I started sewing the little patchwork panel for this shopping bag in June last year. Why did it take me so long to finish?
All was going swimmingly, but as I was about to sew closed the turning opening in the rectangular panel that makes up the handle, I did a test fold and discovered that it was too small to wrap around the bag, no matter how tightly I folded or rolled the bag. I realised that I would have to unpick the handle and make the background panel larger. It was late that day, so the project got dropped in a basket on my sewing table. Other stuff got piled on top of it, and it was temporarily forgotten.
All I had to do to fix the problem was add ¾ inch to one end of the handle panel so there was enough of an overlap for the snaps. This addition allowed me to add the snaps without poking nasty holes in the patchwork – something I was not keen to do.
The other variations I made to the pattern were to substitute Velcro for snaps and to sew the patchwork panel using English paper piecing instead of simple hand sewing. I find English paper piecing always gives a marvellously crisp and neat finish. I simplified the handle construction a little too.
The pattern is from a Japanese book by Kunie Yamazaki, which I bought while on holiday in Japan in 2014. There are still many cute projects in the book that I want to make.
I chose orange for the bag simply because I had an orange piece of fabric in my stash that was large enough to make the bag. My stash is very scrappy – mostly 30-centimetre cuts and fat quarters, and very few larger pieces – so size can be a determining factor when sewing from it.
I would be tempted to make more of these bags, but other UFOs found in the bottom of the basket are calling. If only I had unlimited sewing time.