So, what's wrong with this pouch? Plenty. Thankfully, most of the issues are small and picky, and happen to be things that I can fix the next time around, which makes me incredibly grateful that I decided to take a practice run in the first place. But, one... Well, one is quite possibly gaping-hole-in-your-mouth serious. I don't really know yet. I'll need your help with that shortly.
First, though, the process details. [Feel free to skip down to the next * * * if you want the quicker, less-detailed "spoiler" version of the game].
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If you read my post from earlier this week (yes, two in one week... I know, right?), you already know I'm working on a redwork pouch for one of the ladies in the St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild. The embroidery and patchwork are both finished, I just need to put the pouch together. As a veritable pouch rookie, though, I've been really nervous about cutting into that 144-piece patchwork without a little more preparation, so I (and several of my fellow STLMQG members) have opted to first make practice pouches instead.
After falling in love with Mary Claire's super-cute hexie pouch earlier this week, I decided to purchase a copy of Elizabeth Hartman's Perfect Zip Bags pattern from her website. I don't usually buy patterns, but Elizabeth's are worth every penny. Her directions are detailed but simple, and after reading through this pattern just once, I envisioned at LEAST 20 variations of these bags popping up on my to-do list later this year. Of course, I probably should have read the pattern more than once, but I'll get to that in a minute.
My plan for the redwork pouch will require a few alterations from Elizabeth's original pattern:
(1) Instead of a patchwork square on the front, I want to frame a circular embroidery pattern with patchwork, so this seemed like the perfect time to try my hand at Dale Fleming's 6-Minute Circle.
(2) Because my embroidery piece was already finished by the time I purchased the pattern, I regrettably discovered that it was too big to fit on ANY of the pouches in Elizabeth's PDF, so I also had to scale the pattern to fit the embroidery piece. Thanks to some wonky math, I'm happy to report that this part of the experiment seems to have worked out nicely, and I am actually quite pleased with the final placement of the circle on the finished bag. If anyone is interested in the measurements I used, I'm happy to send them along (minus all of the sloppy handwriting and parenthetical derivations):
With these two changes in mind, I started combing through my stash for something pretty I could fussy-cut as the circular centerpiece. It didn't take long to realize that my mostly-solid fabric collection doesn't really lend itself to that sort of thing, so I needed something else to fill the space. I decided to raw-edge applique some simple text instead.
I typed the word "quilt" in Microsoft PowerPoint using American Typewriter font (175 pt, bold). I then traced each letter (backwards) onto the paper side of a small strip of sewable Heat 'n Bond using my state-of-the-art light table.
I pressed the Heat 'n Bond onto the backside of some orange fabric I had laying around, and cut out the letters. After pressing them to the white (interfaced) background fabric, I zig-zag stitched around the raw edges. Unfortunately, I had some tension issues early-on, and it wasn't until I got to the L and the T that things really started to work themselves out, so don't look too closely at those first few letters.
Once the letters were attached, it was time to try my hand at that circle. According to my math, I was going to need a 7.25-inch opening. Thankfully, one of my small bread plates from the cupboard worked nicely. I traced the circle onto the dull side of my freezer paper template and pressed it to the backside of my interfaced fabric. Next, I traced and cut the inner circle (Quaker Oats lid), and notched the curves as shown:
I pressed the notches back as directed to form a smooth circle, but I thought the result was a bit too stark, so I decided to add some batting and do some straight-line quilting in the same bright orange. Now, Elizabeth's pattern calls for you to turn the exterior fabric over the edge of your interlining fabric before constructing your bag. Unfortunately, I went ahead and did this before I'd decided to quilt. Assuming I'd be folding that top edge again when I pieced the bag together, I did some lazy-man's quilting, cutting my thread ends instead of burying them, not realizing they would eventually end up right next to my zipper (Mistake #2).
It was also at this point that I decided to add some hand stitching around the circle for emphasis (why these things don't occur to me earlier is beyond me). That means that after stitching, I now have little tufts of white cotton batting straggling their way through my grey fabric all the way around the circle. Ah, well... Practice pouch, right? (Mistake #3).
Seriously, how much do you LOVE that lining fabric?
I know. So do I. Which is a good thing, considering we'll probably be seeing a lot of it since I'm afraid to zip it anymore:
Mistake #4: Failure to interface lining.
Grrr... So frustrating. I was going to interface the lining. Truly, I was. But, then Little Man got sick, and Miss Em needed a volleyball jersey, and yada, yada, yada, I got back to the sewing room, and blamo! The bag was together before I knew it, with two floppy squares of interfacing left idly on the sidelines.
All of that work to finish a bag that is completely non-functioning.
I have neither the time nor the willpower to take the thing apart. It's a practice bag, after all, and that would be seriously OCD even for me. But, still... It's pretty damn cute, if I say so myself. I'd like to salvage it if I can. I've already popped a few stitches yanking the hell out of it, and came pretty close to ripping the liner in the process. How do I make it work without sloppily hand-stitching the lining up near the zipper?
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Fatal flaw: Liner fabric (consistently) caught in the zipper teeth.
Gaping mouth hole, or bridgeable gap?
The lines are now open...