Completed: Selfless-sewing birthday bag

My youngest sister (I have three sisters, for I am very lucky!) asked for a weekend bag for her recent birthday, and I kind of jumped at the chance of testing a pattern I’ve had for a few weeks now. I got together with my other two sisters to pick some nice fabrics and notions, then whisked it all away to the UK for some secret sewing.

The pattern I used was by Gingercake, the Make-your-getaway duffle which can be found here. I could have probably drafted my own, but I figured, for $7, I would much rather somebody else did the maths for me 🙂

The pattern worked out pretty well – I only made small changes: the handles were a bit longer, I didn’t do any quilting, and I interfaced the parts which hold the zipper (I figured they’ll be under a bit of strain). Also, I didn’t add a lining, but I interlined instead. I wanted to have small bags on the inside, but I didn’t want that to be visible from the outside. So, I cut some lining pieces, added the pockets, and then treated it as one with the outside fabric. I then hid the seams in some polka-dot bias binding. I also added a big side bag for magazines etc., which I just cut like a side panel, but a bit shorter. I even matched the stripes! It was a very satisfying make – the pattern came together well, it looks nice, and my sister loves it. Score!  It’s pretty roomy, but I think still within most european airline regulations for hand luggage, so another win. Without further ado, here are some pictures.

the bag in its entire beauty. You can see the outside pocket here. I used denim for the pieces with a lot of strain - handles and bottom.

the bag in its entire beauty. You can see the outside pocket here. I used denim for the pieces with a lot of strain – handles and bottom.

Detail shot of the inside: Bias tape at the seams, and bias tape to finish the pocket edges. I figured the orange would make it easier to find the pockets.

Detail shot of the inside: Bias tape at the seams, and bias tape to finish the pocket edges. I figured the orange would make it easier to find the pockets.

Inside and outside of the bag at the same time

Inside and outside of the bag at the same time

And the inside - the bag photographed really well with some sofa cushions inside. You can see the bottom is made of denim - I used some old jeans to reinforce it.

And the inside – the bag photographed really well with some sofa cushions inside. You can see the bottom is made of denim – I used some old jeans to reinforce it.

All in all, it worked a lot better than I expected – I already have some materials for another bag for myself sitting on my shelf 😉 Oh, and did you notice it’s not a sewaholic pattern? But hey, I still had somebody holding my hand. Babysteps…

Sewing and the PhD

So, last week I got some good news. The PhD I had slaved away at for four years? I passed my viva in January, but I got a few minor changes to complete (very normal stuff – they usually ask you to add a few bits, amend a few things, etc., to make the whole thing even better, haha). Last week, I found out that my changes had been accepted. Woop! They had seriously been getting between me and sewing, and I was not impressed.

But, it has to be said: I don’t think I would be as much into sewing today without the PhD. Sewing blogs have a strong appeal on their own, but when your stuck at your PC all day, every day, by yourself? Then they’re a magical otherworld which promises fun and learning and pretty colours and nice people who don’t tell you to rewrite a chapter. So I would bribe myself: Go on… if you can work well for an hour, then you can read this new post. If you proof-read this chapter, you get to have a look at this blog. I would sew in breaks, or while listening and re-listening to the interviews I had conducted. I madly completed a dress and a jacket for a friend’s wedding while in the last throes of the PhD (they turned out lovely, but the jacket too big, it’s now with my mum). In short, sewing and sewing blogs kept me sane while doing my PhD.

In the last couple of weeks, I haven’t had much time for sewing which made me sad – but I did manage to do a few things: I re-hemmed and re-necklined my first proper make, a pendrell blouse. After reading blogs for a year, I finally took the plunge and started sewing again. Pictures to follow 🙂 It felt very suitable as it had been my first make during the PhD about a year ago, and now I finished it during the very last changes. I managed to go to my first blogger meet-up, which was a ton of fun, I made my sister a bag and myself a kindle cover (pictures to follow, too!), and I’ve been hording fabrics like mad. I now have stash. And the best news? Hey, the PhD is over! I finally have time to dig into it all, and start sewing. Some patterns are layed out already.

Oh, and the other good news? I get to graduate in summer. We need to wear ‘academic dress’ which is supposed to be has to be black (booooring!). So, I get to make myself a nice black dress/outfit. Yay again! I have two months for it. Stay tuned, since now that the PhD is done, I will actually have time to post about things I’ve made, and make things to post about.

So, thank you, sewing and sewing bloggers all over, for my sanity, in the last years. Here’s to many more sane years.