Last week I was in a pickle. Having blown through any thread in my stash that might rock the exterior of my new bag, I needed to purchase more. Also craving a pick-me up, I ambled out the door to Heart to Hand (4823 SE Division St., 230-9075,, which happens to be within walking distance of a Stumptown Coffee Shop. (Have you noticed how I try to plan all shopping excursions around proximity to coffee?)

The store reminds me of old-school quilt shops I frequented with my mom as a kid. A class was going on in a room off to the side—machines whirring, their tiny lights throwing off a soothing, ambient glow. I was surrounded by abstract slices of color, the result of fabric bolts lined up tidily along the walls, but I didn't see rainbow rows of thread and started to panic. The clerk showed me Aurifil, a fancy, Italian cotton job, at $11 a spool. But the colors were gorgeous, and the spools huge. She did show me a tub of smaller-spooled sale options, but none was a color I envisioned participating in my bag's debut.

After debating with reason, I went for it. It would last me forever. I grabbed a scrumptious variegated orange (think sherbert) that would stand out well on the corduroy while complimenting the embroidery on the front panel.

A coffee stop left me high – and determined to get this thing made. I pinned the bottom panel to the two side panels, lined-sides together, making sure the pockets faced the right direction. This put my seams on the outside of the bag, creating "gutters" of contrasting printed cotton. I sewed the panels together with 1/2-inch seams. I repeated the same process to attach the front and back panels to the sides and bottom (now one panel), after making sure the pocket and the appliqué were both facing up, and was on to thinking about straps.

Next week: Finishing

Made is a weekly how-to advertising-sales feature that focuses on D-I-Y projects and the local businesses that can help you make them.