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!