Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Barbara Bag

I do not understand others' lack of interest in bags. They use the same one, day in, day out, usually black, occasionally brown. It's depressing practicality drags any outfit down to the lowest common denominator. It's the accessory equivalent of the graying bra and torn panties, except at least you can't see those. The dreary bag stands independent of the clothes it is supposed to go with, as if it is outside fashion and style and taste. Humdrum and yet absolutely essential.





When I occasionally raise the question of the boring bag, I receive the eye-rolling gaze of those who have transcended the lady-like matchy-matchy preoccupations of the aging generation which needed to color-code their bags with their shoes with their gloves. You could, they suggest, do without a bag altogether. You could use, instead, a leather or nylon backpack.





My mother bought bags because she liked the look of them, because they pleased her eye, were good quality, and were the right size for her. I bought bags because I, too, simply liked them.
- The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping, and Why Clothes Matter by Linda Grant.





The quote above always makes me laugh. While I enjoy creating bags, I carry a very practical, black bag almost all year round although, especially now that I need to get consistent exercise, I'm slipping my wallet and keys into my walking purse more often and getting out and about with a higher degree of accessory interest. I have a new bag in parts that are waiting to be sewn together from fabric I painted. Soon. I like the idea of different bags and it could happen... maybe... if all the elements are right... because what I know for sure is that were I to regularly use more than one bag, swapping over the parts and pieces would have to be easy.





Yesterday, I stopped by my doctor's office to weigh in. Rather than attend meetings, my accountability will come from going by the office once a week, wearing basically the same outfit, and having them track my progress on my chart. When I talked to my doctor about it on Friday, she was very supportive and encouraging about all sorts of things and said that it was important to her that I was okay... too... in this situation of my husband's chronic illness. That was comforting. I found her through my friend Barbara and I've been...



 


... thinking about how to thank her for a while now. Not only did she find us a doctor but she's a member of my Friday knitting group and has been so welcoming since I moved here and when I fell last year, she took good care of me. During the great studio clear-out, I found the 19" x 31" textile piece above that was never going to be hung on a wall again but was in the perfect colours to make a bag for Barbara.





I started by cutting the quilted piece in half and from there, the bag developed step-by-step. I didn't have any of the original fabrics left and incorporated bits from my stash. One of my goals was not to buy anything new and to use what I had. Which I did. The fabrics for the lining, sides, and bottom were remnants that were used up making this project. The support for the zipper was the original binding and the "new" binding was left-over and waiting from a previous project.





The variegated top-stitching thread was in my stash and so was the additional batting for the sides, bottom, and straps. And the buttons. And the zipper. There's something very satisfying about taking a piece that is "useless" and by using my skills and abilities along with the supplies in my stash creating something "purposeful". YES YES



 


I knew that Barbara had a doctor's appointment yesterday morning as well so when I went in, I took the bag wrapped up with a bow and left it for the staff to give to her. I told them it was a surprise and that she wasn't expecting it. When she phoned me later, she said they were SO CURIOUS and she opened it in the waiting room to their delight and that of the other patients and then shared it with "our" doctor. A surprise present at the doctor seemed completely appropriate.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - down 4.6 pounds

15 comments:

  1. Myrna, love how you re-purposed your quilted piece. I'm sure your friend appreciated her "thank you" gift.

    When I was much younger and a working girl, I had a purse and shoes for EVERY outfit! When I got married I filled 6 or 10 boxes with shoes and purses to move to our first apartment. My husband thought I was extreme -- he only had to move a pair of black and a pair of brown shoes to go with his suits and maybe a pair of sneakers for weekends. I loved having all those bags and shoes and didn't mind moving my stuff (back then there wasn't much) from bag to bag to bag. Nowadays, I still have a lot of shoes (although I only really wear the sneaks since I'm retired) and use only two bags -- a black one for fall/winter and a beige one for spring/summer. I have other bags of course but those are the only two I use. As you noted, the problem is getting all the stuff from one bag to another and back again without leaving something behind and then wondering where I put that?! Also, the two bags I mentioned are exactly alike except for the color so when I do the transfer everything goes into the same pocket/pouch/section and I know where everything is. I find being highly organized helps me deal with the occasional forgetfulness of old age.

    CONGRATULATIONS on the weight loss. Keep up the good work! Hugs, Charmion

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    1. I'm like you in that I like to have the same shape of bag. For me, it has to have a pocket on the front for my keys, one inside for my business cards and any papers I don't want to lose, and after that I've moved toward an empty cavity so I can have "moveable pockets" that I switch over... one for a pen and paper and business cards, one for Kleenex and aspirin, and my wallet. I don't tend to put a lot in my purse and I don't have a phone so it would be easier than I think. Maybe. You never know.

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  2. I also admit to sacrificing style for practicality on the purse front; once I switched to an organizer type bag it's hard to switch back. But if I were to branch out, I'd decide on a basic size and then sew an organizer insert for it like the free one at http://www.sewcanshe.com/blog/2016/8/29/handy-purse-organizer-free-sewing-pattern), so I could pop the contents from purse to purse and be on my way.

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    1. Interesting pattern. Thanks. I've done my organizing with the moveable pockets I discussed in my reply to Charmion. They're colour coded - black wallet, turquoise for paper and pen, and pink striped for medicine - so it's easy to reach in and locate what I want.

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  3. Hey hey. I change up the purse every six months or so. I usually have two on the go - a smaller one like your walking purse, and then a slightly larger one that fits wallet, phone and sock knitting project. The larger one is used when I am going somewhere, like the doctor's office, where I might have to wait. I hardly ever wear black, so my small purse is brown at the moment, and the slightly larger one is mossy green. All the colours!

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    1. Good to hear from you. The basic black one fits a book or small knitting project which is great for appointments. I much prefer that to carrying multiple bags.

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    2. I am in Saskatoon at the moment but will be home tomorrow. I will send you a missive from my computer with your email.��

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  4. Great bag. Love the handles. Is a tutorial on handles possible? I carry black bag in winter so I can wear colour in my clothes to cheer me up.

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    1. I'll see what I can do about the tutorial. Probably not on Friday but hopefully next week. Your colour in your clothes approach makes sense... although I wear a lot of black clothing so coloured accessories also work for me. Something to think about.

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  5. What a nice surprise and wonderful thing to do for your friend. And to do it all from your stash is even better. I love the green decorative quilting/stitching too, it really makes it pop. Congrats on the 4.6 pounds, I am impressed!

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    1. Thank you. The bag was fun and making progress on the weight is good too. I've decided that when I'm well and truly down each five pound increment I am buying myself a piece of costume jewelry since I love it so much - motivation and celebration.

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  6. Clever way to 'sturdy up' the handles! I like them a lot.

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  7. Hard to believe that bag is made up of bits and bobs from your remnant stash. It looks so cohesive! I particularly like the doodly stitching in green. Is that machine or hand stitched?

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    1. Thank you. The green stitching is done by machine by dropping the feeddogs and "scribbling" with thread.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.