Sunday, October 18, 2015

Project Complete: Red Wool Pilgrim's Bag

At the end of the event last weekend, I had the wool bag assembled, including the finished strap, and I had just finished sewing the lining pieces together. Before inserting the lining into the bag, I finished the seams. I used a flat fell seam, orienting them outward onto the main bag piece.

Then I did the same thing to the wool seam allowances, but I oriented those to the inside onto the side pieces. That way the two finished seams of the lining and shell didn't end up right on top of each other, adding bulk.

On the linen, I folded the raw edges in. On the wool, I didn't have to, since the wool is felted and won't fray. The outside of the finished seams created a nice subtle ridge. I like that effect, since it shows that the bag is finished, but I know that doesn't appeal to everyone.

Before I could put the lining into place, I wanted to add a pocket. One of the issues I have with my canvas bag is that my phone (which is my primary camera) always slips down to the bottom. So I wanted to have a pocket in this one that would fit my phone, but also work in case I upgraded to a larger phone next year. I didn't have any more of the exact color brown linen, but I did have a different brown scrap that was nearly the perfect size. The piece is about 1.5" wider than my phone and twice as long.

I folded the panel in half and stitched the open ends together using running stitch. I then flipped the panel right-side-out and tucked the two raw edges inside, securing them temporarily with pins. (These next few photos have sort of weird lighting because I had to move into the kids' room to keep an eye on my youngest who was sick.) 

Then I top-stitched across the end that I'd closed with the running stitch. This is the top of the pocket. I laid the lining out and figured out where I wanted the pocket. It's sited on the back wall, and when I wear it, it will be on the side closer to my back. I reused the pins to secure it down.

Then I stitched the sides and bottom down using a hem stitch. As I stitched, I grabbed all the layers of the pocket edges as well as the lining. I also made sure that the pocket wasn't taut, so that it didn't significantly warp the bag when I put my phone into it.

Next, I slid the lining into place inside the shell, and used some pins to keep everything in line while I completed the rest of the finishing.

I decided to just tuck the lining and wool inside and do an overcast stitch on the sides and front edges, but fold the wool over the linen on the flap. Then I remembered the method that Katafalk sometimes uses to finish the seams of wool pieces, and thought that it would be a neat detail on the flap. So I grabbed some of the wool I used for the tassels and caught it in the stitches as I secured the wool down.

I like how it ended up looking a little like a string of tiny pearls.

I briefly considered continuing to add the wool around the entire perimeter, but ultimately decided against it. That may or may not have been the better choice, but I moved on none-the-less. I secured the lining and wool closed around the remaining edges with the red thread.

I needed to keep the shell and lining in place where I wanted them on these edges, and I also wanted to make sure that the bag looked completely finished, so I employed more top-stitching.

All that top-stitching was tedious, since it needed to be stab stitching in order to look neat enough, but it was totally worth it.

The very last thing was to turn the bag inside out and secure the lining to the shell at the bottom corners. I may go back in and secure it in one or two places along the sides, but that may not be necessary.

I'm really satisfied with the finished bag at this point. I'll get to use it for the first time next weekend, so I'm looking forward to seeing how I like it after practical use. While I know there are some things I could have done differently, I think all those options fall into the category of "could" have instead of "should" have.

I love the addition of the tassels. When I walk, they jiggle, and I think that's a lot of fun. I'm also happy with my choice of pale cream. There's something about the contrast of that against the red that is nice to my eye.

So, I can check that one of the list. Onto the next!