Eager to put some straps on my new project bag, I had to fix a few things first. Working the thickness of eight layers of fabric under the sewing machine's pressure foot (the metal guide that helps move fabric from front to back as the needle passes through) was tricky. I broke one needle trying to sew over the layers and needed to change my strategy. On the next attempt I began sewing just beyond the hump, which left a hole at each bottom corner. I resolved this problem by tacking the holes together by hand from the inside of the bag.
For each strap, I pinned the panels (1 cotton, 1 corduroy) right sides together and sewed with 1/2-inch seams, leaving a gap on the long side to turn them right side out. I clipped the corners, turned (this took awhile, as they were skinny tubes), and pressed flat. Next, I switched out the regular pressure foot with one designed to make consistent 1/4-inch seams (it has a ridge on the right hand side, so the fabric runs right up against it) to top-stitch around all sides for decoration.
I folded the end of one strap over itself (printed side face up) to make a square, then pinned it to the right hand side of the front panel (corduroy). I did the same to the other end, pinning it to the left hand side of the front panel. I made sure the strap wasn't twisted before sewing a 1/4-inch seam around the square (with the standard pressure foot back on the machine). I backstitched a few times at each corner for durability, and sewed diagonally from each side to make an X in the center. I repeated this process for the second strap, attaching it to the back panel.
I had hoped the contrasting "gutters" would be more prevalent on the outside of the bag, but they were obscured and required tacking. I sewed a sideways 1/4-inch tack every now and again (three on each side, two on each bottom) down the length of the gutters. This showcased the pretty fabrics perfectly.
The verdict? I absolutely love my new project bag, but must admit I haven't yet used it to carry an actual project. Instead, it's been to the office, the grocery store, a BBQ, a few bars, and a rock show. I'm going to get way more use out of it than I ever expected.
Next Week: Knit Cap
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.