bag-making: funky, fun and a good way to use scraps? or a waste of time? discuss.

on a recent trip abroad i was faced with my usual dilemma during all trips, whether it’s to the grocery store or to another continent:  an overestimation of my ability and tolerance to carry things.
78/365: Overpacked.

“Overpacked” image from HappyHermit on flickr

yep, i overpacked my carry-on.  just to give you an idea, a typical trip for me (not to the grocery store, but on, say, a vacation) ends up looking like this:

and that is before my usual pile of paperbacks and does not include essentials like a wallet, passport, or sunglasses.

however, thanks to things like the ipad and the camera phone, my recent trip to paris was more like this:

so, accordingly, i nicked this bag from my mom’s closet.

but i’ve gotta tell you guys, this bag–no matter how trendy or chic or expensive whatever you may think it is–is heavy.  as in, it could be empty and your shoulder is still aching a mere hour after you’ve left the hotel room.  after a full day of back-and-forth across the city, and also carrying this?

intolerable.  by friday, on my day trip to london, i was lean and mean with this bad boy, packing 2 cameras, an ipod, my favorite paperpack, and still having enough room to shove my fabric score from shaukat into the bag for the trip through customs.

hand-made canvas bag, an ultimate DIY from some creative-type friends who got married last summer.  got me thinking:  should i try my hand at making a bag?  i’m not thinking a purse, because i rarely carry anything small enough to qualify as a purse.  for my day job, i’m often carrying my ipad and a book or two for the lunch hour, and usually a sweater as well or maybe a pair of flat shoes.  at the weekends, city life practically demands a good shoulder bag large enough to carry a metro card, a wallet, sunglasses, a paperback (or ipad) for the subway, a few groceries, and probably an extra canvas bag tucked inside for any other incidental purchases.  a purse is not practical.

here’s the question, though, when you look at the bag patterns out there from the Big 4 (i know burda have got options, especially in the new book, but i’m not a tracer) there is a definite element of craftiness.  so, as a garment sewer, do you embrace the craftiness?  maybe try a little quilting?  maybe experiment with the file cabinet full of liberty scraps to make something patchwork and kitschy?

i mean, there is some fun to be had with the whole vera bradley-style aesthetic, right?

not to mention the amazing made-at-home purses from the lovely and talented debbie cook:


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