The Activity Go Case by Love ME Patterns was a pattern I got in a Sew Box. It looked a good pattern so I put it on my to sew list for 2017.
How to put this elegantly… some patterns you succeed at others you don’t. Now I firstly must stress this has nothing to do with the pattern. The pattern is well written and Mel has made a great video explaining how to do the binding on it as well. It was the execution (ie me) that didn’t work.
The case has vinyl pockets on the inside. In the past I have worked with vinyl when making the luggage tag but that was onto fabric, sewing it on to zippers is completely different. Me and vinyl are not friends. It kept sticking even when I put tissue paper under it, I couldn’t get my stitches to look nice. With clear vinyl you can’t hide wonky or ugly seams. It wasn’t a matter of throwing a tantrum but I decided to scrap the vinyl pockets, I wasn’t happy and I didn’t want to waste my time getting stressed out because I couldn’t get it to look right (sewing is meant to be fun) I came up with an alternate plan.
Instead I decided to a fabric centre pocket and a netting side pocket in place of the vinyl pockets. I used netting from my stash, the binding pieces are pieces from the original pattern pieces I had cut out. I attached the binding pieces to the netting then attached the piece to the lining fabric.
For my centre pocket I used the original centre pocket zipper but shortened it. I used leftover fabric to create the lined pocket (it is basically a zipper pouch) I used one of the original binding pieces to cover the centre join and attached my zipper pocket over that doing a couple of rows of stitching at the bottom of the pocket to hold it in place.
Then we came to the external zipper…. I used a sleeping bag zipper and shortened it. I couldn’t buy one long enough at my local stores and couldn’t afford near $20 to order one online. The zipper has 2 zipper pulls on the zipper head (one on each side) I almost cut the bottom one off but decided to leave it. When it came to attaching the zipper I accidentally put it on the wrong way. When you’re looking at the zipper open and it has zipper heads on both sides it is easy to confuse which way is the right side of the zipper tape, particularly when it is nearly 1m (90cm) long. Next time I will mark the right side of the tape with a pen. When I realised it was wrong I noticed I had stitched it pretty well and cut my binding to fit neatly so I left it. With the dual sided zipper I got away with it (really glad I didn’t decide to cut off the zipper pull)
My next disaster was securing the binding. I hand finish my bindings normally but you couldn’t on this, you had to stitch it from the top side in the ditch. I have never stitched an actual item in the ditch before so this was a first for me. Some areas I did really well… then there was the section that I caught centre pocket . I unpicked the entire lot and started again. I was careful the second time to pin my pocket out of the way
Also on my first attempt I didn’t leave an even amount of binding around the entire edge so on some areas I didn’t cover the internal raw edges. On my second attempt I kept an even amount of binding but I accidentally caught the zipper tape in one of the corners so I unpicked that section only and re did it. I did hand finish off a small section where my binding ends joined.
You learn something new from every pattern and I did learn from this. Labels are awesome (blog post coming) I learnt a new way to do zipper tabs and finish off binding, I’ll be using this technique again.
Despite all the little set backs I had I actually really like this. I quilted the front which was optional. Grid stitching is simple but effective. I love the way the handles turned out using the technique the pattern describes.
I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with alternatives to the vinyl pockets. It made me stop and think about the sewing construction, made me think of what my sewing strengths were and how I could use them in this situation. I’m proud that I have the sewing skills now to be able to do that.