This week I tackled a new-to-me challenge. The dangerous world of zips. I’m starting early on Christmas presents – I’ve got some ordered already and my organised spreadsheet of ideas and how much I’ve spent is coming along splendidly. This year I wanted to try and make some presents for people – the new niece and nephew will be receiving homemade stockings, you’ll be able to read about those closer to Christmas – and the idea of a homemade zippered pouch / water-resistant toiletries bag full of cute bath and shower goodies seemed like a nice touch.
For the pouch I used this tutorial from Anna at Noodlehead. I changed it up a bit – to disastrous effect, as you will see – by attempting to incorporate a method of boxing the bottom corners by Joan at Lazy Girl Designs which seemed simpler to me than the one featured in the first tutorial.
This was the first time I’d used the zipper foot that came with my sewing machine so I was pretty excited. I think I did well with it, although I am wondering whether moving the zip whilst sewing makes it easier? My stitches near to the actual zip were quite wonky from fitting around the lump it caused.
All went well. No-one was more surprised than me when it all turned out spiffingly. Then I tried to box the bottom.
In trying to incorporate the second tutorial into the first I made a silly, stupid error in numbers. The first set of instructions told me to sew along the corner 4 1/2″ down from the tip. So like an idiot I cut out 4 1/2″ squares from each of my corners to sew together.
This was way too big. I’d accidentally almost doubled the amount of fabric I was meant to have removed from the corners.
The end result was…well. A triangle.
Um. Yes. I find it funny that the problem was absolutely nothing to do with the zip that I was nervous about working with, and all to do with my rubbish maths.
To be honest if I hadn’t been planning to gift this as a present I would have slunk off dejected, disappointed and chastising myself and gone back to well known makes. But I really wanted to give a gift like this, so after a pep-talk from The Boy and a few deep breaths, I adjusted the amount to cut off down to 2″ squares, and tried again.
This one was so much better! It ended up the right shape, for one thing. Plus without most of the lower half being turned into the bottom, the contrasting fabrics look much better!
Notes for Next Time (Or Newbies!)
- I haven’t mentioned it yet, but for the lining I’ve used some PVC fabric from Dunelm Mill. I wanted something that could be used for a travel toiletries bag if desired. I really wasn’t sure about sewing with the PVC coated fabric but it was unusually easy, a little slow and heavy-going but simple and no issues. This turned out well but is anyone aware of any way that I’m meant to be sewing it?
- Also fabric related, I’m still full of love for the cute fabric here, that I bought for my draught excluder. I had loads left so just had to reuse it for this! The denim-look fabric is awesome too, and not as thick as proper denim so I didn’t have to go out and buy a needle especially for it, which is good as I don’t think I’m ready to sew real thick proper denim yet!
- The actual sewing-of-the-zip went okay. My lines down the zip were wibbly and all over the place but I was quite proud of them! I like the little tip with the tab on the end, rather than trying to sew it into the pouch, it means the whole thing opens wider and it adds that little coordinating touch. The zip end sewed into the pouch is a little uneven, if I made it again I’d look into another way to make that look a bit better rather than folding it back and getting it in the way.
- I’m really glad that I tried again. That’s one of the biggest things I took away from this make. If I hadn’t wanted to make one to give away, I would have given up but I’m glad that I had that motivation to try again. Although it was admittedly a bit tedious to repeat the same thing I’d just done I was so happy when I finished it and it had turned out nicely. It was good to be able to physically see the difference and progress I’d made even in the space of an afternoon and it will encourage me keep trying again if I screw up something, even if it’s just for me. So my message is, if you screw up, take a deep breath, have a cup of tea, work out where it went wrong and just try again.
Have you ever had to completely redo a project?