingers...the list goes on. The one I preferred is this sad and sorry looking messenger bag:
I've had it since at least 1999 and it looks it! It's in good shape and not very worn but the fabric is faded and stained. But I couldn't let it go because I love how it works (all the pockets and spaces are perfect) and how it fits. It can hold a lot but still sits flat against my body.

So I've been thinking about adding a "skin" to freshen it up. Since it seemed to be the only good candidate to take on my trip and there was no way I was going to appear in all those vacation pictures with this sad thing, I decided to take action.

My thought was to cover it with a felted sweater. I could have used regular fabric but then I would have to deal with raw edges etc. The felt could just be cut and applied.

I went through my stash of sweaters and narrowed it down to these two options, both cashmere but not suitable for raveling:
Yes the zebra print is cashmere. (Who would do that to cashmere? Anyway...) I decided the argyle was more my style, plus it was already felted whereas the zebra print was not. If I had a chance to make this project move along a little faster, I was going to take it!

Next step was to make a pattern from the bag:
 1. Trace
2. Cut. Then draw a second line in from the edge the same width as the binding on the bag that I was going to leave visible and cut again.
 3. Test. Close enough was close enough as the felt has enough give.
4. Cut out the pieces from the sweater.

I carefully cut the pieces from the front so that the argyle would line up on the two pieces above and below the zipper.

The argyle pattern was only on the front of the sweater, so I ended up using some of the plain black from the back as well.

5. Sew in place. No pictures. I guess I was too busy stitching! I did a small section by machine where I could, but most of it was done by hand. I just took small stitches on the front so the thread wasn't visible.

And by the end of a couple hours, I had a new (looking) bag!
Front.
Back
Looking at the pictures I almost like the back better with its contrasting fabrics and started to regret I didn't do that on the front above and below the zipper. But oh well. It is done and I like it. The cashmere feels soft and warm against my skin. It is perhaps a bit "winterish" (in colour I mean) for a trip in June, but again, "oh well."

This is a project I've been meaning to do for a while so it feels really good to have accomplished it. I'll keep the pattern pieces so I could always change the look again if I want. (I suspect what's really going to happen is that I'm going to end up recreating the whole bag, but that is for another time.)

And I think I will have to do something about the aging strap...something woven in black and red diamonds I think...(but again, another time).

For the final touch, I added a little pull to the zipper:
Now all I have to do is fill it with everything I need for the trip!!

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