For a time, I worked at a quilt shop sewing shop samples, teaching classes, designing projects, and writing patterns. My favourite thing was to make and teach bag classes - especially Japanese designs from books and magazines. For me, they provide the perfect balance of design and interesting bag construction. I learned something new from every project and was always eager to start the next one. It didn't take long for me to earn the nickname "the bag lady". So many times I'd be introduced to a customer and they'd say, oh YOU'RE the bag lady! LOL! It was fun, and I enjoyed it.
Ironically, I don't like carrying a purse. Never have. I'm good with just a wallet. And for evenings out, my husband's suit pockets work great. ;) I reluctantly carried around a tote of sorts when my girls were babies. But now? Not so much. I've been going to a fitness place 3x/week now for almost 4 months and I carry my sneakers in a plastic shopping bag! LOL! I'm totally not kidding you. My girls make fun of me saying that for someone who makes/owns so many bags, I have no excuse to NOT use a cute bag. Excuse? I don't even have an explanation.
I finally replaced the plastic bag with a cloth one last week, but it was a gift with purchase, not even one I made. I know. Again, no explanation.
That was my lead-in to this latest project ... a Japanese bag from Akemi Shibata's book, "Quilted Bags & Gifts" that will be available very soon in English! I had the pleasure of working as a technical editor on the book, and was also asked to make a few bags for quilt market.
This little beauty is called "Two Way Hexagon Bag" - two way because it has both hand handles and a shoulder strap. Oh how I love this bag! Among the more obvious and charming features, it has a hidden pocket in the front, a zipper installed by hand, and I love the little finger tab on the end of the zipper. And then there's the lovely red leather handles and strap! I used Lecien's Mrs. March scraps from my stash that I've collected (hoarded) over the years.
To me, this is not a 100% true rendition of a Japanese bag ~ I had to cheat a little with this one because of time. I made the hexagons slightly larger so I had less EPP hand-stitching, and I wish I had time to hand quilt the hexagons too, but I had to settle for machine. In fact, ALL the quilting should have been done by hand. (Sigh.) I machine-stitched the zipper bindings down rather than hand stitched them. And the zipper tab was supposed to be two covered buttons, but the store was out of the correct size so I used a technique I'd learned from other patterns and that didn't require anything special. And in the interest of FULL disclosure, the little loops to hold the D-rings for the shoulder strap also should have been hand-stitched in place. I just caught them under the top zipper binding. Ok, those are all of my sins confessed for this project.
I made another bag from Akemi's book that I'll show you soon. It has a fighting chance of becoming my official "work-out" bag ... when I get it back after Quilt Market. :)