Crafty Challenge 4: Willis Inspired Laptop Bag

WooHoo! I actually managed to get this Crafty Challenge finished a little early. For me, that is monumental (at least compared to my past Crafty Challenges).

The challenge this time was to use the Coach Willis Handbag for inspiration and create something in that spirit. It could be any medium and any size. I tried several mediums, but seemed to have the best luck when I finally went to fabric. Then I had to decide what size I wanted, so I needed to find a purpose for my bag. I have a large laptop (it has a 17″ screen and the keyboard includes a separate number keypad)  that I have never been able to find a bag that I liked and that would protect it, that I liked. So, with that in mind, I was going to make the Willis inspired laptop bag.

Photo of my incarnation of the Coach Willis Handbag.

I had some really cute flannel kitties fabric and some matching pre-quilted red fabric that would be perfect for padding. After looking at my dogs, I realized that I would be better off if I put the flannel on the inside to help keep some of the hair on my new bag to a minimum. I did draw a sketch, but for the most part, I made it up on the fly. You should know though that I have seen many bags made by Loryn and Cheri, so I had some idea of how to go about this, I wasn’t completely in the dark.

Photo of handle and hardware at the top of the bag.
I just love that hardware!

I made the handle first as I wanted to use Loryn’s quilting idea to help reinforce the handle. The body was next and man, do not use denim Singer needles on medium-weight fabric, no matter how many layers you are sewing through. I trashed three needles very quickly. Once I switched to heavy-duty, medium weight needles, I had no problems whatsoever.

Photo of bottom of bad and imitation piping.

Photo showing inside of bag and cute kitten flannel fabric.

I made all the parts of the bag like pillows (right sides together, sew the edges and pull right-side out) and was very good about ironing everything. I am always surprised by how much of a difference ironing makes. Suddenly your project goes to the next level of wow and looks clean and (mostly) well made. Please keep in mind I am not the best seamstress. I tend to keep to pillows and curtains which are really just squares and rectangles with no real finesse (or at least the way I make them).

Photo of closure hardware.

Photo of strap hardware.

I did manage to find some excellent hardware for my bag at Kleindorfers. This is the hardware store I spent so much time in for our second Crafty Challenge. It really helped that since that challenge, I really know their stock. They are so helpful and they don’t look at you funny when you giggle and cackle with glee when you find such a wonderful hardware selection, they laugh and see if there is anything else you need.

Photo of hardware found at Kleindorfers.

I also have to mention in here my gratefulness for cellphones, good cellphone plans and AT&T. I spent almost the entire day on the phone with Loryn yesterday. I looked it up on my phone and it came out to 6 hours and 44 minutes. It is so nice just to have someone to mutter to while working on a project. I also spent the morning cleaning and having someone to talk to while doing that always makes the job easier.

Photo of back side of bag.

Back to the challenge, I then proceeded to put all the parts together and it went much better than expected. I added the hardware and giggled the whole while (Really, I did. Ask Loryn.) The one problem I had was with the dowel rod I had picked up for the top of the bag. It wouldn’t fit the hardware I had decided to use. When I bought the hardware, I bought more than I needed as I was not quite sure how or which pieces I would end up using for the bag. That meant another trip to Lowe’s this morning for the next size down in dowel rods. I cut it to size and painted it red to help it blend in to to the bag.I did that this morning and voila! my bag was finished. Hooray! The finished size is 22 1/2″ wide by 19″ tall. It came out a lot bigger than I intended, but I do like it. I may adjust the size eventually, but for now it is great just the way it is.

Photo of bag in upright position.

And now on to family and food. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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