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I tend to be hypercritical of the things I make, but I’m so happy with this!  There were very few drafting errors and the only piece I had to recut was the handle (not sure what I was thinking when I initially drafted it, but it was completely weird).

So the front here has two zippered pockets with gussets and there are two small handles, one on the top and one on the left side.

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The back has padded adjustable straps that are detachable in case the bag needs to be checked at the airport.

I really love how the quilting turned out here–the leaves show up much better than on the sides because of the 4 layers of batting.

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There are two zippers along the sides that can be opened completely (I couldn’t find a reversible zipper long enough, so I used two that meet at the center top) so that the bag lies flat.  The picture above is the inside of the front when the bag is open.

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This is the main compartment with zippered pockets along both long sides.  I had initially planned to only put in one pocket, but the company I ordered the zippers from sent me an extra one, so, hey, more pockets are always better, right?  I also didn’t have enough of the lining to use it for the pockets, so had to use the green flannel.  As I was once told in a quilting class, “There are no mistakes, only DESIGN DECISIONS.”

So, since this is essentially a usable muslin, what to do differently next time?

1.  Don’t be a bonehead and order separating zippers.

2.  Change the order of sewing to put the side pockets on before the side zippers so that I don’t have the finish the top of the pockets in a separate step.

3.  Maybe line the pockets with something tough but lightweight?  Adding more layers makes the sewing trickier, though . . . .

4.  Maybe work some interfacing in there–at least on the side pieces–to add more structure?  Again, more layers . . . .

5.  Make the straps shorter.  That’s the “more or less” of the title of this post–despite all my testing and planning and measuring, the straps are a bit long and I need to shorten them at the bottom.  The bag is usable the way it is, but I’d like to not have it riding on my butt, thanks.

5.  This is the big one:  I’d like to find a way to avoid all the hand sewing at the end.  I put on all the attachments and pockets and things, did all the quilting of the main pieces, then attached the front and back pieces to the sides.  Not only were those two final seams a BEAR to do, but then I had to finish them with miles–MILES, my friends–of hand sewing.  Now, I like hand sewing, but we’re talking MILES.

All that is for next time, though.  For now, I love my bag!  I’m so proud of myself for pushing through all the challenges on this project and making something beautiful and useful!

GO ME.  😀

STH

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