tote bag photoSomething major happened in the last few months, you guys. Somehow, without lifting a finger, all the blog posts and articles I’ve read about sewing crossed into the atmosphere of my brain.

The other night, I got it into my head to make Owen a little bag. To my surprise, he was totally into it. He picked the fabric from my small stash, brought each piece to me to iron, took the warm pieces back and laid them “flat” on the couch, and didn’t seem to mind that it took me quite a long time to then measure and cut them.

Following this tutorial, but for much smaller dimensions, I sewed the whole thing together after he went to bed. (Not because I didn’t want him to watch me sew, but because I was too impatient to wait till the next day.)

In the morning, Owen liked the bag. But I’d wanted to put a pocket into it and had forgotten. And I’d made the handles a little too long. And anyway, it wasn’t big enough to hold books. Or, as he immediately pointed out, Baby Watson N Crick, his frequent companion.

So yesterday we set out to make a second, bigger bag. This time I imposed the fabric choice on him: an Ikea tea towel I’d had laying around, a couple coordinating fat quarters for the lining, and some scrap airplane fabric for pockets.

Again he helped me iron and watched me measure and cut. This time I barely referred to the instructions. I put one patch pocket on the inside of the bag, and one on the outside. I folded and ironed and hemmed and appliqued.

I’m in love with this bag, and I’m terribly proud of myself. I feel overwhelming satisfaction that I finally feel like I know what I’m doing. Sure, I followed instructions. But it used to be that I’d need instructions at every step, even steps I repeated over and over again. For this second bag, I used directional fabric without cursing. I knew where to put the pocket in the lining so it would end up exactly where I wanted it after I sewed the whole thing together then turned it out. I could make a third bag now, with more modifications and in less time, without instructions. That’s a tremendous leap for me, and I’m very happy about it.

From now on, I’ll no longer say that I kinda sorta sew. I’ll just say, sure, I know how to sew.

And right now, I want to sew MOAR.

Tote bag liner photo