Look! I made a bag and it’s not a tote!
Around three birthdays ago, I was fortuitously gifted a bag that ticked all my bag-needing boxes. It was simple in design, there was no visible branding, it went with just about everything I wore, it had the perfect amount of pockets, it was sturdy, it felt comfortable, it was relatively trans-seasonal and it was big enough to carry all my crap as well as children and partner’s assorted crap on random (though increasingly frequent) occasions.
Yep, this was one awesome bag. Towards the end, I think I took it (her?) for granted because it wasn’t ’til I saw the wear and tear that I realised how much I was going to miss her (yes, definitely ‘her’) when she was gone. And then one night where alcohol may or may not have been involved, I grabbed my seam ripper and just pulled her apart. And when I saw her lying there in a myriad of parts and pieces, I knew my plan to sew up her reincarnated self was going to be more complicated than I’d thought. And I felt a little sad. And scared.
Now let it be known that beyond the odd library book bag, I have zero experience in bag making and if you’re making the real deal, there is definitely a lot more to it than your average tote. I worked on mine over numerous sewing classes, with much supportive guidance, and I don’t mind admitting to more than a few moments of wanting to chuck that towel right in. But as is so often the sewing case, I’m VERY glad I didn’t. Because she’s done now and I LOVE her and I learnt a hell of a lot during the process. And isn’t that what this sewing thing is all about?
The main outer fabric is our PVC coated cotton canvas Spotted Rows – it’s sold out online and in Sydney but there’s a wee bit left in Melbourne. I had originally planned on getting some black leather to replicate the pocket details until I had one of those forehead-slapping moments where I realised I could re-use the existing ones. The beautifully worn, thick, brown leather straps are also recycled from the original and were applied with new rivets by my local shoe repairer.
The bag lining is our 100% polyester Night Grid (available Surry Hills and Melbourne only). Sewing both leather and PVC coated fabric meant I gave my teflon foot a damn good workout and I’m very pleased to say it passed with flying colours.