Friday, December 7, 2018

Crazy Patchwork Bag

A long time ago, I was crazy about crazy patchwork. I made a few crazy patchwork bags, some more successfully than others. But I don't have a talent for it. Crazy patchwork isn't simply putting random pieces of scrap fabric together. There has to be some cohesion and your colours need to go together. But when I do any crazy patchwork, that's exactly what I get each time - random pieces of scrap fabric put together. At some point I realised my lack of improvement and no matter how much I wanted it, I couldn't be good at it. So I kinda gave it up. The piece of patchwork you see above was my last attempt, abandoned and forever sitting in the store room. (the butterfly applique was added to cover up some gaps) I don't remember what I intended to do with it but at the back of my mind, I always wanted to finish it. At first, I thought of making it into a gigantic zip pouch but I don't really need another zip pouch. Then I had an idea - why not make another patchwork panel and make it into a bag? Well, when I had that idea, it seemed like a great idea...

So I put my idea into action. First I washed a bunch of scrap fabric. Next I ironed the scrap fabric. Then I sewed the fabric together. Which took forever. See the flower applique in the middle? It's to cover up the black fabric. Originally, I wanted to have some dark fabric because the other panel of patchwork had some dark fabric. But while I was sewing, I somehow went in the direction of blue and red. After hours of ironing and sewing, I took a photo of the completed piece and realised I had made the classic rookie mistake of patching with long straight lines so the patchwork did not achieve the degree of crazy as I had imagined. The original patchwork was in my opinion better patched.

I wanted to add machine embroidery stitches over the seams mainly because I have embroidery thread bought from Spotlight years ago which I never use and my sewing machine comes with a ton of fancy embroidery stitches. I mean, I have already spent so many hours on this UFO, what's another 2, 3, 4 hours? I chose the feather stitches because that's what I would sew if I were to do it by hand. Which I wasn't going to, not in a million years.

The embroidery was a huge mistake. Firstly, the sewing machine would get jammed after sewing a small section of the patchwork. It seems the top thread would get very tight, snagged somewhere I suppose causing the bobbin compartment to move out of position. I would have to fix it, put back the bobbin and re-thread. I had to sew at a very slow speed to make any progress. But no matter how I tried, it would happen over and over again. Sew a bit followed by a scary noise, like a car going over someone's head. I tried using a different colour thread, I mean I have FOURTEEN different colours to choose from. Nothing worked. Finally, I gave up. At the rate I was going, it would take me years to finish the embroidery. I almost cried when I realised I had ended up creating another UFO. Why did I need to embroider in the first place, right?

Did I tell you I don't give up easily? I don't have any other embroidery thread but I do have one precious cone of Aurifil. I used it for the top thread and OMG. It worked. No adjustments needed. Super smooth sewing. No scary bone crunching noise. And I could go at lightning speed. AURIFIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you. If only it doesn't cost so much so buy you in Singapore. I ended up using the embroidery thread in the bobbin and it didn't cause any trouble so at least I could use them. How many years would it take to use up 14 cones of embroidery thread in the bobbin?

I wanted a simple bag to use when I go to the supermarket or gallivant around town. So no zipper or magnetic snaps. I also used an abandoned canvas strap. <win, win> Yes, I have all sorts of abandoned sewing stuff lying around.

For the lining, I used fabric my mother had given me plus I used an abandoned pocket. <another win> I do wonder where my mother gets her fabric? It's always tightly woven.

After the bag was finished, I had this CRAZY idea to topstitch BY HAND. This is why I shouldn't make any more crazy patchwork. I go a bit nuts. Did I mention the patchwork is sewn onto calico? That means I sewed through 6 layers of fabric and around the strap, I had to use a tool to pull the needle through. Never again. My fingers are still pretty sore.

It occurred to me that in order to finish one UFO, I ended up spending hours creating ANOTHER patchwork plus many hours on the embroidery. Seems kinda silly right? I think in this case, I can safely say I tried too hard. Waaaay too hard. And to top it off, ....

Yesterday I asked hubs to take a photo of me carrying the bag. Like I've done many times before. For some crazy reason, we got into a fight because he was confused by what I meant when I said take a photo of me "carrying the bag".  He tried to clarify, I got frustrated. I even drew a picture of a stick girl carrying a bag. Then both of us got angry. He started shouting. Somehow I was reminded of the Bintan incident when he screamed at me...

Despite all that, he took photos of me "carrying the bag".

5th UFO completed. I feel I went to war with this bag. When I look at it, I'm reminded of all the struggles I went through to get it done. I just want to burn it.

But I won't. Because I invested so much time in it, I'm using it until it disintegrates.


Unknown said...

Good for you for hanging in there with this UFO! Your comment "I even drew a picture of a stick girl carrying a bag" made me laugh out loud!Thanks for the inspiration to get those UFO's done.

Projects By Jane said...

Hi Trish, I think the drawing made hubs angrier. Hahahaha. Seriously, I should improve my communication skills. Either that or learn to take photos of myself with my camera.

Anonymous said...

Where did you get the aurifil thread? Honestly speaking the only thread worth buying at spotlight is G├╝tterman and nothing else. But it's still overpriced anyway even with discount coupons. If you want other embroidery thread Ban Soon has Gunold,I think it's $6.90 for 1000m or even the Dolphin ones at Brighton in Chinatown work very well

Projects By Jane said...

Hi Anonymous... This cone of Aurifil thread was sent to me by my friend in US. Recently I bought a few more cones from 2 Quilters. Thanks for the recommendation - I haven't been to Ban Soon for ages but I'll check out Brighton the next time I'm at Chinatown.

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