Friday, May 30, 2008

Sophia Carry-All -- cutting

I got my fabrics and I started cutting for the Sophia Carry-All bag from Amy Butler yesterday. I considered scaling everything down since this is a bag for a child, but that would have complicated my life way more than necessary so I just followed the pattern. It took me ... I don't know, forever. It's specially time consuming when you have to break every five minutes or so to teach your 3-year-old how to jump rope. But I think I got everything cut, I think.

The "Animal News" and polka dot fabrics are very lightweight and the Heather Ross, "Racing Cars" fabric is a decor-weight fabric with more of a linen feel. I didn't quite realize it was going to be different than the others. I would have liked it to be just regular smooth cotton but it's not a big deal because I'm only using that for the inside pockets to give it a little contrast and a bit more fun inside.

I started off making a full size template from some scrap lightweight cardboard for the main panel right off the bat because I figured I would be cutting that piece out a lot. I also transferred the strap placement onto my template. It bugs me a little that these marking are not on the pattern piece and that you have to measure them out. I don't mind measuring them out but I would still like to see them on the pattern piece. Making this template left me with a negative template which I could place over the "Animal News" so I could see what images would end up on the cut piece and how they would be situated. I couldn't decide if I wanted the big bold "Animal News" letter in the cut piece or not, and after probably way too much deliberation, I decided to keep it in since that's kind of main feature of the print. So I did one side with and one side without. After that, I didn't really pay too much attention to the print for the other pieces other than to cut them so the lettering would be horizontal on the bottom and top panels in the center of the bag instead of the way I think they are laid out in the instructions.

The pattern calls for a lot of interfacing, Pellon Thermolam, a thick but flimsy fleece interfacing, Stacey Pellon Lightweight Woven Fusible, and Timtex but only for the bottom panel on the bag. I knew I wanted to use Timtex on the main pieces of the bag because that's what is used on the Weekender bag (although I haven't made this one yet). I want it to hold it's shape well and after reading this blog post, I was reassured that should be the way to go. I have a roll of "low carb" Timtex I bought from eBay a while ago which was said to have the same stiffness but is more compressed. Because I'm using lightweight 45" wide fabric, the pattern wants you to double up on the iron-on woven interfacing (Stacey Pellon SF101). Once I started cutting out the interfacing though I started second guessing myself. I thought, well if I'm using Timtex, do I really need to double up of the woven interfacing. And when I placed the cut front panel on the Timtex piece, it doesn't have the same cushiony feel as when it's on top of the Thermolam. Then I started worrying it wouldn't have the right feel and maybe might end up being too stiff. So I cut out the Thermolam too and I'm going to try to use both. I know I will be cursing myself later for thinking this was a good idea, but oh well. Then I decided to use a cheaper bolt of regular lightweight fusible interfacing I have to cut out the extra pieces called for instead of cutting out duplicates of the Stacey interfacing which is more expensive. So maybe, I'm taking the advise in these interfacing guidelines a little too literally by combining all these interfacing together. Who knows if I'll even be able to sew through all of it.

I didn't have enough dot fabric to cut the fabric strips for the cording. Because the pattern calls for this to be cut from the same exterior fabric and not the lining fabric as I'm doing, I forgot to calculate for this when I ordered it so I had to order more plus shipping --ouch.

I think this is going to take me quite the long time to finish but my goal is two weeks. I hope I make it.


  1. What a fun bag this is going to be! I think it actually goes together pretty quickly - I think you can make your two week deadline with no problem!

  2. I just made this ... and I cheated. I ended up pulling out the handstitching and doing it on the machine. I hated how my hand stitching looked - if you go very slowly you can do the final step by machine. You may need to hand stitch a little bit but it's WAY better than doing the whole thing! Best wishes....

  3. Your negative pattern from the cardboard is brilliant! I had cut mine out of a clear plastic shopping bag, but each time I cut it out I seemed to lose the shape a little. I will definitely try your method next time! Thanks!