I need to get cracking with the writing part of this, but I thought I'd share a little of my process with you.
I was thinking about this as I was working on it. A lot of how I work has changed over the years. For one thing, I'm much more patient with myself. I know that there are a lot of variables that come into play that I don't think of when I come up with my "great idea". Oftentimes, it takes many tries to get it right. Sometimes, many many tries. The Izzy Pincushion Pattern for instance? That took me six tries before Izzy would stand up on her own. And at one point, I was so tired, that I sewed her tail to her head and her ear to her butt.
So, with that kind of experience behind me, I knew when I started this bag, that could be the case. When the challenges came up, I was prepared. In the past you might have found me curled up in the fetal position claiming I was never going to make it and that possibly the world was ending.
Years ago, the first bag I made was an envelope clutch. Not only did I not have a pattern, it was the first time I'd taken out my sewing machine aside from 10 years earlier to make some very simple curtains. It took at least 10 attempts before I figured out the geometrics of that first bag. And I wasted tons of fabric doing it. It was incredibly frustrating. Now if I need to make something that is brand new to me, I at least know to make a muslin first.
For this bag, it wasn't exactly "new to me". So I decided to "skip the muslin". Afterall, it's based on a pattern I made years ago for my handbag line, the Lizzie Pocket. So it was going to be "no problem."
Except, for the sewing pattern, I wanted to change a couple things. First, I wanted to add a zipper. And I also I wanted it to have a handle.... And I wanted it to have a flat bottom. Oh, and also? I wanted to finish the ends of the zipper using ribbon. I knew how to do all of these things except that I'd never added a zipper underneath a flap before I'd never used ribbon at the ends of a zipper, and I wasn't exactly sure where the heck the handles were going to go. I knew in the seam with the zipper it would have been bulky and goofy, so it wasn't going there. Since I was at a loss, I decided to bag the handle for the first prototype. (yes, I totally knew there would be more than one prototype.)
So here was the first try (make a note of this... I finished this whole bag, hated it, ripped out each seam and made it a second time with the same fabric)
My reaction (I talk out loud to myself in my studio): "Whoops! That right corner doesn't want to sit right... And wow, I think I made the loop a little long for the button. Do I want a button? Yes, I want a button because some people won't have the magnetic closures so I need to give them an option here. Also, It sure would be nice if it came in two sizes... Hmmm... I'll deal with that later."
Here's take two, I worked it with the handles. And it was a great idea... except...
Me to self and possibly to Izzy and Max the giant Labradors who live here: "ooooh, that's much better. Still not crazy about the loop. And what am I going to do about the handle". ((You can't see here, but it was flipping backward)) "Hmmm, maybe I'll add some buttons" (I tried that, I don't like how it looks) "Hmmmm... maybe a *bunch* of buttons will make it work. Could be cute?What about some French knots? Oh, what the heck, I'll try both."
Ah! Much better:
Hello? What about actually SEWING the handles to the top of the bag? Oh. I see. (Sheepishly) That works nicely.
Some other challenges along the way... first, the zipper: Turns out, you need two pieces of ribbon for each end, and you have to sew them on at the same time. (3 tries, 2 uses of the seam ripper before I got it straight.)
Another of the things that had to be different about this pattern as opposed to the Lizzie Pouch was that it needed to use different pattern pieces for the flap, back and front whereas Lizzie is made from one piece of fabric that is folded to form an envelope. One of the reasons for this was of course, the zipper. It needed a seam to rest in. Which meant that the zipper, the flap and the back panel would go in that seam. That actually turned out to be only slightly challenging. I relented, and did the "B" word. Basting. And it truly required it so I didn't mind so very much.
That's it in a nutshell... at least the prototyping part. It wasn't too painful, and the pattern will be better for all the effort that went into it.
Now for actually Writing, Illustrating, and Designing the pattern booklet itself. Since I took lots of photos as I went along and wrote lots of notes, that'll be a snap, right?
I'll be sure to let you know.