February 24, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Well, after this post you'll be confident that I'm not holding back on you - there won't be any projects that skipped the blog and went right into the scrap bin (ha, Tracey!). I'm alluding to the "ugly" portion of this post. It was pretty sad, really. But now that I'm having a glass of wine I truly see it as a learning experience.

The Good: Oil Cloth Chair Cushion Covers

My older son has always been a relatively neat eater, but this is definitely not the case with his younger brother! I was growing weary of the daily washing of multiple tea towels that served to protect my upholstered kitchen chairs. However, I wasn't ready to commit to re-covering said chairs. So, I came up with this little chair cover - easy to wipe clean with a bright, cheery pattern. And, it even matches the booster seat (a total coincidence).

I also made one for my neat eater. Of course, all things have to be fair, and I didn't want him to feel left-out. Plus, he has become a bit of a wild-man with his big-boy milk cup lately.

Let me just tell you... I love bias tape. I think it is the best invention ever. The lines are so clean and perfect - nothing like the chaos of life. And speaking of chaos, let's take a peak at this afternoon's disaster in sewing...

The Bad: Frenchy Bag #1

So this is (was) my favorite bag. I love the fabric, and I'm impressed with my craftsmanship given that I made this about two years ago. The shape of the bag is lovely (of course, most Amy Butler bags are).

Originally I used this bag as a diaper bag. This was when I only had one child, of course (now I am like a pack mule when we go out). The bag worked well as a diaper bag because it was always packed to the hilt with rather large items. Now I use Frenchy Bag as a purse, and the pockets have proven to be quite problematic. A barista at a local coffee shop even commented about the faulty pockets upon seeing my bag (then she pulled her own second-try Frenchy Bag out from under the counter and showed me how she had modified the pockets). Basically, the pockets just don't stay put at the sides of the bag, so it is hard to find smaller items (like a cell phone!) when you need them quickly. After a frustrating Frenchy Bag weekend of digging and hunting, I decided it was time to try to modify this bag to make the pockets more functional. The only catch was that I didn't want to take the bag apart. And this leads us to...

The Ugly: Modified Frenchy Bag #1

The good news here is that the pockets are now functional. There are four separate pockets and one large interior space now. That part is exciting. The aesthetics of the repair, unfortunately, are not.

Yikes! I tried to make this funky design with a thick stitch and wavy lines. It was really difficult to move the bag under the presser foot because the opening of the bag is so narrow. I'm actually surprised I never sewed the opening shut! As I was sewing I was thinking, "This is like 1980s abstraction meets mid-century modern whimsy!" Then I held it up to admire and decided it just looked like a mess.

So, from a distance you can't tell so much. But, up close it looks... well, not so good. Maybe not "ugly," but not what I had in mind. And way too much to seam rip!

Looks like I'll be making a new Frenchy Bag. When I do, I'll be looking for a new home or this one, preferably not the scrap bin.

Lesson learned: if it isn't too broken, don't try to fix it.


  1. Is there a specific pattern you used for the frenchy bag that you like? It's really cute and I'd like to attempt one. I finally set up a desk in Shawn's studio that will hopefully serve as a place for the old machine to live; I have tentative plans to haul it out this weekend. Emmet has been asking me to make him stuffed animals - like he needs any more!

  2. Hi Alex! Yep - if you click on the word "Frenchy Bag" under The Bad section, it will link you to the pattern I used. I bought the pattern from Pacific Fabrics (near the mall), but you can get it at just about any fabric store that sells Amy Butler textiles. If you are willing to wait in line, I can just lend you mine. I plan to use it, then a friend of mine has dibs on it next. It is a pretty easy pattern and such a cute bag!