The 221B bag

So I’ve been on a bit of a blog holiday. I didn’t really mean to be – I’ve got four draft posts of things to show – but I’ve been drowning in things to do lately and haven’t been managing my time very well, so blogging was the bit that went by the wayside. (Even that Sunday Stash post the other day? That was written ages ago and then scheduled. It wouldn’t have been posted at all if not for that.)

This is probably the least important thing I’ve got to talk about right now, which means it is the easiest to talk about and therefore the one that will get talked about. Today (Yesterday, at this point – I fell asleep before I finished writing this entry!) I went to Calgary Comic-Con. I’ve never been to any kind of comic-con before, I’m not really into costuming or comics particularly and I think paying for photos/autographs is kind of lame (sorry if you’re into it, but I’ve never put too much stock in celebrity, which means I find it kind of appalling to think of paying for an experience that several hundred other people are also paying for – what’s the experience really?) and while I enjoy some fannish pursuits, they’re largely of the Easy Entry variety. Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Sherlock… there were so many more cosplayers for things I didn’t recognize even remotely, but who were probably among their people, so to speak.


Anyway, there’s me in a terrible Instagram photo, dressed sort of… costume adjacent, if not in a costume exactly. In theory, you could say that I dressed up as 221b Baker Street from Sherlock, but since I don’t really do costumes I wanted the sort of costume that could be not a costume without much effort – take off the earrings and hide the bit on the scarf and it’s not a costume at all!

Comic-con was interesting, but I was super tired, so I’m sure that affected my response to it. I spent most of Thursday sewing my 221b bag, then slept for about three hours, got up and worked a night shift, came home by 8:15 AM, got ready, and left for the convention at 9 AM. So tired! I’m surprised I was still walking by the time we left because by that point I’d been on my feet for most of 15 hours. I’m surprised I didn’t crash into anything while I was walking because my eyes were trying to close too by the end.

Anyway, the bag. Even though I bought my ticket in January, naturally I didn’t actually do much by way of costume creation until the dead last minute. On Tuesday this week I washed and pressed my fabrics, then on Wednesday I cut out and started adding interfacing/fusible fleece to my pieces, but I only got so far:

Birdie Sling bag

At this point, there were still 4 pieces without interfacing and I hadn’t actually started any of the sewing. Patterns for things other than quilt tops always give me a bit of a fright – they often don’t make all kinds of sense to me and Amy Butler patterns in particular really set my brain into knots, but I got from there (the photo above) to here (the photo below) on Thursday:

221b Birdie Sling bag

Okay, Amy Butler patterns scare me, but this one – the Birdie Sling – wasn’t scary at all. It was easy, even for someone like me who can find a way to mess up any sort of non-quilt sewing pattern that gets put in front of me. It all came together perfectly and I couldn’t be happier with the finished bag. (Actually, yes I could be happier. The print on the fabric faded when I washed it so that my black straps/band around the top became way more intense than the black in the print. If I’d had a charcoal twill, it would have worked out perfectly, but I did not.) I suspect I’ll even make this pattern again, if I find a fabric I want to use for it. It’s easy to make, it looks fantastic finished, and it holds a TON of stuff.

The reason I call this the 221B bag is because that fabric on the base is the same print as the wallpaper in the lounge in 221b in BBC’s Sherlock. I bought it from Spoonflower in a cotton-linen blend, which was nice to sew with (and large enough that I could probably cut a second bag out of the leftovers), though the print seemed to fade unevenly in the wash. The proper wallpaper from the show, if you’re a fan, has blue stripes that fade into cream, but I thought it would be a bit more versatile without the blue (you can buy it with the blue stripe though). I had planned to stitch a yellow smiley face into the black band, but to be honest I couldn’t bring myself to ruin it that way — it looks good enough to use every day without it and if it had the smiley face, I wouldn’t. I think what I need is to get a badge/pin with the yellow smiley that I could just pin on if I were going somewhere like Comic-con again.

