Prototype of a new bag

This bag is especially exciting for me for two reasons.  First, I wrote the pattern as I went, so I have a starting place when I want to play with it again (most of my bags get made up on the fly with nothing written down to assist me later).  Second, I sewed in the zipper; I have never sewn a zipper in my life, and while I’m certain it shows a bit, I’m okay with that.  Because now I have sewn a zipper, and that means that I can do it again.  I like learning new things like that.

The bag was done up with some leftover Red Heart acrylic in yellow and black and my trusty I-hook.  I like the I-hook for Red Heart worsted weight because it gives the yarn enough leeway that it doesn’t curl into itself quite as easily.

I worked the body of the bag (the yellow) in a single rectangle, with the openings for the straps worked into the pattern:

zippered bag front

From the front

The black stripe you see along the edges of the bag is the back of the stitches that make up the side panel.  I crocheted directly onto the yellow rather than create a separate side panel that would then have to be seamed in on three sides rather than one.  I’m going to get a picture of the side panels before I stitch them the next time I make the bag so that it’s clear how I do it.

zippered bag side panel

Side panel (slightly blurry)

The result is a nice splash of black on the side panels and a bag that has some room to actually store things.  The strap was made very easily; I crocheted straps the width of the loops, threaded the loops through, and then seamed together the ends of the straps.

Now, for that tricky zipper.  As I mentioned, I’ve never sewn a zipper before, so the first thing I did was fire up google and get some ideas on how to do it.  I would link to a good tutorial, but I didn’t find one.  Most instructions I got involved a sewing machine, and I simply tried to match my hand stitching to the way the stitching looked in the machine-stitched pictures.  I also realized, as I sat down to pin in the zipper, that my box of straight pins has gone missing, so I was forced to improvise.  It turns out, in case you find yourself in a similar situation, that bobby pins will do in a pinch:

zipper with bobby pins

When it doubt, use hairpins!

The bobby pins worked exceptionally well because I could slide them into the stitches on the purse to hold everything into place, so it was easy to space them evenly.  I had the bonus of not jabbing myself in the finger because the bobby pins don’t have a sharp point at the end of them.

It took about an hour to sew in the zipper properly, and the final result was slightly uneven, but I’m still pleased with it because I did it.  The next zipper will go in smoother, I’m certain, and I’m ready to try it again:

zipper top view

zipper from the top

Like I said, it’s not perfect, but it’s in there, and that’s an accomplishment.  You’ll notice the end of the zipper is curled up and sewn over with black thread.  I learned that you shorten a zipper by cutting off to the length you need, fold the end of the zipper over, then zig-zag stitch to keep the zipper from splitting open from the back end.  I accidentally sewed the end facing up rather than facing down.  I will not do that next time.

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