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I sewed! Not neatly or with straight lines, but still! Sewing happened! By me!
Here’s what went on. I had this shirt that I wore for work:
And it was my favorite shirt of all my work shirts. I liked the pattern of it, plus I loved how it was adjustable:
Granted that it may be hard to see that in this photo. But it has ties in the back that you can tighten as need be, thus creating a scrub top that vaguely has a shape to it instead of the huge tent-like appearance that my other tops have.
Sadly, one day I went to put the top on and noticed this:
A hole! A hole in my favorite shirt! Oh noes!!
The hole was too big to fix, and the shirt had to be taken out of wearable rotation.
I didn’t want to throw it away, though, due to still liking the pattern and how wearing the shirt had been one of the few enjoyable parts of my work day. (This lets you know how low I have to set my work-related standards, btw.)
At the same time, I had knitting projects that I was carrying around in Ziploc bags. This, while allowing for a way to keep yarn, needles, project, and instructions all in the same place, didn’t allow for much flexibility with the bag shape. So I said to myself: “Self, what if you could recycle this shirt? What if, in fact, you could recycle it into wee bags suitable for your knitting projects? What if, by using these powers, you could then save the world?”
So I brought the shirt to my sewing table and had a look at it. There were two things that I liked right away: 1) The shirt already had pockets, which would provide the perfect spot to hold copies of patterns that I folded up and carried with me. 2) The shirt had those drawstrings, which could be used as, well, drawstrings. Only now for the bag. I gave up on the world-saving aspects once I remembered that I still didn’t have sewing skills enough to make a straight line.
After seeing how much usable material there was (other spots were worn or getting close to it) and holding some yarn and needles up against it for a rough idea of size requirements, I decided to try to make two bags, each with one outer pocket. I would do this by cutting the shirt in half horizontally and vertically, so that each bag would be made out of part of the front and part of the back. This also meant that each bag could use one tie each, and that I would only have to make a channel for the tie on the front pieces, since I could reuse the existing channel on the back ones.
For the front, I cut out strips of fabric from the parts of the shirt that I wasn’t using, folded them, and sewed them on to make a channel for the tie. I did it this way because that’s how it was done on the back and I figured that way it could be uniform. I also created a hem above the channel just to make sure there was a nice edge to the top. So this is what it basically looked like on front and back:
Notice my OH SO STRAIGHT AND NEAT rows of stitches there. While I worked I so heard Tim Gunn in my head saying “This concerns me.” But I do think I got a little better as I went along. Also I was so, so freehanding this. I mean I pinned things down so they would stay in place while I sewed, but I didn’t do too much by way of measuring and lining things up beyond, say, cutting the pieces up while I had them stacked on top of each other. So it’s entirely possible that if I’d done all this the proper way with ironing and such that everything would’ve come out uniform. It’s also entirely possible that I’m just a sewing spaz. Still, it’s not like my knitting projects are going to sit up and say “Oh dude, we are NOT going in there!” Or if they do then I feel confident that crooked seams are not the biggest of my worries
Tie channels done, I pinned both sides together and sewed the bottom and sides up to make a bag. I used one of the zigzaggy stitches on my machine so that these seams would be a little more sturdy. Note how this makes it sound as though I have any idea what I’m doing. Anyway, the result of that looked like this:
You will also note that I am wearing my cute doggie jammies while I do this.
Also for the bottom I just kept the stiches fairly near the original seams since I figured why not take advantage of that sturdiness while it was there. For the sides I picked whatever spot had the most solid material, sewed, then trimmed off the excess.
Amazingly even though the bottom seams are not straight lines (due to the original shape of the shirt) on both bags I managed to keep a consistant distance while working. This either means that I really did get better at using my machine as I went, or that since I can’t sew straight anyway curved lines are my forte.
Admittedly on the second bag I was starting to feel the effects of still having a headache and needing to eat dinner soon (yet knowing that if I stopped for food I would never ever pick up the project again) so instead of sewing on new material for a tie channel I just folded existing material down and made the space accordingly. This was faster, plus it’s not like I had managed to get something exactly like the existing channels when I did it the first way, so I wasn’t going to lose sleep over inconsistancies that had been done on purpose.
Sides sewn up, excess cloth and thread trimmed away, I then turned the bags rightside out, then used a ginormous crochet hook to work the ties through. The two finished bags looked like this:
You can see the lack of measuring in how one is taller than the other and one is wider than the other. Also in how no two tie channels are alike (notice how I failed to take pictures of that for you). But other than that I’d say I did a pretty good job for something I mostly freehanded with my very meager sewing skills. The curves on the bottoms of each bag are part of the curves from the shirts. And you’ll note that the fabric isn’t pooching or anything to indicate that I somehow screwed up the amount of material needed on each side. So job well done if I do say so myself.
As for the bag in use:
Here it is with my clunkiest current project, and you can see that it’s holding it pretty well. I was also able to tie it closed with no problem. Likewise the pattern for said project fits perfectly into the pocket, but I left it pulled out a little in this picture so that you could see it in action.
I certainly wouldn’t put, say, a sweater or a blanket in there. But for portable knitting like hats, scarves, and socks it is just the right size. And that’s the kind of knitting I wanted the bags for in the first place, so go me!
I shall now be proud of myself.