I love to look at patterns and if they are on sale, I tend to pick them up for future projects. The Simplicity Pattern 2300 has several different bags that can be hung on a personal walker. I decided I wanted to try version C that you see in the bottom picture.
I work better on projects if I have a special person in mind that will be the receiver. This one is really meaningful for me because I hope it will help the person it is intended for. She is very independent and although she has a debilitating illness, still takes care of herself and lives alone. She also uses public transportation to do all of her shopping and make hair and doctor appointments. Currently she is using a self fashioned bag that is functioning, but I hope this will make it easier to secure her personal items safely.
I liked this particular bag because it calls for double sided pre-quilted fabric. That means it does not need to be interfaced to add stability. The amount of fabric required is 7/8 of a yard. This is perfect for me because I tend to purchase remnants and once I went through my stash, I found a beautiful piece of fabric seen above. I did need to quilt it before I could cut out the pattern.
I chose a deep brown color for the back of the fabric as the darker color should help hide any stains. Here you see the natural cotton batting I used.
I laid out a 2 inch grid with my large ruler and Frixion pen then used safety pins to hold all of the layers together. My machine has a walking foot and this made the quilting go very well with minimal shifting. The printed fabric I worked with was almost too small and I had to plan economically to use every part as the fabric is directional.
I also used two different color threads for the quilting so they would match the top and bottom fabric.
Here is the fabric all quilted and trimmed so I could see exactly where I could place my pattern pieces. This would have made a beautiful lap blanket also. Creating your own custom quilted fabric is very rewarding.
The frixion pen is easily removed with a hot iron.
So after all of my careful planning, I was able to get my pieces cut out and this was the amount of fabric left over. The pattern has only six pieces and they are easy to cut out. Other items I needed were a package of double folded bias tape, 3/4 yard hook and loop tape and 3/8 yard 1/4" elastic.
Here is the organizer after I had sewn the pockets and front and back together. Some of the things I would advise anyone sewing this particular pattern are: Read the instructions carefully before you begin. The cutting layout does have a couple of interesting things to note. The front and back as well as the tabs that hang the bag are laid right sides together when you cut them and the pattern piece is placed right side up on the WRONG side of the fabric. Sound confusing? It did to me too and I had to make sure I read that several times so really look at the Cutting layouts notes section. Another thing that may confuse you is some of the sewing directions are not listed under the part of the instructions as you work through the pattern. It will state "Apply binding" instead of showing pictures in the instructions. You have to refer to the Sewing instructions section and look up "Apply Binding" to get details. I assume this was done to save double printing the instructions for the other bags in the pattern.
Another thing I would advise is to make sure you really pay attention to the markings on the pattern pieces and transfer them to the fabric. I used my frixion pen to mark the pocket, velcro and tab placements. The outside phone and water bottle pockets are sewn on first. The middle pocket is sewn on top of these and hides unfinished areas of those outside pockets. There is a small amount of hand sewing required also. Here you see the red clips at the top of the organizer. The front and back are sewn around and then turned with an opening to be closed with needle and thread.
The tabs are the last two things that are attached to the organizer and because of the pockets on the front, they have to be hand sewn. The instructions are a little vague as they just say hand sew. I decided to use a ladder stitch and go around the three sides connected to the bag.
Then I sewed the top of the bag to the back side of the tab using the same ladder stitch.
There were of course some things that I had to figure out because I had never seen them before. One in particular is the binding. The instructions call for you to open the double fold binding and trim along the fold. There are some pictures and they do help. I tend to use the finished pictures to help me complete projects, but the cover photo does not show binding in a different color so this was one thing I had to trust I was doing correctly. The trimming of the binding reduced bulk but left the second fold so you could wrap it around.
The binding is used to create a casing for the elastic on the water bottle pocket. I think I assumed the casing would be part of the quilted material when I first began the project, but the binding is a better way to make a lighter casing and once I figured it out, I now have a new technique in my sewing arsenal. Isn't that usually how it goes? Those things that are hardest or confusing usually wind up being some of our go to things.
The velcro went on easy because I used those markings from the pattern so again, make sure you take the time to transfer everything over. The pockets did have some first time elements also for me. They are actually formed first and have some darts in them to help give volume. When you sew the outer ones on, one side that will remain visible is turned under and attached while the other is left raw because it will be covered by this middle pocket. The instructions state to baste the raw edges and I would not skip that. I know a lot of people want to move through a project quickly but that quilted material is thick and will shift. So make sure you do baste when it states to.
The last thing I would advise you to do is make sure you are using larger needles. One layer of quilted fabric is thick but there are areas when you are sewing the front and back together that you will have three to four layers of material. I started with a denim needle and did have one break. I wound up using a heavy duty 110/18 needle to finish the organizer. So maybe buy a new pack of needles and take it slow when you are sewing. I also lengthened my stitch from a 2.5 to a 3.0 and just moved patiently through the project so my machine could do it's work. My iron and pressing station were used throughout also to make sure that quilted material did not shift and was as neat as possible.
So here is the finished organizer ready to ship to my special friend. It took me two sewing sessions to complete it. If I had started with ready made quilted material, I believe I could have finished this project in one day or roughly eight hours of layout, cutting and sewing. I would not say this is a beginner project because of the type material. It does get thick and you do have to manipulate it. A beginner might not know to use all of the markings and the pockets with the darts are a little fiddly to attach to the bag. I would say a couple of easy bag projects with flat pockets might be good to practice on before mastering this pattern. It did turn out beautifully, I learned some new techniques and look forward to trying the other bags available in the pattern. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift