Friday, June 15, 2012

Cat Bags

This week I had the pleasure of skipping work for six hours and going to a class on making "cat bags." The class was offered free as a "public service" because plastic bags have now been banned in our local county.  The "cat bag" was designed by the teacher to incorporate Helene Knott's "Garden Patch Cat" patterns into mesh or canvas totes.  I was excited by the prospect of the class because while I have made many quilted totes out of cotton, I have never made a sturdy and utilitarian canvas or mesh tote.

You know how no matter how hard you prepare for a sewing class, you *always* forget something?  On day one I forgot my applique press sheet.  On day two I not only forgot my most purple of purple threads, but also my pincushion of pins! Arg!

Anyways, on day one we assembled the cats from our chosen patterns.  I chose the eggplant cat because I wanted to do the fun purple colors.  The teacher had the ingenious idea of giving each cat a behind as well, giving the bag a fun three dimensional aspect.
This is my interpretation of the kitty's behind.  It was fun to see how differently each person imagined the back of their cat would look.

These guys were made with standard machine applique techniques, nothing exciting.

On day two we assembled the bag.

We laid these out and stitched them along the bottom, then basted the sides in place

Again, ingeniously in my opinion, the teacher (Terry Schneider) designed the bag so that the straps lie along the sides of the applique piece so that as you sew down the straps you are also sewing down the edges of the applique.  

And below are some shots of the finished bag.  Have you been reading the Advice for New Bloggers series at Plum and June?  I'm getting lots of tips.  The latest addition to the series, by Lily's Quilts, gave a long (and useful) list of quilt blog pet peeves, including taking pictures with poor lighting, so I took this bag out onto my patio for glamour shots. 

Here is the complete bag.  No raw edges!  Also a nice flat bottom for holding lots of groceries.

Bag Front
Bag Back

Side Shot, plus the bonus view of my wall of tomato plants.

 The cat panels and bottom border pieces double as pockets!

And here I am with my bag.  Honestly it came out a kitschy.  Perhaps it's impossible to do anything with vegetable cats that isn't kitschy but I think the eggplant fabric, while cute, was the factor I would want to change.  Something that isn't directional might please me more.

Lessons learned:  One big lesson learned from this project was to go slow and steady.  On day two of class I was absolutely rushing like mad to try to finish my bag before class ended (I didn't, in fact no one did).  I think I take pride in being a fast worker and that might extend to feeling like I have to be the first one finished every time.  I was in such a crazed rush that some of the work on this bag is quite sloppy.  In addition I stabbed myself with various needles at least three times do to my rushing.

Second lesson: you can overdo the crazy kitschy colors.  If/when I do this again I'll go a little more toned down, probably not do crazy lime green mesh, although I do love those purple handles.

Anyways, a fun project and I am pleased with the result.  This is going to be a Christmas present for somebody in my family (haven't decided who yet, but if you're reading this sorry for spoiling the surprise!).  I've decided after mass produced five difficult wallhangings last year for Christmas everybody is getting unique items and I'm going to make them throughout the year so I'm not in a mad rush.

In other news, I got another book in the mail: "Beautifully Embellished Landscapes" by Joyce Becker.  WOW what a wealth of information!  I can't wait to try out a landscape quilt.  I'm currently awaiting permission to reproduce some copyrighted material for my first one.  More on that in a future post.

1 comment:

  1. Me gusta mucho este bolso. Unico y original con colores muy alegres.