Jul
05
2009

  Diaper Bag Coming Along

I spent a long time sewing a side for the diaper bag that I ultimately decided to rip out and not use. I also spent some time sewing up scraps with trim variations to decide which I wanted to use.

I settled on the denim fringe on the bottom seams of the bag but not the side seams. On a whim, I put one of the jeans pockets on a side panel and liked it. Then I made a full-length pocket for the opposite side. It looked good on its own, but when I attached it to the bag, it made the whole thing look lopsided since it was so much bigger than the pocket on the other side, and I didn't like how it was asymmetrical.

So I carefully ripped it out (I might be able to use it for the matching smaller diaper bag), and made a new side panel with the other jeans pocket.

None of this frustrated me or made me impatient, which surprised me a little. There was a time when this sort of thing would drive me bats, and I'd either be mad when I pulling the unsatisfactory panel out, or I'd just leave it in there and deal with a less-than-perfect bag. But now I'm much more into the "process", I guess.

I think my change of heart began once I started reading about couture sewing. It was eye-opening to realize how many hours went into creating a single dress (some fancy beaded dresses can take 10,000 man-hours, or something like that), and how much hand-sewing was necessary. And how the ladies in the ateliers took pride in the perfection of each stitch.

So now, in order to get a high-quality finished product, I spend a lot more time on the details than I used to. I take the time to press constantly. I also do more basting, and more fitting. Even for non-garments, I have "fittings" of sorts-- in the case of the diaper bag, I pinned the outside to the lining to see how the finished bag would look. And I stuffed a burp cloth into the side pockets, which is what I intend to put in them since that is the baby item I'm most likely to need to grab in a big hurry. But once the pockets were full, I saw that it would look overly large and lopsided if I kept the original side panel on there. How much worse would it have been if I didn't realize that until after I had painstakingly sewn the lining in!

My "fittings" for drapes and curtains basically involve holding or gently tacking them in place, and stepping back to view them from across the room. Many times I realized that I'd have to change the length of the hem, or width of some trim in order to have pleasing proportions. Some things I just can't predict in advance, I have to see the thing in its environment to know what will look good.

Although I am getting a little impatient to get the diaper bag done and into use, I'm not in the mood to rush through the project. I LIKE sewing, and I particularly like making things I designed myself. When I just make it up, it seems so much easier to me than when I have to follow pattern directions. It will be nice when I'm skilled enough to use the clothing patterns that come without directions, when I'll be able to recognize what the different pieces look like and I'll have internalized the best way to put them all together. Yes, there are clothing patterns without directions; generally for the European market, and for designer clothes. I don't know where I'd buy them retail here, it's something I'd get from online shopping.

I hope I'll be able to decide how I want to finish the top of the bag. I'm not sure if I want a large flap that will go over the top and is secured on the front, or if I want half-flaps on either side that meet in the middle on the top. Or something else I haven't considered yet. I might look to what's left of the jeans for inspiration.