My first project from Diana Rupp’s Sew Everything Workshop was the Tokyo Tie Bag. The Tokyo Tie Bag is a simple but very cute pattern. It had the added bonus of looking like it would be something that I could actually make.
And I was pleasantly surprised (OK, astounded) to find that I actually made the bag successfully!
The Tokyo Tie Bag does not have an included printed pattern in the Sew Everything Workshop. The book says to cut out the pattern for the bag on blank pattern paper. Unfortunately I could not find pattern paper, and my local fabric store, JoAnn, does not appear to have any employees so there was no one there for me to ask for help. (I made up a new slogan for them: JoAnn: A Horrible Place to Shop.)
I cut my pattern out of wrapping paper, which lent my project a festive air. I read the instructions thoroughly, and was cautiously optimistic. I was a little skeptical about the whole put-this fabric-piece-into-the-other-and-it-will-magically-turn-into-a-bag thing, but lo and behold it worked!
I did find that unfortunately, the bag is a little… petite.
Sorry, but I think that it is seriously too small for a woman to wear without looking ridiculous! If you are above the age of 6, this bag will be too tiny for you. On the other hand if you have small kids who want to play dress up then this bag will work.
I can appreciate that the small size of the pattern lets the novice sewist avoid spending money on fabric for a project that can potentially be ruined due to naive mistakes. Also, the small amount of fabric is easier to work with on the sewing machine.
I did like the pattern over all, so I decided to try again by making the pattern bigger. I increased all the measurements by 50% or so. I rounded down any weird numbers, since this pattern is simple and does not have any weird pieces that need to match up. Then I drew this pattern on my new blank pattern fabric that I found at a different fabric store in the next town over. This fabric store has employees! I also found pattern tracing material at Nancy’s Notions.
Using this pattern helped me understand a French Seam. As the book notes, this seam seams strong, so I don’t feel like the bag is going to fall apart if I put something in it. I also found this explanation of seam finishes from Sew, Mama, Sew! helpful.
My second bag was a much more comfortable size, hanging easily off my shoulder and not making be feel like a giant. I added an inside pocket, but forgot to do the quarter turn of the inside fabric first, so the pocket is in the side of the bag instead of the front or back. I don’t care, I deem it a success!