Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Completed Cutesy Cooper!

I studied for approximately eight hours straight yesterday, and I'll be doing about the same starting in an hour today, so I decided I would treat myself this morning to a bit of a break to bash out the rest of my Cooper bag. Hey, I need something to cart around all my Russian history textbooks, now, don't I? My satchel certainly can't, and it's finals time. This was a practical decision (or so I keep insisting to myself to nullify the mild guilt of devoting a few hours to a sewing project rather than studying).

Ready for the grand reveal?

It's possible this qualifies for green overload but I DON'T CAAAREEE.

This sucker is ADORABLE you guys. I struggled with a few parts, mainly because, well, my body fabric did not press well. And when I say not well, I really mean I literally melted the first flap strap piece I cut, and had a momentary panic of "oh god how brutally will they kill me if I cause a fire alarm during finals week". It creased nicely, however, so I ended up making the straps work by using an unholy quantity of pins to hold them in place, pinching the edges firmly a couple of times, and then leaving the pins in place while I sewed and removing them as I went along. My self-made shoulder strap doesn't like to lie particularly flat as a result, but hey, I take what I can get.

I decided to make my body pocket out of the contrasting fabric as well, rather than the main body fabric like the pattern suggested- when you have a contrast fabric this cute, it's a crime not to use it all. On that note, I have a shoulder guard in the works, but I couldn't complete it as I completely lack any velcro and lack the time and the vehicle to get out to a store to buy any, but it will get done! The fabric is already cut and ready. Oh, returning to the whole body-fabric-does-not-press thing: it also made it so my straps ended up a bit uneven. The right-side body strap is noticeably bigger than the left side, but honestly I'm just not that bothered by it. Considering this was my first time ever making a bag and using most of these materials, I'm just tickled pink it actually worked! Speaking of new materials...

The lining fabric was both a breeze and a bitch to work with, let me tell you. It cut and sewed up beautifully, easy as could be, but that stuff gets stiff. It does not want to get turned inside out without a significant struggle and a few tears. The fighting was worth it, though, as it gives the bag some wonderful shape and I just love how the fabrics go together- the cute green ribbons and purple fabric, uhg, it's too cute. I only sewed down the center of one pocket, as I wanted to leave the other full-sized as then it's the exact right size to accommodate my Nook. Plus, I know if a soda ever explodes in my bag it'll be an easy matter to just wipe down the inside! (I'm not speaking from personal experience, but my freshman year roommate definitely lost her favorite bag that way. Moment of silence for the sparkly zebra print purse.)

I used the Gifts for Crafters hardware set for this, and it was a total breeze. Doesn't hurt that the bronze finish happens to be my favorite, anyway, and that it went so nicely with my fabric choices! I'd never installed snaps or rivets before, but I was surprised by how straightforward it was. I think next time I will use a bit of interfacing to reinforce the snaps, though; I don't think my fabric will tear, but I still hold my breath a little bit every time I unsnap it. The rivets were a bit of a struggle as, confession, I lack an awl and mallet (I MacGyvered a makeshift one using a pair of tiny scissors and a lot of brute force, and then used a wine bottle opener as a mallet because I keep it classy), but it all came together in the end.

The other thing that absolutely amazed me was that my machine had no problems handling this, even when I had to sew through five+ layers of fabric at once. My machine isn't anything particularly fancy- in fact, much like this Cooper, it's on the cuter side of life (it's a mint green Hello Kitty Janome model), yet I have yet to run into anything it can't do. Sometimes the cute ones are more than they seem!

Now, the main motivation for this bag was I needed something big enough to hold all my books. As a history major, I get a lot of reading assigned, with a lot of textbooks to go along with it. How does the Cooper bag stack up under the pressures of a senior history major?

GLORY GLORY HALLELUJAAAHH. Now imagine the bag is saying that. You're welcome, I still haven't stopped giggling.
There are five books, one Nook, and two notebooks in there and the sucker is still ready for more. I could probably fit the majority of my textbooks for the semester in this little beauty, although I am a little concerned as to how well it'll hold up under that strain. I sewed the shoulder straps on about five times each for that very reason, though- I knew what this poor thing was gonna get into. But just, man, this thing is the TARDIS of bags, I genuinely think it's bigger on the inside.

... who let me think that, now I can't get the idea of a TARDIS blue satchel out of my head.

Obligatory modeled view! Ah, the mess of my room increases.
I am mildly concerned that since I went so cute with the fabric it ended up looking a bit like a diaper bag, but that's a very mild concern. I'm planning on adding some button pins to it and I think that'll take care of that concern in an instant (as well as draw attention away from the slightly messed up straps). I do really love the size this ended up being, though, it's exactly what I wanted without overwhelming me.

My Two Bags: A Love Story. Guest starring the unreasonably large Hello Kitty KISS bag I got at DragonCon from the WeLoveFine booth.

Between my satchel as my laptop bag and my Cooper as my "toss everything into it and run" bag, I think I have all my bases covered- and don't they look so nice together? Technically speaking my Cooper has its share of mistakes to its name, but even so the result is exactly what I envisioned, practical as all get out and go, and the mistakes aren't really noticeable unless you're A) familiar with the pattern and B) really looking for them. That's enough to make me inordinately proud of myself.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must put my new creation to work and trudge off to a Russian history study session. At least I'll be cute?

UPDATE: It kept all those books dry through a ten minute walk through a cold Williamsburg downpour, like a little boss. A+ job, bag friend.

P.S. While adding three of these photos into the Colette photostream for the contest, I realized that I made my flicker account years ago and it has the somewhat embarrassing moniker of moonlight-chan. I... I don't really have anything to say for myself on that front.

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