After days of sewing and multiple roadblocks, I have finally finished my Teardrop Bag!
I bought this pattern months ago from my friend, Janelle, at Emmaline Bags and Patterns. I have really enjoyed using her patterns, and I can now say I have completed the Emmaline Bags and Patterns trifecta--The Emmaline Bag, The Steph in the City Bag, and now The Teardrop Bag! I feel like I deserve a really big prize, especially after conquering this last one.
As you know, not all projects go smoothly from start to finish. In fact, most of mine rarely (if ever) are done without some sort of issue (whether it's human error or machine error), but my Teardrop Bag endeavor had more than its fair share of challenges.
First, I printed out the pattern months ago when I purchased it. I read through the instructions on my computer then, too, but opted to not print them out. No big deal. I do that all the time to save paper, ink, and space. However, I can only guess that I failed to check the scale of the pieces I had printed out and taped together. I discovered this error only after I had cut out all the lining pieces and the rectangle pieces of fabric used to cut out the outer bag. My pattern pieces were 3/4" shorter in width than the fabric!
What I then learned is that when printing out pdf patterns on my HP Deskjet 1050 printer, I have to use an A4 paper size instead of Letter and make sure that I check the actual size option. I've been having issues with pattern printing for a while now in the form of some lines being cropped from the print area (but the pieces are normally to scale). I have no idea why I suddenly thought to try printing them out on A4 paper, but it seems to have solved all those printing problems! Yay!
Ok. So back to the issue at hand. Since I had already cut out several pieces using the scaled down pattern version, I had to run with it, which ended up being just fine because this bag is huge!
Now I've finished cutting out all my pieces, and I go to the ironing board to starting fusing the fusible fleece to the outer bag when I discover that my fabric has faded spots all over it on one panel. I then inspect the left over fabric more carefully and realize that roughly 1 1/4 yards out of the 2 yards of the Joel Dewberry Aviary 2 Bloom Granite fabric I ordered online was flawed! Luckily, there was enough undamaged fabric to cut out duplicate pieces of the ones that I had to replace. Ugh!
Next hurdle was deciphering the pattern instructions. You see, I opted to make my Teardrop Bag with both the optional gusseted zipper opening and the o-ring handle mounts--both of which were additions to the original pattern instructions. Because of this, you have to skip some of the original steps and jump to a different page here and there. With two children constantly running around and interrupting me, it's a wonder I got this bag finished at all!
I'm glad I made a gusseted zipper opening since I never have, and Janelle's written instructions and photographs made understanding each step of the process very clear.
However, I'm not sure I really like the gusseted zipper opening on this bag after all. I thought it would be nice to have since the opening of the bag is so large, but I find it somewhat awkward to zip and unzip. It actually requires both hands which sometimes can be a bother.
At first, I goofed up and sewed the zipper in wrong for the inner pocket. I was distracted by my children, (so they get the blame for this, too!) but I picked it out and fixed it. I learned how to sew a zipper pocket from Janelle's tutorial that is included with all her patterns. It's really a great tutorial!
I also added a slip pocket to store my phone and tin of mints. No problems with this step! Whew! But I wish I had sewn it in a little lower. The gusset zipper gets in the way of the top of the slip pocket.
I used a lot of pins to secure the outer bag to the lining before sewing them together. Because I used canvas fabric for the lining, the overall bag was rather stiff and at times a challenge to maneuver under my sewing foot. I have never been poked by pins as much as when I was sewing the outer bag to the lining!
All was going well on the third and final day of bag construction when I had to use the seam ripper to remove one stray stitch where I had sewn on the o-rings. I guess I don't know my own strength, because I pushed the seam ripper so hard that it slipped and sliced open the top of my left hand index finger. It began to bleed immediately, and I thought I would faint! I can't stand the sight of my own blood.
I'm not so sure I agree with Janelle's difficulty rating for the Teardrop Bag. She has it listed as Easy -- For Advanced Beginners. Now, like I said earlier, I've made all three of her bags, and the other two were listed as Intermediate to Advanced which I agree with her on that. But with the gusset zipper and o-ring handle options that I chose to tackle, I believe that the Teardrop Bag rating is most definitely an Intermediate to Advanced bag. Without those options, then I would agree with her rating. Would that distinction on her pattern have deterred me from tackling the exact same bag I made? Most definitely not!
Overall, I'm very excited about this bag and have really enjoyed using it the past several days. The exterior fabric is gorgeous, and I really love how nice the bag looks with the way I pieced the coordinating fabrics together.
This is the first time I have ever used canvas as the lining of a bag, and although it was a little challenging at times to sew, I'll use it again. I like how it makes the bag have more structure without using interfacing. In fact, the only other thing I used was some fusible fleece on the back side of the outer fabric in order to give it a little more strength.
So, there you have it! That all said, this is one whopper of a bag! I'd say it's the biggest I've ever made. Even bigger than this Sweet Pea Tote I made last year! Although I made my bag slightly smaller than the regular sized version (due to my printing error), Janelle's pattern offers you an option to make it even bigger! I think she refers to it as the XL size!
It's so much larger than what I would normally carry that I made up a matching zipper pouch to keep small items neat and tidy inside the larger Teardrop Bag. I also threw together a matching tissue holder. Since this post is now way too long, I'll share more about them another day.
Oh, and the bag matches the Commuter Cowl I made, too. Ella took this picture of me--not bad considering she's not even 4 yet!