Thursday, March 27, 2014

I can sew!

As I mentioned in some past posts, I've been taking a sewing class this winter at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. Even though I was already using my sewing machine (which my mom gave me as a birthday gift a few years ago) to do basic things like hemming curtains and making pillow covers, I decided to take the intro level class in order to get a better understanding of my machine and to make sure I really had the fundamentals down. The class was 8 two-hour sessions, with the first four focused on learning specific skills and the last four open time for us to work on a project of our choosing with the instructor available to help us. I really enjoyed starting from scratch to learn basic techniques like sewing and finishing seams, adjusting thread tension, sewing curves, and troubleshooting basic issues. It was also just really nice to have two hours of sewing built into my schedule every week, since it's doubtful I would have motivated myself to spend so much time otherwise. It was nice to have something to look forward to that's so different from how I spend most of my time these days.

For the second half of the class, I decided to make a pleated bag that I found a tutorial for online. Originally I'd wanted to do something that involved a zipper, but some logistical snafus prevented me from doing the project I'd originally planned so the bag was a last-minute decision. But with my new-found sewing confidence, I am ready to take on a zipper project next!

I won't go through a step-by-step of the project because the free instructions were pretty self-explanatory (though it gives measurements in both centimeters and inches and if you decide to try it for yourself I recommend using the centimeters because I think there's a mistake or two in the translation to inches). I do wish I had taken advantage of the class to learn how to interpret a pattern (this tutorial doesn't involve a pattern, just narrative instructions), but I'm still very pleased with the end result:

The exterior is pretty muted, but for the interior I picked a really bold pattern.  As you can see on the left of the bag in the photo above, there are slits at the top in each side so that the interior fabric peeks out a bit but isn't too overwhelming.

A close-up showing the pleating across the top. The handles I sewed on by hand on using red thread.

The exterior and interior fabric are both linen/cotton blends that I got at a local fabric store. The handles I ordered from Merry Sewing And Fabric on Etsy.

I'm so pleased with how it turned out -- it's a pretty spacious and versatile bag, and it's fun walking around with something I made (usually my projects are pretty confined to my apartment). Now I feel emboldened to take on some tougher projects!


  1. Looks incredibly well-done, Sage! I'm so impressed!

    1. Awww, thanks Anna! It was a lot of fun.