Wednesday Craft: A bevy of new bags

Rose KK bag

New bag design: the KK (after Kuukua!)

Whew, we’re having another heat wave here (well, “heat wave” meaning mid-80s), and I’ve done so much sewing today that I feel as if my eyes are crossing! My inventory for the FabMo show grows slowly. I don’t know how other crafters always seem to manage to have so many items; last year some artisans’ tables were completely covered! But I’m not stressing. Things are what they are, and some of those ladies have been sewing for decades. A book I’ve been reading assures me that “inappropriate comparisons” (like measuring myself against someone who teaches sewing, or has a textile degree!) are a surefire way to lose confidence. I’m remembering that advice, because I know I do this all the time, and it’s not helpful!

On a more positive note, I am quite happy with my new bag design. Last week Kuukua showed me some fabrics she’d brought back from Ghana, and asked if I could use them to make a bag in the same style as one she already owns. Her bag has leather details and heavy metal hardware, so I just used its general dimensions to make a similar-sized bag with a wholly different character. It’s like the cool grown-up cousin of the simple floppy totes I made for last year’s FabMo fair!

Aegean KK bag

I adore this lining fabric!

I’ve made four of these bags so far, and as always when I’m working with multiple fabrics, the “matchmaking” between them is one of my favorite parts of the process. This time, I got to pull out several wonderful fabrics I’ve been saving for months, including the mosaic-like royal goose at left. It seems that when it comes to projects like this, complications ensue with each fabric I add to the mix, and the more pieces the pattern requires, the more time the whole thing takes. In the case of the KK bags, each bag used between two and five fabrics, and many different pieces: three each for the interior and exterior, two for the strap, four for the top hem, two or more pockets, and the button and its little loop. Come to think of it, that’s even more pieces than go into my yoga mat totes!

Blue/green/white mat tote

Blue/green/white yoga mat tote

Much as I’m enjoying creating all these new bags, I have to keep reminding myself not to get too caught up in this show. As I noted on Tuesday, it’s only too easy for me to start micro-planning an event like this. When I get to the point where I’m lying awake at night, thinking about how to do the table signage, that’s when I’ve got to take it down a notch! That kind of obsessive attention to detail would be vital if I were trying to make a living from my shop, but since I’m not, I really can’t afford the time or energy that goes into that kind of thinking. My focus needs to go elsewhere.

Frankly, aside from the occasional 2 AM mild freakout, I haven’t given much thought to my display yet. In large part this is because I just don’t want to get sucked into obsessing about it. I’ll have a table, chairs, and tablecloths, my receipt books and cash apron, and I’ve got quite a stash of props to choose from — that’s enough for now. I know that sometime next week I’ll have to prepare price tags, description cards, a mockup of the display, and yes, table signage, but as Amelia Peabody says and I’ve taken to quoting, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof!” In other words, that stuff can wait!

Happily, my efforts to keep perspective are working, though I confess to a little low-grade anxiety here and there. For previous shows I’ve fretted up until the week-of, but this time I’m just pleasantly excited and looking forward to the event. I can’t wait to see what everyone else has made (and do some SHOPPING!), I can’t wait to greet friends and newsletter subscribers, and I can’t wait to show off everything I’ve made and — with luck — get some of it into other people’s hands and homes! Another week and a half!