Birdie Sling Bag Interior

Please forgive these terrible photos – it was getting dark when I took them (yesterday) and then it snowed all day today and was kind of dreary out. (Yes. It’s almost May and we had a day long snow. It’s all been melting as it hits the pavement, but I bet there’ll be a dusting of it at least when I go to work in the morning.)

On the interior, I used an Amy Butler print, largely because it was one of a few fabrics I had enough of, but also because I just really love that print and it gives me a way to use it. The print is Sketchbook Roses from her Alchemy line. It’s not terribly visible, but on the left I added a kind of lobster claw clasp – this is an enormous bag and I don’t want my keys getting lost in there!

221b Scarf

As for the rest of the “costume”, I also wore my 221B scarf, which I bought from Geekiana on Etsy and a pair of earrings I made out of the Sherlock and John charms I bought from Red Bow Tie (also on Etsy, but currently on vacation). I put the IOU apple onto a bracelet chain, but I didn’t have any other charms to go with it (I’d have put on a Union Jack and… I don’t know, other things that apply) so I didn’t wear it.

Sherlock and Watson charms

I’m pretty sure Sherlock isn’t nerdy enough for Comic-con, but it was still a fun way to get at least a little bit into the spirit of things, since I’m not quite ready to go full on Batgirl or Lego Fig or Disney princess like so many people did.

Two Voile Scarves

Two Voile Scarves by clumsy chord

Two Voile Scarves, a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

Well, this should be my last post for the year! I had hoped to get a Year in Review type post done as well, but I guess I’ll save that for 2012… Something else I’m saving for 2012? Twelve for Twenty-Twelve. But more on that another day.

This are my last finished items for the year, though they were finished quite a while ago. I can’t really remember when! I’d have to go back and watch my old TTMT videos to find when I talked about them, because I didn’t take any photos when I made them and they just sat in a heap on the futon in my sewing room for a couple months (or more?). I’d planned originally to give these away for Christmas gifts, one to my Grandma and one to my younger sister, but I changed my mind and gave them away in the last Sew Mama Sew give-away day.

Here’s how I came to make them: I’d found a pattern/tutorial somewhere online for making voile scarves, in which you used 9-inch by width of fabric pieces of two prints, sewed them right sides together (leaving a gap to turn it right-side out), and then top stitched to finish off. Possibly the simplest scarf pattern ever!

I went looking for pretty voiles and decided on these two pretty Anna Maria Horner prints. The one on the left is the Forest Hills print in Sea from the Little Folks line, and on the right is Pastry Lines… in what I think is Sea. I’d hoped they’d match, and they did, but I didn’t like how the prints showed through when I used them together, so I wound up making one scarf from each print, rather than two scarves from a combination of the prints.

In any case, they’re about 52 inches long and 8 inches across, which means they’re actually a little too short to use as scarves – the drape is too stiff (even with buttery soft voile) for the ends to hang neatly. I guess I should have weighted the ends somehow – some kind of dangly fringe? – or tapered the ends so that they’d hang more neatly. In any case, my general dislike of the draping issue kept me from giving them away to family, but I needed to do something with them, so I gave them away to strangers instead! If they like, they could trim off the seams and use the resulting pieces of fabric in other projects or they could open the ends and add some sort of weight or add an extension to either end with a coordinating print or… I’m sure there are lots of things they could do! (Or, as some of the entrants to the give-away claimed, they might be just the right length for someone short.)

In any case, when I was writing up the entry for the give-away, I suddenly realized that I had exactly no photos of these scarves. And it was late and it was dark, so I tied them around the bar at the end of the futon, tucked a piece of un-ironed bright orange fabric behind them, took two very poor shots, and called it good. This was the best of the very small, very poor lot of photos. I wish I had something nicer so they’d look prettier in my “back catalogue” of finished items, but I guess you can’t have everything, right?