Saturday, September 29, 2012


Showing off new bag.
Confession: I am not just a knitter.

As a young teenager, I learned to sew and since money was very tight, I sewed many of my own clothes with fabric I bought from part-time jobs. I even sewed for friends.

In 12th grade I bought my own sewing machine, a Singer, for $99. It did zigzag and had a zipper foot attachment. I retired it a few years ago when it started having some problems (close to 40 years of faithful service) and my husband surprised me with a new one, which also was a basic sewing machine. I'd checked out a few of the new models that had computerized this and that, but they seemed too over the top for me (and kind of expensive). The new one was light to carry and perfect for my needs.

While I don't sew too many clothes now, a few years ago I ventured into another area. I had an inexpensive bag with a top zipper that was perfect for traveling and holding my knitting project at home. I could sling it over my shoulder and it had an inner pocket. One day the zipper broke and I contemplated replacing it. But as I looked at it, I thought,  hmm, I could make one and add some other things--like more pockets. Can you ever have too many pockets?

So off to the fabric store. Some years before this, I'd also picked up a "carpet" bag, which I loved, so the upholstery section seemed to be the place to start. The remnant section was like a treasure chest bursting with all kinds of interesting designs and sturdy fabric, which is essential in a bag if you want it to last. My dear husband, who has a great eye for colors, was with me, so together we chose some fabrics. Why be limited? Zippers, straps, lining, and thread all followed.

I used the purchased bag as my initial pattern and then modified. It took a while to get the pattern down so that all of the pieces fit well. I then made pattern pieces from newspaper.

Probably a couple dozen bags have come off of my sewing machine since then, with all but a couple as gifts. I find them fun to make and to give, and I keep looking for things to add or change, though the basic design remains.

So this past week, I sewed two bags (pictures below). Christmas is coming ... and I have a list of people those who have been nice!


Reah Janise

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