Friday, January 31, 2014
One Yard Wonder Retro Bag by Design Team Member Staci Wendland
Hello! My name is Staci, and I’m happy to be visiting the Craft Warehouse blog today as a guest designer! When the book Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders by Rebeccca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins showed up on my doorstep, I almost didn’t know what to do. How was I going to choose one project to make out of 101?
I love simple projects that can be made with a reasonable amount of time and materials and this book really delivered. What ultimately helped me choose which pattern to try was this beautiful Modern Roses by Stephanie Ryan fabric from Moda that Craft Warehouse sent.
Since the book is categorized by fabric type, I was able to focus on the section appropriate for what I was using. I just kept coming back to the same pattern: The Retro Bag on page 50. There is a packet of pattern pieces in the front of the book. As you might imagine, 101 patterns involves a lot of pieces. Some pieces are printed on the inside of others. I’d recommend tracing the inner piece onto another piece of paper rather than cutting it out to prevent warping the larger piece.
Another bit of advice before you begin: don’t be tempted to skip the interfacing. The bag will need it for body and stability. In fact, I even added a couple of extra layers behind the magnetic clasp to keep it from damaging the cotton. The pieces that are completely straight squares or rectangles are simply indicated to cut as such in the book, rather than an actual printed piece. Fortunately, Craft Warehouse also provided me with a Olfa rotary cutter. If you sew at all and haven’t bought a rotary cutter, make it the next thing on your list. You won’t believe how much easier it will be to cut fabric. In fact, I had forgotten how awesome and terrifying a brand-new rotary cutter blade can be. Be sure to use the safety features!
One of the design elements I love about the Retro Bag is the pleating at the top and bottom. When you’re cutting out a pattern with pleats, simply make a clip within the seam allowance at each mark. That will save you time by not having to draw each line onto your fabric, and it’s easy to match up the clips to make your pleats.
To hold those pleats in place, I also received a great product that I didn’t even know existed. In fact, I’ve used binder clips for this purpose, but wished there was something better. These Clover Wonder Clips held the pleats perfectly, and were easy to remove as I sewed.
This pattern uses 1/2” seam allowances throughout the bag. In order to make sure my seams were consistent, I used a little trick I learned on Pinterest.
Sliding a rubber band onto my machine at the 1/2” mark to use as a guide worked beautifully and all my pieces fit together the way they should.
I made a point to follow the instructions on this pattern to give an accurate representation of the process. However, I deviated on this point, only because it’s a technique I use very often. When you’re sewing the pocket for the inside, you’re instructed to stitch the sides and bottom, turn right side out, then fold the top to the inside 1/2”. I recommend instead turning that 1/2” under and pressing it before you do any of the sewing. Just make sure your folds are even at the top before sewing the side and bottom seams.
A quick and easy way to center that pocket is to fold your bag in half and make a light crease with your thumbnail, then do the same with the pocket. Line up the folds and measure down the distance from the top of the bag and you’re done!
The final tool Craft Warehouse sent in my box of goodies was a Seam-Fix seam ripper. I have to be honest here…I was REALLY hoping I wasn’t going to need that particular item. As it turned out, I didn’t have to remove any mistakes, but it came in very handy for cutting the small holes needed to apply the magnetic closure for the bag.
The pattern called for a 3” ring for the strap, which would be cute, but I was unable to find one. The 2” d-ring I used instead was perfect.
I love how the Retro Bag turned out. It’s a great size and shape, and I found the strap to be perfect for cross-body wear with no adjustments. The pattern was easy to follow and I would even recommend it for someone fairly new to sewing.
And, true to its name, it was a One Yard Wonder. Since I had two yards of fabric, I was able to make two bags!
Thank you so much to Craft Warehouse for letting me play with some of their amazing products and welcoming me here today!