The Weekend bag

I think this bag might be my longest-running project, having cut out the bag pieces back in August, so it feels good to finally finish it, even if I’m not 100% sold on the end result. If you recall, it’s from the Aug 09 KnipMode:

Instead of tracing pattern pieces from the sheets as usual, this bag pattern was printed in the instruction section as a drawing on a grid, which you then replicated on your own paper, making every square something like 4cm each. It was a different experience, but not necessarily bad if you’re decent at freehanding curves. I think in the end it took me a bit longer to do it this way than to just trace it, as I had to first draw out the grid onto my paper since I don’t own any patternmaking dot & cross sheets.

The fabric is a black, white, and pale blue “Inger” heavyweight canvas from IKEA, bought for £3.51/m. The outside was then coated with the laminate plastic Lamifil to make it waterproof and (hopefully) more wear-resistent.

In the photo on the right you can see the long, thin pocket for magazines I always end up reading on trains! It’s got a magnetic snap closure on the inside, too.

The pockets on either end of the bag have pleats on the bottom edge to give them some fullness, and have magnetic snap closures inside for security.

There’s a big chunky zipper closure, and I made a laminated zipper pull with my FehrTrade label (just seen) to make it even easier to open.

The bag is entirely self-lined, with all the seams concealed between the layers (which is much easier said than done!), and there’s a pretty deep zippered pocket in the inside for things like wallet and keys if I don’t fancy bringing my handbag, too. Also not shown are some brass bag feet to further protect the bottom surface, and a big sheet of plastic canvas along the inside bottom of the bag to give it more stability.

So in general, I like the pattern and I like the bag, but the finish is not entirely aesthetically pleasing to me. First of all, the lamifix seems like it’d be great for fabrics that stay mostly flat and don’t move too much, but on such a flexible bag, it wrinkles really badly and has started separating from the fabric in places already (and believe me, that stuff was fused to within an inch of its life, too! Even worse is that there are permanent grey/white spots where creases happened during flipping the bag right side out, which kinda make it look used already. On one hand, I suppose that’s not too bad, as I won’t feel I’ve got to treat it especially gently or anything, but I kinda miss having that “uber-bright white new shoes” experience.

The other aesthetic concern is that the laminated fabric has a really plastic feel, like laminated paper, and doesn’t feel like oilcloth or vinyl or leather at all. It’s hard to describe the difference, but if you were a teacher’s daughter like me and spent half your childhood playing with the laminating machine, then I’m sure you know what I’m talking about! The last concern is that the laminated fabric doesn’t ease – at all! Sewing the rounded corners of the bag were a bitch (and there’s a lot of them!), and adding piping would’ve almost certainly made this a frustrating Unfinished Object. So I’m really, really glad I took the lazy way out and decided not to pipe these, though I think it would’ve added some nice stability to the frame of the bag.

So I think the end result here is that I like the bag, but I’m not in love with it. I’m glad I tried the Lamifix, but I’m not sure if the bag might’ve been better without it. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a cool product and I think it’d be awesome on stuff like placemats or baby bibs or super stiff bags or even for making wipe-clean marker board surfaces, but I’m not sure it was the best use here. I’m still going to use the bag, as it’s a damn sight prettier than my well-worn RTW weekend bag, but I’m not entirely certain this has fully scratched my bag making itch.

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