I hope you all had a good Christmas Day with some sewing related surprises. My last week as been a blur of seeing friends, getting ready for Christmas and some frantic sewing to ensure I actually made handmade presents this year. I really wanted to make something for my immediate family and wondered what on earth I could make my brother? I dwelled on this question for a long time and then Colette released the Cooper pattern. Hooray!
I loved this pattern as soon as I saw it. In addition to the three styles that are included, there seems to be endless opportunities to tweak the pattern and you are limited only by your imagination on the fabric choices and colours. For this bag, I decided to follow the advice of Colette and chose cotton canvas for the outer fabric. I bought dark olive and khaki from Croft Mill. This fabric is absolutely delightful, so much so I actually considered keeping it for me but realised that might be a bit mean! It is very soft (one side feels a little like brushed cotton) but strong and survives ripping out seams well (more on that later) as well as pressing on a high heat.
Given the weather we've been experiencing, I wanted the bag to be waterproof. I struggled to find a waterproof fabric that would match and ended up getting a light green and white check oilcloth. I'll admit it looks a little like a tablecloth but at least it matches! I had trouble stitching the lining as it stuck to my machine but sewing between tracing paper soon got me back on track. I wasn't sure about pressing oilcloth (I didn't research how to work with this stuff) so pressed it lightly under a clean tea towel, which doubles as a pressing cloth. It certainly softened under a little heat and made it easier to work with.
The construction is quite easy, as long as you take notice of the markings on each piece and read which sides need to go together. I must have ripped out the bottom gusset and side seams three or four times as I kept making the same silly mistake. The canvas stood up to this unpicking very well. It was my first time working with magnetic snaps (they go in quite easily) and using jiffy rivets. I was excited about using a hammer in sewing but it turns out our tent mallet is a little too big for the job. I had to use the side of my shears instead.
There is a lot of edge stitching and top stitching involved and I've finally gotten over my fear of both, although my edge stitching still isn't as close to the edge as it should be... The strap was made from the leftover khaki canvas. It is very easy to assemble and stitch in place but I did use the tutorial to double check that I was working with the correct side. The slide and square loop were recycled from another bag.
I am really pleased with how this turned out and even better, my brother loved it!