Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gerbera Mini Crossbody Bag

When Jess was home, we really didn't get a chance to do any sewing projects, but we did do some planning (of stuff for ME to do - ha). Here are some fabric combos we came up with, all containing some of her barkcloth. We settled on a free pattern from Blue Calla Designs, the Gerbera Mini Crossbody Bag, which can be found here.

I finished one bag this week. For using only three pattern pieces, there was a lot of cutting to do. The strap and tabs were all cut by measurements, and then there was a lot of interfacing and fusible fleece. I counted around 32 pieces by the time I got all done!

Soon after I started sewing, I discovered a problem. The pieces didn't fit together correctly. This piece was off by 1/4" at each end! Not good when the seam allowances are only 3/8". It wasn't obvious before sewing that it wasn't going to fit because it was sewn on a curve. Fortunately, I was able to just trim off the excess and go on.

Checking out the pattern pieces, I discovered that there were a number of discrepancies. The outer pieces (one option was a solid panel, the other was pieced) were not the same size, and only the pieced panel fit with the top band.

Then there was the lining piece. It wasn't the same size as either piece, and besides that, it turned out to be 1/4" too tall, which meant the lining ended up being 1/2" too wide. It simply was too big for the bag.

I wasn't pleased with how the corners turned out, but that was mostly my own fault. I should've used the lining fabric instead of the barkcloth on the zipper tabs, because it was thinner, and since some of the lining peeked out, it would've been less obvious. I should've also used dark thread for the ends there - I didn't realize the stitches would show like this.

This pattern used a technique I'd heard of but never tried before, and that was turning the bag through the inside zippered pocket at the end. It was kind of a necessity, otherwise there would have had to be a turning hole in the gusset, and that wouldn't have looked as nice. This method worked okay, but it did make it much harder (impossible?) to look inside and see if things were looking okay (like my corner mismatch up above).

Also, next time I'll use Erin (Erickson) Gilbey's method for making nicer corners. ;)

I get so frustrated when patterns are 'off'. Don't they get tested before they're released? Do the testers not notice errors or gloss over them, afraid to criticize? Do they report problems but the author does nothing about them? I don't know, but I've sure found a lot of not-up-to-par patterns recently. I think the authors may be in too much of a hurry.

Still, this bag ended up pretty cute. Here's kind of a crummy pic I took quickly to send to Jess to show her the cute plumpness of the bag. It has pleats on each side, which give it the extra fullness.

Despite all, it's not a bad bag!

As I mentioned, it has a zippered pocket inside.

Even though it's small, it should hold plenty of stuff!

Jess also wanted pics of the bag with me wearing it, for a size reference, so I might as well include them here, too, so you'll get a better idea of the size of the bag.

And we think it's cute, so knowing what I know now, I'm going to make another one. I already have my pattern pieces adjusted and am ready to cut. Hopefully this one will go more smoothly and turn out much nicer than the first one!

On a side note, I bought myself a new sewing aid a few weeks ago. It's an LED light with a flexible neck and a magnetic base (which I was surprised did not stick to my 'heavy metal' sewing machine, but my solution for that is a story for another time). It's very useful, especially for sewing on dark stuff at night in my basement sewing room.

I got it from Amazon. There is also strip LED lighting available, but I decided to get this because I thought the flexibility might be better... plus it was cheaper. :)

On another side note, I finally took a pic of bra #3, so hopefully I'll get a post written about that before too long. Just don't hold your breath, okay? I don't want anybody turning blue waiting! ;)


Geneviève Thiffault said...

" The cute plumpness" is such an accurate way to describe this bag! I really like its shape and the pleats, so lovely!

I haven't tried a ton of patterns, but the quality really isn't always consistent between writers. It's so frustrating to spend money, time and materials on a project that sometimes we can't even salvage. Good thing you figured how to save this one, because it's darn cute! :)

annie dee said...

The bag is lovely. The perfect size, strap length and "plumpness" for a crossbody. Love that fabric too. Sorry that the pattern had issues. Did you report your issues to the author? I'm sure they'd appreciate the heads up. Can't wait to hear about the bra and light project.

kathy said...

You described my week. There were some good and helpful things about the pattern I followed but there were also horrible steps that my sewing experience was finally able to resolve. Thank goodness I won the pattern because I would be more angry at paying $10 for shipshod. This pattern was tested by respected bag makers too. At 2am, I was still trying to figure out how to say it nicely that this pattern needs an overhaul. I'm happy with my result. If I decide to produce patterns, I now have three new rules to incorporate.
1. Good photos with high contrast fabrics.
2. Label photos with photoshop.
3. Instead of labeling each pattern piece that looks identical to each other with similar names, use the alphabet. See #2 as well.

Your post was timely. Love your daughters barkcloth designs.

Jenny said...

That is a very cute purse! And just the right size for a few things when you don't want to lug a big purse somewhere. At least it was a free pattern, because, as was Kathy said above, it would be extra frustrating to encounter such issues in a pattern that you had paid for! I'll just stick with my current method of find quality bag patterns online- reading your reviews of the ones you try! (Of course, I should really work on actually getting around to making the things I have patterns for...)

Grandma G said...

Thank you, everyone! I didn't mention anything to the author directly, but after mentioning it to a sewing friend, she tried the pattern herself and then messaged the author, who promised to update the pattern... so we'll see what comes of that.

Yes, if a pattern is going to be crummy, it's best if it's free. However, a poorly written free pattern certainly doesn't encourage me to 'purchase' any patterns from the author!

Glad to help you find patterns, Jenny. :) I guess I haven't inspired you quite enough, though! LOL