Monday, September 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Brother Younger! I Made You A Bag!!

His birthday present was only 2 weeks late.  That's sort of a great record in our family.  I'm feeling a little proud of myself.  He had asked for a messenger bag a little while ago.  Really simple: one big pocket that could fit his laptop and a few extra thin notebooks.

He goes to the University of Utah, so I decided to spice the black up with some red.  A little subliminal support.  I'm in love with it.

The fabric is some heavy weave, tougher than just quilting or apparel cotton, but I think it was still cotton.  I got it at a thrift store and all it had was a price on it.  I'll have to take it in to a store someday and compare it to the fabrics they sell to figure out what it is!  It's a great weight for this project.  I made the two pattern pieces, then just cut a 1.5" strip out of both of them and sewed them into the opposite colored side to get the stripes.  I feel like racing when I see them.

The straps were tubes sewn and turned right side out (with a show on and a safety pin...slightly tedious, but worth it).  To keep it from shifting and for some fun detail I ironed it with the seam on the center back of the tube instead of the side and zig zagged a stitch down the seam through both sides.  

I knew I wanted an adjustable strap, mostly since I didn't know how long my brother's torso  He could also cinch it up if he was riding his bike or let it out a bit if he was wearing a super pouffy jacket.  Problem is, adjustable strap hardware is not really available on short term notice.  Basically you have to order it online.

However, if you happen to be roaming the aisles of Lowe's looking for alternatives at 9 at night, you might run into a great salesman with a sweet red beard who will give you a list of other places you could try (a few fabric/craft shops I was unaware of) and then say "You could always go to DI or Goodwill and buy a bag from there and use the hardware from it".  Genius, bearded Lowe's man, genius.

So that's what I did.  Got a sketchy, sort of smelly old leather suit/brief case for $3 and cut up the strap for the hardware.  (I am even considering re-donating it.  Is that bad to give it back without the strap?  It still has handles!  I'll mull it over a little more. )  I love that it has the clips (which my husband had suggested I do and I was skeptical - husband, you were on the money!), because the strap can be switched to have the adjustable part across his front or back. 

He also slings it across his right shoulder (which I thought was weird, having always had messenger bags slung from my left shoulder as a right handed person, and my brother younger is also right handed) so it can work if he lets a friend borrow it, or if I wear it around for the day before I give it to him...which I wouldn't (would I?).   It's quite simple, but it feels so well made!  (Sorry to brag, but I think it turned out really well).  I'm trying to figure out what color scheme I want to make mine in.

I didn't put any interfacing or fusible webbing or batting in it.  One, I only own the latter of the three afore mentioned items, and I like to just use what I have when possible.  Really, though, I wanted to keep it simple and lightweight and flexible.  I like that it conforms to the body's curves if it isn't full of a stiff laptop.  I never liked those people carrying around bags that stuck out from there far enough that I thought they needed a 'wide load' sign on it.  

So I left it simple.  But I have officially tagged my first item.  I have been working on these cross stitched tags for a while (sitting in church, sitting in class, sitting in the passenger seat, etc).  I showed my brother and asked him what color he wanted.  

I completely agreed with his color choice.  The green.  Love it!  (Actually, the top three colors, the gray, green and purple, will probably be a quilt color theme.  With the blue thrown in for some weight?)  Point being, loved his choice.  Then he asked for the half finished one.  The one that I ran out of thread on so I moved on to the next color, leaving the green to be finished later.  But that's what he wanted, and he is the birthday boy.  So that's what he got!  (Sorry I didn't get a picture of it sewn in.)

On another funny note of silly family being ridiculous, this is what my husband brought to me for breakfast when we first moved in to our new place (we couldn't find any bowls).  It's a gelato cup full of about 6 shredded mini wheats.  A mini cup full of mini wheats.  My husband is adorable.

See you soon!
(...with updates on whirligigs!)


  1. Haha. I love this story. So clever to buy a bag from a thrift store and reuse the clasps! Great idea indeed, red bearded Lowe's man. Virtual high fives.

    1. He reminded me of Miracle on 34th Street, when they start sending customers to other stores because Macy's doesn't have what they want/need.