When we were given this project, I was a bit worried: I'm not a seasoned bag maker, having only made a few over the years as a pattern tester
. But I actually needed a stylish computer-carrier for work, so I was up for the challenge of making the "It's a Cinch Bag
", by Lisa Lam at U-Handbags
A huge part of the task was just figuring out what fabric and style I wanted. For a bag to be truly useful for me, it had to be fairly neutral and without a design on the fabric (despite how much I was drawn to them in the store. My plan for a simple bag was almost undone with this one
.) In the end, I used a light gray cotton canvas duck (Joann's
) for the main body, darker gray canvas (Hart's Fabric
, leftover from my skirt
) for the straps and a lovely organic quilting cotton
for the lining. The accent pieces and pocket linings were coordinating quilting cotton solids and the hardware is from Clover
, both purchased here
With a simple gray background, a pop of color was definitely needed, so I created a honeycomb-like fabric texture for the middle section. I sewed alternating strips of equal widths of the pink and coral and then stitched in the ditch to raise the coral strips. Then, with pinning and stitching, I alternated the strips up and down to create the honeycomb. The panel was basted in place on the main gray fabric, before sewing the pocket zipper and straps.
As it happens, I have a week-long teaching workshop starting tomorrow. With a specific upcoming purpose for this bag, I knew some features would be important; namely, a place for my laptop and more zippered pockets. For the padded laptop pocket, I used fusible fleece between layers of lining fabric, quilted it for structure, used some elastic along the top and added a little Velcro closure. I took this photo before sewing the lining together, to show the construction of the pocket:
|Laptop pocket construction|
|My laptop fits perfectly!|
In lieu of an elastic-topped internal pocket, I opted for a zippered version, and added a second external zippered pocket on the back of the bag. Seriously, you can never have too many pockets.
|Internal zippered pocket|
|Back zippered pocket|
Here's a full view of the inside. With my computer in it's slot and lipstick/tampons/laser pointer in the zipper pocket, there's still plenty of room for papers, lunch and a sweater. And that lining fabric just makes me happy!
|Its cavernous inside!|
For the straps, I used this useful product
and made my own, since I thought the darker gray canvas straps would give the bag a more refined look. The inside of the shoulder straps is accented with the lining fabric. The side cinch straps were lengthened a bit (from 4" to 5.5") so the bag could function with the clasps attached all the time and not squish up my laptop slot.
|All cinched up|
Top zipper shot. These YKK zippers are fabulous for bags--super smooth zipping and durable, but not too bulky.
With some extra fabric and a spare zipper, I made a much-needed new wallet/ organizer to match. It holds everything!
My phone even fits in the zippered coin pouch, which is super handy if I want to carry the wallet without my bag:
Requisite poses with a human:
|A rare outdoor photo!|
And my adorable husband. He's really working it, huh?
This was a great, challenging project and I'm so excited to use my new bag for my workshop this week (and my school year, coming up!).