Sunday, August 04, 2013

SOSM: Challenge #3, It's a Cinch Bag

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 for Samantha.  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.
Top zipper
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!).

46 comments:

  1. I love every part of your bag! I didn't realise it was so big from the photos of Lisa's bag, but when you said you'd put a laptop pocket in I realised! How handy, an overnight sized bag with a laptop pocket and in handbag style! I love the pink detail on the front and I love the pop of colour on the inside of the handles. You're amazing, I hope you win! xx

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    1. Well, my laptop is pretty small, and I have to wiggle it a bit to get it past the zipper, but it's would work great as an overnight bag (even with the laptop in there)!

      You are so sweet!

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  2. Beautifully done! The colors are so well chosen, and your honeycomb detail is just perfect. Is the wallet from your own drafting, or did you use a pattern?
    Good luck in the contest--I enjoy following along. Maybe I'll sew up a tote too.

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    1. Thank you so much! I just posted about the wallet (it's from Zakka Style): http://www.nicoleathome.com/2013/08/zakka-wallet-organizer.html

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  3. I really love the bag and the honeycomb detail is awesome!

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    1. I like sleek and simple, but I had to throw in a design element to make it cute :)

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  4. Holy bags!! That is gorgeous and I LOVE the wallet! Any chance you have a tutorial or pattern link for that?

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    1. Thank you! I just wrote a blog post about the wallet (it's from Zakka Style): http://www.nicoleathome.com/2013/08/zakka-wallet-organizer.html

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  5. I love the wallet. Did you use a pattern for it?

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    1. Isn't it great? I did use a pattern, from the book Zakka Style (just posted about it here: http://www.nicoleathome.com/2013/08/zakka-wallet-organizer.html)

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  6. LOVE the bag and the wallet!

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    1. I used them today, and I just loved them both. Functional and stylish (at least in my opinion :)

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  7. Great job on the bag! What pattern did you use for the wallet? Thanks!

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    1. Darcy, I used a pattern from Zakka Style, but I just wrote a post about it here: http://www.nicoleathome.com/2013/08/zakka-wallet-organizer.html. Best of luck!

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  8. I would love to know the same thing as Darcy. What pattern did you use for the wallet?

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    1. I used a pattern from Zakka Style, and posted more about it here: http://www.nicoleathome.com/2013/08/zakka-wallet-organizer.html

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  9. The bag turned out great. I love the wallet too - did you design it yourself or use a pattern?

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    1. I did use a pattern, from Zakka Style (posted here: http://www.nicoleathome.com/2013/08/zakka-wallet-organizer.html)

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  10. Love everything about this! Beautiful bag and wallet, and the honeycomb looks amazing.

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    1. Thank you, thank you! I have to say, I am so enamored with the honeycomb myself! It's so nice when things turn out like what you envision...

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  11. Wow! Great finished product. I love how you made a bag perfectly functional for your needs. It's as lovely as it is useful. Can't go wrong with that!

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    1. Thank you! I used it for my workshop today, and I truly couldn't be happier with the functionality. It was also lightweight, but well padded! Bonus!

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  12. A padded ipad pocket is genius!! Thanks, Nicole, for the inspiration :). And your hubby is a good sport LOL.

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    1. I have to carry my laptop around a lot, so I definitely needed that feature! Works great! (An iPad would fit, but might shift a bit.)

      I'm not sure my husband expected I'd actually post that photo, but he's such a cutie, I couldn't resist!

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  13. So beautiful! I love the fabric choices and the honeycomb. Making bags is a lot of fun! Zakka wallet was a great way to use the leftovers too

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    1. You know your wallets and bags, great recognition! I'm not sure I'll ever purchase a wallet again, that pattern is so great!

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  14. Fantastic bag and love the way you have made it yours!

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    1. Thank you, Sharon! I have to stick to my style!

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  15. You found the best hardware. I have never seen that create-a-strap product before ~ thanks for sharing. And I, too, want to know what pattern you used to sew the wallet.

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    1. Thank you! The hardware is such a nice, substantial weight--it feels very professional. I used the pattern from the Zakka Style book (and posted more about it here: http://www.nicoleathome.com/2013/08/zakka-wallet-organizer.html). It's a fabulous pattern!

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  16. I want to steal this bag! It is so great! The color combinations and the honeycomb effect are especially impressive! Really amazing job :)

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    1. Thank you, thank you! I couldn't stay away from that gray, pink and coral combo again!

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  17. Beautiful! I love the simplicity but then the special details just make it amazing!

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    1. Thank you, April! I really wanted to keep it simple, sleek, and modern, but just had to add some details to make it cute, too : ) It works great for my teaching job!

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  18. This bag is fantastic! I love your textured idea and how it is so classy. It also seems like the perfect bag to hold a laptop. What size laptop do you have? I am not very experienced with sewing bags but I really want to give this pattern a try with your additions. =)

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    1. Thank you, Lyanna! I really wanted to keep the bag sleek and modern, but with a twist (literally!). I have a 13" MacBook Pro (this year's model, which is substantially thinner than previous models), so it's pretty tiny. I have to wiggle it a bit to get it past the zipper, but it fits beautifully in the pocket and the bag. Best of luck with your bag!

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  19. Im so glad i found your blog! This bag is awesome. My mother in law asked me to make her a bag for her ipad. I'm for sure going to do the honey comb effect. And now i need one for my laptop! Haha... That lining is beautiful. I agree with your pocket theory!... Did you use a pattern for the wallet? I need one exactly like that asap!

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    1. You are so kind, Mikea! The wallet pattern isn't terribly difficult, and the results are awesome! I wrote more about it here: http://www.nicoleathome.com/2013/08/zakka-wallet-organizer.html. Best of luck!

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  20. So, so great, Nicole! Love the honeycomb panel, that's the perfect special touch. Great colors, too!

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    1. Thanks, Kristin! I've been using it this week for a workshop, and it's been perfect (and so much fun knowing I made it myself!).

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  21. Sorry you didn't get to continue on in the SMS challenges - I thought your bag was the best!

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  22. I was so impressed with your work here, I made myself a "cinch" bag and the Zakka organizer too! Thanks for being such an inspiration!

    I blogged about it at http://stylememary.blogspot.com/2013/09/super-online-sewing-match-round-3-its.html

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  23. When I first ordered this bag, I wanted it for my gym bag. I needed something I could throw on my back and go. I figured that it would be kinda small, like most others are. Well, I was surprised when I opened the box and it was big enough to put all my gym stuff in, and then some! It's roomy, has a nice front zipper pocket and two mesh side pockets that are so deep, it fits my water bottle and mixer very well. If this bag ever wears out, I'm buying another! I definitely recommend gemline 4976

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  24. Let me start by saying...how sporting of hubby to pose...and to work it as you said....not sure if its the bag or him that rocks more in the last pic...thanks hubby for posing with your bag.

    Now, you did a great job of the bag, I love the honeycomb detailing, it really does 'pop'.

    Congrat's on your new bag.

    Hugs
    Naomi

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  25. I absolutely love this bag. Does anyone know someone who is making and selling this?

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  26. I am also interested in purchasing this bag. Please let me know if it's for sale!

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