Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pacman Ghost Bag

A local fabric store unexpectedly has a very small video game fabric section. Even though I don't play video games, I like the style of the old school animation - it's often pixelated so it works well with cross stitch. I was so incredibly charmed by the Space Invader and Pacman fabrics that I bought a half yard of each, breaking my rule of never buying fabric without a project in mind.

 The only thing I could think of doing with them was making a quilted iPhone/computer case. But then I came across a patten for a bag that required only a 1/2 yard of printed fabric (along with other yardage for contrast and lining fabrics) and decided to jump on it. So, I present, my Pacman bag:

The pattern I used was McCall's M6045. This is the first bag I ever made, and it took me about 2.5 days to complete, working pretty hard on it. I've been sick the past week and it's been incredibly frustrating not to be able to climb and function normally - this project kept me sane.

Additionally, it also drove me insane. This bag was a project full of so many surprises. I didn't realize the bag would be so big, I didn't realize I would need three different types of interfacing, I could not believe my sewing machine could sew through that many layers at once without breaking, and I had to do some pretty fancy maneuvers so sew some of those curves. Plus, this is the first time I've ever sewn in a zipper. It was a little ambitious. This is what happens when you don't read the instructions before starting a project!

I learned a lot though:
  • Every time I sew from a pattern and not from scratch, I'm amazed how many ways you can hide seams. In linings, with edging (I made a kind of edging/bias tape for the inside!), sewing other layers on top of messy seams. I don't know why this always surprises me, but it does.
  • I love fusible fleece. It gives a really nice soft dimension to everything.
  • You should never ever use a highly contrastive thread for visible stitches without good reason. And if you do, you need to make sure you can stitch perfectly.
  • It's really important to transfer all the markings on the pattern, no matter how tedious it is. Otherwise, if you wing it, things may not fit together at the end (*ahem ahem handles*) and then you have to go back and alter the pattern.
One thing I can't seem to get a handle on is fusible interfacing. Fusible adhesive = amazing. Fusible interfacing = always looking terrible. It could be that I'm buying the wrong kinds or maybe I'm not applying it right, but it's so gross looking. Case in point (I squished it a little to emphasize the wrinkles):

I'm staying far far away from that until someone can tell me what I'm doing wrong.

Small detail that I really liked: Pacman buttons! At first I thought buttons on the bag would look dorky, but then I gave it a shot and now know how to make buttons. Cute!

Detail that I butchered but still really like: edging. I had no idea how the thick seam on the inside would be finished and didn't really get it until I actually started sewing this on. I did a pretty poor job, but am still amazed it's functional - this was by far the hardest part, except maybe the handles...

Detail that I butchered/couldn't do and had to come up with a way to hide: the handle seam. I have no idea how this can be done in an attractive way. The handles basically are hollow, and hide all the junk/messy seams from the edges of the zipper and "gusset" of the bag. I amazingly got them attached despite getting repeated errors from my sewing machine (maybe from sewing over the zipper? not sure) but it looked so horrendous that I improvised by gluing a makeshift ribbon of ghosts over my catastrophic stitching. Now it just looks confusing. But it's a 1000% improvement.

Maybe I should have stuck to ghost oven mitts?

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