Super Online Sewing Match Round 3 Project: "It's a Cinch" Tote | Scavenger Hunt: Super Online Sewing Match Round 3 Project: "It's a Cinch" Tote

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Super Online Sewing Match Round 3 Project: "It's a Cinch" Tote

 Here's my project for Round 3 for Sew Mama Sew's Super Online Sewing Match. It's the "It's a Cinch" Tote by Lisa Lam of U-Handbag. The original pattern is somewhat casual, so I decided I would try to dress it up a bit in my version. I picked this aqua and gray wool I've had in my stash since I found it at the Goodwill about a year ago. It's a fairly loose weave, so I applied fusible woven interfacing to the back of all of the pieces. I really wanted to use a cute Tammis Keefe bird print fabric I have for the lining, but unfortunately I only had about a half a yard, so I went on the search for something new. My mom was planning to drive down to Thousand Oaks last Saturday, so I came along with her and we checked out some fabric stores on the way.

I ended up buying my fabric at Superbuzzy in Ventura. I'm so glad I discovered this shop (they also have a website you can order from)! They have an amazing selection of cute modern fabrics, including lots of hard-to-find Japanese imports and craft books. I'll definitely be making it a point to stop there each time I pass through town! The fabric I bought is this adorable kitty print by the Japanese company Kei. The colors turned out kind of off in this picture, but they're actually aqua and gray.

The pattern called for 1 yard of lining fabric, but I decided to get 1 and a half at the last minute, and I'm so glad I did, because I used almost all of it! I made my own piping with it, here's a closeup:
This was actually the first time I've made my own piping. It's pretty easy and really similar to making bias tape.

I decided to add some curved external pockets instead of doing the zipper pocket on the pattern because I thought it would look a little nicer, and I also added a bow, because I love bows! The best thing about it is that it's actually reversible- you can have either the main wool fabric or the lining showing, depending on the look you want.
A peek into the front outside pocket.


Here's the back side:
I decided that I didn't like the look of the webbing straps, so I decided to cover them with fabric. It was kinda tricky, but I'm really happy with how they turned out!

I know this is called the "It's a Cinch"Tote,  but my case this might be more appropriately called the "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" or "It's the Opposite of a Cinch" Tote, because making this bag had me cursing, nearly crying, bleeding from needle pokes, and almost breaking my sewing machine!

To be fair, it was my choice to make this in such a thick fabric as well as adding another layer to create external pockets, which created a lot of extra bulk. The hardest part was sewing the corners- they were so bulky that they were nearly impossible to sew through, so I had to turn the wheel by hand, which took a lot of force. It was also just very heavy in general and became very hard to manipulate- my arms are actually sore now from all of the manhandling!

I also had some difficulty reading the pattern. The directions were very wordy and I think I'm more of a visual learner. Instead of pattern pieces they just tell you the dimensions of each piece and you cut it out yourself, which requires a lot more thinking and double-checking. There are pictures included that go along with the written directions, but they aren't necessarily located next to the written description of that step, which I found confusing. To top it off, it got all wacky when I printed it and chopped off sides, so I just read them off my laptop, which required lots of scrolling back and forth. I ended up pretty much disregarding the whole thing and just sewing it together as I saw fit based on the pictures of the finished product.


 Sewing these corners was the hardest part of the whole project!


I was surprised by how much smaller the bag gets when its cinched down. Here's what it looks like without the sides buckled:

And here's the zipper view. I decided to use a metal zipper instead of plastic. I think it was a good choice.

 Here's a view of the inside:

I changed the pocket from the one in the pattern, which had elastic on the top. I'm always digging for my keys and my phone, so I decided to make special pockets for them and labeled them:

And last but not least, here's me using it for the first time! We went on a little trip to Solvang today and I brought it along. It held all of my stuff with room to spare!
PS: I had to crop out my face because I shut my eyes in this picture, ha ha!

Phew, thanks for getting through all of these pictures! I hope you enjoyed my latest project, wish me luck!

