Monday, January 5, 2015

zipper bags (with an update 2015)

Finally I had guts and time to try my first zipper and bag this past weekend while nursing my nasty head cold with antibiotics and mourning my broken molar tooth. Regrets to the Christmas caroling party I missed while I got completely caught up in the excitement of making something new with new tools and techniques home, all alone.
It began months ago with a inspiring blog post that made me think it might be simple, on Linda Fasules "I Finally Have Time" blog.
I bought a zipper foot for my antique Singer Featherweight machine and some zippers with thread to match some of my fabrics. Then they all sat in the bag for many weeks as I learned more about what I needed. I had collected some of the wrong materials which I discovered in emails with Linda. In any case the right stuff was collected several times over until it was just a matter of getting the time and intestinal fortitude to try inserting a zipper. My mom says they are not easy for her but "you should be able to do it with your skills" implying I am a better sewist than her. I wasn't so sure but eventually I dove into research on Google and YouTube and found out how to use the zipper foot and how to sew in a zipper.  Keith got off on his holiday travels and I set to work. I followed the free pattern on Noodlehead  to build the whole pouch, piece by piece while learning a few things about zippers as I went along. In the end I was pretty happy with my first zipper installation and the resulting bag that I am using right now to store a big fist full of loose charging wires and cables as well as mini speakers and my old iPod.

Now that my illness is past and the holidays are too and I have given away one bag as Christmas gift. I can share the whole story as it has developed into more of a rainbow of fun bags than when I sat down to write this post back on the weekend before Christmas.
I was home alone some of that week before Christmas sick but slowly recovering and I had a collection of zippers and lots of fabrics to choose from to make more zipper bags. I tested out shifts in details of how the batting went in with the zippers and the length of the "tab" on the end of the loose zipper eventually adding a folded loop to use as a handle or hook to hang the bag up. This feature of the zipper hanging out rather than embedded in the walls of the bag allows the top to fully open in a way the other bags do not . I finished up one amethyst Downton Abbey bag using the fabric line designed to show elements of Edwardian to Deco fabric designs inspired by the popular PBS Masterpiece series we watch. I wanted this bag to be special and to incorporate four fabrics from the Andover's Women's Downton Abbey line so I made half-square-triangles to run on the top side of the bag and used the dark art deco black with gray fan print for the bottom. Inside is a black feather print on creamy white for the lining.

Then I took off in a more colorful direction and added some Kaffe Fassett Studio blues and turquoise solid to go with the peacock blue-green zipper! Followed fast on by a very pretty big print Toile de Jouy fabric I found and fell in love with a while back. That got a blue bottom and has a castle on one side with a tree that meets the same tree on the other side where a boy stands with a fish trap he has just pulled from the passing river... It's got a white print on creamy lining which Linda schooled me makes it easier to find things inside your bag if the lining is a light color. 

Next another blue Kaffe Fassett bag this time with bright blue, a black zipper and a gray modern brushed printed lining fabric. 

Last, but not the least, as I think they just keep getting better as I make them. Last came Coral with the special fabrics from Finch Sewing Studio in Leesburg, VA I got last summer in Coral red and pinks. I  find that the last one I made is always my favorite one. Do you have that experience when you make things?