Rachel and I were chatting about Sewing Summit several weeks ago, and after hearing Jeni's plan to make a Simplicity duffel bag (pattern 2274), we decided to do a swap. I made her a bag and she made me one. There were moments I questioned my sanity. Like when my needle continuously fell out of the machine. I honestly don't know why. Oh, yeah. Maybe because I was sewing through burlap webbing, batted layers, etc. Yeah, maybe that's why. So, a quick trip to Joann's for some heavy duty needles fixed that problem!
This pattern is not complicated, it just takes time (and patience) to construct. I chose straight line quilting for the body of the bag and sides. I thought it would look nicer with the fabric, and I hope Rachel thinks so, too.
There are three awesome things about a swap like this.
One, I would probably never ever make myself such an elaborate bag. I have a perfectly good duffel bag that I've had since like, 1992. It has few scuffs, wear and tear, but it does the job. Laziness often wins when you're crafting for yourself (gifts are an entirely different story!). I wasn't really drawn to the pattern, but after seeing Jeni's awesome FFA II version, well, I was sold.
Two, I get to step out my comfort zone and work with a fabric palette catered to the Rachel. We chatted about desired colors and patterns, but she didn't know my final fabric choices and vice versa. It can definitely be intimidating (and I definitely had a few self-critical moments of worry), but it's so much fun to plan a project with someone else in mind.
I'm feeling pretty proud to have this bag finished, and I hope Rachel will enjoy using it.
I used Joel Dewberry's Ginseng home decor fabric, and the interior (as well as the zipper tabs) is Alexander Henry's Heath in Chocolate (also home decor weight). The bag has one side pocket with a zipper and a front pocket. Speaking of zippers, I used my zipper foot for the first time. I've always just stuck with my regular foot, but the specialty foot was pretty fun to use. I'll definitely do that again. Also, any sewing on more than one piece required the walking foot (so much thickness).
I really love the mix of fabrics. I hope it's not too busy for Rachel, but I thought a little variety would work well on such a big bag.
And finally, in return for my hard work, I get to enjoy the fruits of Rachel's labor on my new bag. Every time I look at it and use it, I'll think about our fun swap.
Look at the hand-stitching! So sweet. And the fabrics Rachel used are so much fun.
Thank you again, Rachel! I can't wait to meet you in person!!