PS: Just in case you missed them, here are my Round 1 and Round 2 projects :)


33 comments:

  1. Your bag is fabulous, I love your piping and the way you did the pockets. Excellent job.

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  2. Omg this is so frickin adorable!! I'm a bit bored by totes, but you have turned this in to a purse/bag masterpiece!

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    1. Thanks Meg! That was kind of what I was thinking too- I really wanted it to look nicer and not be just another tote bag!

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  3. This is so cute! I love that you used wool for the bag - perfect for fall! The outside is just great with the piping and the bow but my favorite part is the embroidered phone and keys pockets on the inside - LOVE IT! :)

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    1. Thanks! I really love the fabric and I was excited to finally use it! I think it makes a great purse.

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  4. So cute! I love the "phone" and "keys" embroidery... very smart!

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  5. I love the pockets inside- I always add extra pockets to any bags I make, but I like the extra touch of embroidering the names!

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    1. Thanks! I'm really happy with how it turned out!

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  6. Embroidering the pockets was a fantastic idea. Your bag is adorable, and I think the piping sets off the beautiful color of the wool perfectly.

    I recently bought the pattern in hopes of sewing along with all you contestants, and I agree with you about the difficulty in reading it. Putting the pictures in a separate place from the text makes for a very frustrating sewing experience. But seeing your cute bag makes me want to try anyway. Good luck in the contest!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad I'm not the only one who found reading the pattern a bit difficult! Despite that I really do like the bag and it was actually fairly simple to put together (apart from the thickness/heaviness of the fabric). I'd love to see what you make with it!

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  7. oh my goodness this is perfect I love it so much!

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  8. I love your bag!!! It's so cute as well as being useful. I've never made more than evening bag, but I'm guessing that when you start working with heavy fabrics like that, an industrial leather sewing machine probably work best, so I'm glad it didn't break your machine! Hopefully, you'll be winning a new one soon!

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    1. Thanks Tanya! I think you're right about the industrial machine. I even looked at some industrial machines on Craigslist after I sewed it just out of curiosity, but judging by the prices I think that'll have to be a "someday" purchase!

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  9. You nailed it! I love everything about your bag and all the ways you customized it. Very creative and impressive :-)

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    1. Thank you Ginny! I'm glad it all came together!

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  10. I think it was totally worth all the blood, sweat & tears because this bag is gorgeous! I love the alterations you made and the bow addition - fabulous! I want one just like it, and it looks so good I'd even be willing to go through all the hassle to make it!

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    1. Thanks! Maybe I'll try to put up a tutorial for the alterations I made just in case anyone wants to try it.

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  11. I love your bag - especially the bow and the fabric you used. If I could buy it, I wouldn't hesitate! Good luck!

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    1. Thank you! I really appreciate your nice words. Maybe one of these days I'll try to make something like this for my Etsy shop!

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  12. Love, love, love this bag! That piping and bow totally make it!

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  13. Love, love, love your bag! It's soo adorable, esp the bow and embroidered inner pockets!

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  14. That's my favorite project of yours so far! The fabric might have been a b*tch but it was the perfect choice. And the liner, so cute! The details on the inner pockets give it such a nice touch. You're a details chick, I like that!
    Great job! I hope your fingers feel better soon!

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  15. Super cute!!! You did a great job. I absolutely love it and want it!

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  16. Thanks for being honest about the pattern, I'm a very visual person, too, so what you said is good to know.

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  17. QUITE envious of your sewing mastery, the purse is gorgeous and I love the kawaii Japanese kitty fabric.

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  18. Wow. Simply...wow. You literally took this pattern and turned it into a masterpiece! I absolutely adore the bow. What an incredible job! Covering the straps was a good choice even though that decision caused you some grief. I honestly think that if I saw that bag at Macy's, it would have a $300 price tag at least. You will definitely be in the finals. Great job!

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  19. THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!! Totally envious of your sewing skills. That bag is gorgeous and I love the fabric.

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  20. Wow, this bag is just amazing! Stunning!

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  21. I love this bag and it has very strong draw strings! I might have to order another one for my daughter! I would definitely recommend using gemline 4976 surge sport cinch

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