Wednesday, 8 January 2014
Christmas sewing - linen messenger bag or 'Africa Adventure Bag'!
So, to be trusted with making one to replace her 'Africa Adventure Bag' was quite an honour (and also a little scary)! Once I'd said yes to the challenge, mum sent me the dimensions and layout of her current, but falling apart, bag and some specifics about what she was looking for (this was all done in a very scientific and methodical way......that's my mum, she reminds me so much of my grandad, her dad, who was an engineer - and very engineer-like when it came to details).
The specifics included mention of 'room for binoculars, passport, tissues, suncream, sunhat and lipsalve'. And the following fabric request 'tough material and dirt resistant colours! Present bag tough cotton lined in black'. Travelling in rural parts of Africa is a grubby business!
All went ahead pretty much as mum requested. I tried to persuade her to have an adjustable strap or inner zip pocket but they weren't needed. But I did manage to get an internal key fob and zip for the main compartment added to the spec - yay!
I used linen for the main and lining fabric (full details below) - suitably tough and dirt resistant I hope. I based the bag on this tutorial but made a lot of adjustments. I added a zip for the main compartment (to keep those binoculars safe), under the flap there's a patch pocket and a big lined zip pocket (for passport and other documents). The pattern suggests attaching the flap part way down the back of the bag but I thought it would be neater, and stronger, if attached at the top between the main and lining fabric. The flap is closed with a loop of black elastic and a vintage horn button which I have been saving for something special.
And there you have it - mum's new 'Africa Adventure Bag'. She seems very pleased with it and, as we speak, it is off on it's first African adventure. Having been home (from South Africa) for three weeks over Christmas, mum and dad set off yesterday for Uganda. After a couple of weeks there - including trekking to see mountain gorillas and chimpanzees - they will be back in South Africa until early April. That's the life, eh?!
I'd love to know if you and your mum are bag people, or essentials only like mine........I have to confess to having a little bit of a thing for bags (and I battle with my conscience if I see something that I like but don't need - if we ever have more spare money I think I could build up a little collection)
Pattern - the basis of this bag was mmmcrafts basic messenger bag, I changed the dimensions slightly and attached the flap differently. I referred to Lisa Lam's The Bag Making Bible for the concealed top edge zip and lined zip pocket. I also added a patch pocket, key fob and piping
Fabric - Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Black and Ellen Luckett Baker Triangles in Grey
Notions - black hair band for elastic and large vintage horn button for closure
Comments - I loved sewing this bag - and feel pretty proud of it. In some ways having quite specific requirements made it harder, but at the same time it was much more satisfying to make something just right.