There’s a particular type of bag I like, but have never bought. I came of age in the “hippie” generation. And I love the clothes we wore, the hair we had, etc. Not that I dress like that now, but my fantasy me does. When I was younger — say between 30 and 45, I was much more flamboyant in my clothing choices. People I know now would never imagine me in red bell bottoms with rows and rows of ruffles along the bottom half of the legs. Jeez, I loved those pants. Some how I lost my flare and can’t find it anymore. Maybe it’s because I shop at Kohl’s and Walmart now. There’s not much flamboyancy going on in those places. Maybe it’s because I’m upwards of 70 and still visualize myself knocking off a few years with those extra pounds and am waiting for just the right moment for flamboyance to rear its happy head.
At any rate, I’ve looked at cloth hobo bags for quite some time, but I’ve never wanted to pay the $30 or so for them as I could see them falling apart with a little heavy use. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about here — the ones made in some third world country. The bigger the bag, the more stuff we put in and the heavier the load. Next thing you know, a strap is separating from the purse.
I saw a pattern online for just the right bag and promptly downloaded the India pattern at http://www.swoonpatterns.com. Next step, run to the fabric store for fabric and other needed materials. Hence the $50 in the title. Yes, I spent $50 to make a bag. As I was walking to my car, I was talking to myself — the way we do. Questioning my sanity, not to mention my economic sense.
Well, that was a few months ago. Oh yes, I cut the pieces out, started working on it and then it just sat there — an unfinished reminder of what I started and didn’t finish. It kept whispering mean things to me when I’d walk by. Whisper to me long enough and I take action! So this past week, I sat down and finished it.
Is this the point I should mention that sewing — clothing design and construction was one of my majors in college? Well, it was — one of several in my college career. Then fabric stores started dying out. People weren’t sewing any more. And as a result, fabric selection became limited to a few chain stores. And I was no longer interested in sewing things that were no longer unique and or of good quality. Why bother? To spend time sewing with cheaper mass produced fabric just didn’t appeal to me.
Several years ago, I went to Amsterdam. Wow! There were stores that sold nothing but oilcloth! Not the flannel-backed vinyl we can buy here in the U.S. Everyone carried oilcloth bags over there. I came home and found a source online for oilcloth. I made a handbag and I receive so many compliments on it, that at that point, I decided bags would be my new thing. Except it never went beyond that until now.
I joined a Facebook group (swoongroup) devoted exclusively to bags. Yesterday, I made the rounds of the few fabric stores I could find, here in Raleigh, and now I’m anxious to get started. These are my next two bags, Charlotte on the left and Melody on the right. What’s really funny — I never change the bag I’m using. I carry the same one until it starts falling apart. So what in the world will I do with all these new creations? That’s why I chose not to take up quilting. How many quilts can you have on your beds or on your walls?
At any rate, the quest is on for some really fantastic fabric. I’ll be online if you need me. Just look for me on the fabric websites — drooling. Uncontrollably. Can anyone loan me some money? I seem to be out.