This bag is for my secret partner in the Big Stitch Swap. The cross stitched geese were made with two threads of embroidery cotton on 14 count Carolina Linen Aida cloth. There are 1,320 stitches in that little panel which is about 2.5" x 3.5". I am a very slow cross stitcher, each row took me about an hour to stitch, so that makes about 11 hours of stitching. I just made this pattern and the colour choices up as I went.
The bag is about 7.5" high, 8.5" wide and 5" deep at the bottom point. The coffee cup is there for scale. It currently has my morning coffee in it too.
After humming and hawing and resisting the idea of making the cross stitched panel into a bag, I got busy yesterday. Holiday Monday is a bonus day and so I spent much of the hottest part of the afternoon and the evening making a bag. First I gathered materials and drafted a pattern. I used Essex linen in a medium dark grey for the background.
A long while back, for the Q3 FAL Tutorial Series, my friend Katy, from The Littlest Thistle, shared a tutorial about how to do the math to make a bag with a flat bottom and straight sides, and I have long wanted to give it a try. It was no problem drafting up a pattern with the help of the tutorial and it worked just as Katy promised.
I decided that I best matchstick quilt the bag in that industrial modern style I like so that my partner would remember it was from me. I quilted onto cotton batting without a back. As I have no interfacing at my summer place, batting was going to have to do for giving the bag structure. I also figured the dense quilting would add more structure. But at this point I was regretting not putting a back fabric on when I quilted the front panel as I was really liking this as a mini quilt.
I had cut out the back piece from the pattern before the quilting began. To avoid it pulling out of shape, I stay stitched around the outside edge and quilted quite slowly. The quilting was all done with the light aqua Aurifil thread.
The back panel has a piece of the arrow print from Melody Miller's Mustang line which is part of the new Cotton + Steel fabric line. Those gold dots are metallic and sparkle just a little.
I auditioned the few coloured solids I have with me and the teal seemed to work nicely to frame the cross stitch. I left the Aida cloth in place to the edge of the teal frame so that the cross stitch part would not sit oddly because it is stiffer than the rest of the front panel and that seems to work.
By the way, you are not seeing things. The panel is a little off centre which looks just fine but was not actually my plan. I was paying attention to the wrong thing when I traced my pattern and did not notice until it was cut out. So we shall call that more industrial modern style, and call it a design feature.
Here you can see the value Katy's math tutorial - and well, the Pythagorean theorem - at work. You cut out the sides of the bag like wings (go and look at her tutorial here) so that you have extra fabric to box the corners. This means that the sides of the bag can stay straight when it is all sewn together because they are not pulled in at the bottom by the boxing step.
Another view to show off the construction. This is very simple to make but sure looks cool.
I tried to take a photo of the lining in the sun so you could see the shiny golden birds. That print is from Violet Craft's Brambleberry Ridge line of fabrics. I am in love with them and was so happy to be able to use one here.
The bag has a red zipper, well just because. And also because there was a limited selection at the store I was in last week in long enough lengths. I especially like how the red geese shine with this zipper in place. You can see I managed the zipper but it is not perfect - it works and that's what counts.
I am off to find some fabric scraps and mail this out later today to my secret partner. I hope she likes it, as I sure do. I have some other packages that are long overdue to mail too.