So, earlier this month, I signed up for Doctor Who (almost) 50th Anniversary gift exchange on Reddit. For a couple weeks I struggled to come up with some sort of idea for what to get my lucky match. When I retrieved my match, I had a brilliant idea to make a T.A.R.D.I.S. messenger bag. I did some research, tried to figure out how to do this especially since this would be the first time I used my sewing machine. A friend of mine sent me a link to this messenger bag. I was super stoked about it. The following is the story of that adventure and the nerve wrecking sewing that followed (and of course the lucky results).
So naturally, with any project, you start off with a little alcohol. I saw this at the shoppette, and thought “I want a pina colada, and don’t want to put forth a whole lot of effort. I’ll give this a shot.”
Oh. My. God. That was a bad idea. Whoever invented this shit should be ashamed of themselves. (I’m talking to you, Bethenny Frankel. Seriously. Don’t even go there. It’s awful.)
We had some pineapple juice, so I added that in hopes that it helped at least a little.
It did. Now that I’m equipped with some alcohol, it’s time to begin.
This is how I wanted it to look, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to make that happen. I had 4 more sketches, and had my expectations too high. (Side note, that’s now how it turned out)
It was at this point that I started to freak out. How THE FUCK am I going to do this? Seriously…How? What made me think I could do this? I stared at my supplies and the computer screen for almost 30 minutes before I got up the courage to start working on it. I unfolded and refolded fabric, examined the ribbon with such intensity it was as if I had never seen ribbon before, and I began to wonder if I was missing something. Then I figured if I didn’t start now, I would never start it and I would be forced to buy something for this person…which I didn’t want to do. Mostly because I would have to admit to defeat and return everything I bought after spending an hour in Wal-Mart trying to pick everything out with the aid of the kindly craft section worker…or whatever they call themselves. Employees. Thats the right word. Yeah.
So, I started.
Well that only took an hour. Seriously. It took a fucking hour to cut the blue fabric, cut and place the white fabric, and cut and place the ribbon. I hadn’t even started sewing yet and I was already annoyed. Must. Keep. Going. Also, the idea of a messenger bag freaked me out, so I switched to a sling tote.
Then, as I was cutting the second piece (which I was already concerned about seeing as it took me an hour to finish the first one) Teemo decided he’d help me. Yep. He jumped in my lap and put himself in that position right when I reached to grab the scissors after I measured out the second piece. Thanks, Teemo. You’re an asshole.
Thirty scary minutes later, (yes it took me 30 minutes to sew on three ribbons…give me a break it’s my first time using my sewing machine) I got this far. So far so good. *Deep breath* moving on.
Oh mylanta I DID IT!!!!!!! One window done. That’s what’s up. (That was my legitimate reaction to finishing this one…six inch…window. I hadn’t even gotten to the hard part yet.)
HAHAHA!!! Oops…Guess I’ll have to cut more ribbons…oh well…Whatever. It’ll be covered up.
When I moved on to the second window, got the ribbons placed, this is how it looked, but this is how I felt. (watch the video. It’s worth it…and it’s only 4 seconds)
Let’s jump ahead a bit. Both windows are finished on both sides, and I’m 100% satisfied. The second set of windows looks immensely better than the first set of windows, but at that point I kind of knew what I was doing.
Here, I’m starting to wonder if I should shorten it. It seemed rather large. Although, I did cut it to be bigger anyway because I wanted a BIG bag, except now I was thinking it was too big.
Screw it. Let’s just keep on moving.
The original pattern called for some pleating. I was unsure if I actually wanted pleating, but I figured “what the hell…I’ll do it anyway.”
Well that worked out a lot better than I thought it would. Let’s sew the pieces together. (again my “maybe this is too big. Maybe I should shorten it” thoughts reappeared)
Woot! Woot! YAY!
This is my “oh my! I hope that’s not too big!” face (p.s. That’s what she said)
Side note: For the rest of this project, I worried that it was too large and that I wouldn’t be able to shorten it. I did, however, manage to shorten it twice, by flipping it inside out, taking it to the sewing machine (on the bottom of course) and cutting off the excess.
At this point I started to get tired, and texted my sissy a picture titled “and this is what it looks like if I wear it as a skirt!” Yeah…It was that big… I decided to call it quits for the night. It was after all really late…(this was also Day 2 of the project.) But before I went to bed, I realized I didn’t have black fabric for the “Police Public Call Box” sign and went in search for something in my closet or office that was black that I could repurpose.
