Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ravelympics: Over

Ah, the sweet sweet taste of failure!

I did not finish my scarf by the time the Olympics were over, but I've made so much progress that I can't be disappointed. During the Ravelympics period I managed to go kayaking for the first time, went boating, planned and hosted a party, finally saw the Dark Knight, and read a couple of books. All in all, it was a very productive time.

My greatest accomplishment, however, was this:

It would be appropriate for my Ravelympics event - WIP Wrestling - except that it's not knitting, but as far as I'm concerned I won this one. I bought the pattern and fabric back in November of 2005, according to the receipt I found in the bag. I cut out the pieces of the pattern, and then got stuck trying to figure out how to lay them out.

I used Simplicity's It's So Easy pattern 4909 which is not, as the name proclaims, so easy. I'm sure it's a piece of cake if you are an experienced seamstress used to following poorly written instructions but if you have never made a bag before, it's completely bewildering. I cannot tell you how many people I went to for guidance on this, just on the layout. Confusingly, this pattern has you lay a piece on the fold, but then says "cut 2." I couldn't tell if you were actually supposed to cut 2 separate pieces, or just cut one (two pieces attached together at the fold), or cut 2folded pieces. So unclear! It turns out that you cut it on the fold, so it's two pieces attached together, and then cut them apart. How much sense does that make?

In addition to the difficult instructions, this is just not an appropriate project for a beginner. It requires outer fabric, lining, and interfacing, which must all match up, not a particularly easy task. Ironically, I really wanted to make a skirt but thought I should start with a bag as it doesn't have to fit me. I really, really should have just made a skirt.

As far as the instructions are concerned, this bag isn't actually done. It's supposed to look like this:

I was never happy with the stiff square-ness of the bag in the photo, and was happy to find that a few confusing steps from the end it looked pretty cute. So that's how it's staying!

Despite my setbacks on this project, I'm very happy with the result (which may replace my plastic iPod bag as my new knitting bag) so I'm planning to do more sewing. I'm on vacation at home all this week so it may happen quite soon!


Anonymous said...

Your bag turned out beautifully, even if it didn't qualify as a Ravelympics WIP. I feel your pain on the Simplicity pattern. I use them to make shirts for my husband and recently ambitiously branched out into a jumper for my daughter. I could not for the life of me figure out what one of the pattern pieces was (I mean, I knew it was the body, but the orientation couldn't have been more mysterious). I finally figured out where I thought the cap sleeves and the legs were...only to discover as I was putting it together that I had it upside down. No biggie...except that the flamingo fabric is directional, so all of her flamingos ended up upside down! Ah, well...she still looks cute in it. :-)

Christian said...

That is a very nice bag, and you are to be commended for decipher gibberish instructions.

Anyway, your bag looks much nicer than the model bags. A stiff, flat bag is nice if you're carrying around manila folders filled with papers and documents. Or if you're carrying many strips of beef jerky or unrolled fruit roll-ups.

The fabric is swanky.