I found this. It’s not what you think, but exactly what you think. Yes, it is a french maid costume, BUT it’s a Magenta costume. I’m not a dirty mistress…don’t worry. Anyway, my only concern is that the black fabric is velvet…and stretchy. Whatever. I’ll use it. Also, at this point in the project, I realized how easy this had become and how all my worries were stupid.
Day three, I stared at my project and began speculating that I really could still turn it into a messenger bag. The size was there, the opening, while slightly smaller because of the pleating, was still 17in. I had successfully shortened it in length (first shortening) and it looked a lot better. I fiddled around with the idea that I could easily make a flap and sew it on after I took out a few stitches. I hadn’t put the band on top to create the hem, and I’m PRETTY SURE I could make it work. Plus, I’m almost positive I would have to attach the strap and flap before I did the liner. I put that on hold while I made a pocket for the inside so I could stew about it a little longer. After the pocket was finished I cut out some pieces for the flap.
I measured the bag top to bottom and added an inch, then cut out some white and blue fabric for the flap. With the wrong sides facing I sewed the two pieces together save for a few stitches at the corner so I could flip it right side out, finished stitching the sides together, then attached it. It worked, which was exciting for me, but at the same time I then realized that after sewing the two pieces together, then sewing it to the bag, I should have allowed myself at least 4 more inches for the flap to reach top to bottom. It still serves it’s function so that’s fine. I proceeded to move on to liner. I turned the bag inside out and traced the bag on the white fabric. I cut that out and sewed the pocket on one side, then sewed the two pieces to the bag (one on each side).
I then attached the strap…which, as I already said, should have done BEFORE the liner (and forgot to do), but no worries, it’s still fine. And it’s hitting the length I wanted.
Front view after the strap and flap are attached.
Under the flap
The back view
I then discovered a conundrum. I hadn’t attached the black fabric to the front. I should have done that before I created the flap. I should have sewn the black fabric to the blue, THEN attached the white and THEN attach to the bag. But I didn’t do that, so I’d have to improvise.
Okay, so after I attached the black fabric and the ribbon to the flap, I began to cut out my paper stencil. The stencil was too big, and I tried 4 different colors of markers, a disappearing ink marker, and using my sewing machine for embroidering. NOTHING worked on that fabric. I spent the rest of that day, and the following day trying to figure it out while I worked on a few finishing touches. I have no clue how to do this. I also tried stitching inside the stencil and that didn’t work.
Then, last night one of my friends, let’s call her Ravenous…she might appreciate that, came over and we brainstormed. At first she thought I could cross stitch the letters. We tried it on white fabric with just the “P” and then realized how much work that would take and how little time I had left. We tried tracing the letters with the chalk, and it still didn’t work. Then, I had an epiphany. I bought iron-on adhesive fabric. DUH! Holy shit. Everything would have been solved HOURS ago if I had just remembered that I bought iron-on adhesive. FINALLY!
We ironed the white fabric to the iron-on paper, I used the stencil to trace the letters backwards, cut the letters out using my Exact-O Knife, and put them in place.
Utter. Satisfaction. now, I just needed to do some final touches to the flap, cut off some stray strings, and voila! Relief is in sight.
The finished front.
The finished back
The finished inside (well under the flap at least.)
I left a piece of myself on the strap.
And this is what it looks like on a short person (aka me.)
I am so damn pleased with myself. I am SURE that I could make another one, and if anyone wants one, I may charge only because of the supplies and the time it took to make it. I want so badly to keep it for myself, but know that I can’t. I am now afraid that if I give it to this girl she won’t like it. I just hope she understands the effort I put into it and appreciates it for it’s usefulness and originality. Honestly, It could probably be used as a laptop bag because of the opening being 17 in’ wide. It’s about 20 in’ deep and has a large inside pocket. Also, in my finishing touches, I shortened the bag again. But I did that while Ravenous and I were trying to figure out the lettering. We decided it would be more like a messenger bag, and pull the whole thing together if I flattened the bottom. Plus, for this being my first project with the sewing machine, for creating something from nothing, and only using the tutorial once to get measurements for the fabric (which I ignored anyway), I’m pretty fucking proud of myself. On top of all that, I only spent about $10-$12 total for everything, and I am absolutely convinced I would have never found anything that awesome for that amount of money if I had bought her something.
I’m going to go bask in my awesomeness for a little while longer before I have to go to work. YAY! Who has two thumbs and is awesome? THIS GIRL.