This last week I finished this bag and pouch set for my secret partner in the For the Love of Solids Swap on Flickr. It's currently making its way to to my partner, who will hopefully receive it very soon! I hope she likes it. I worked hard studying her favorites on Flickr to try to come up with something made-by-me that will "look like her!" We shall see. This is my second time participating in this particular swap, hosted and organized by Megan at Canoe Ridge Creations and Elizabeth at Don't Call Me Betsy. In the first round, I sewed for Jessica, creating this and this. My partner, Sheetal, made me this lovely miniquilt, pincushion, and incredible embroidery of my website's mascot!
Megan and Elizabeth do a wonderful job running this great swap, and each time I have been amazed by the level of talent of the swap participants. It has been a great source of inspiration for future projects as well as stretched my skills as a designer and sewist. For this round, I began by pulling some fabrics: reds, orange-reds, browns, purples, and a little bit of earthy yellow.
While I loved this combination, I wanted to scale back a bit on the number of different colors. I also decided to use more of the true reds and leave out the orange-reds and dusty pinks to create a little more contrast overall.
Now it was time to think about a design. Usually in this phase of the design process I like to arrange and rearrange colors next to each other in various combinations before I start cutting. First off I started thinking about some curves:
I found myself going back and forth between a plan to patchwork and the desire to improvise. I liked the way the colors related to each other in a patchwork-square layout, sort of like this:
That was nice, but...I decided to go ahead with some improv. I cut angled strips, intending for them to create some gentle curves. I soon realized my strips were too narrow to create the design effect I had in mind. So back to the patchwork grid. And I came up with this:
I really wasn't sure if I liked it or hated it. I trusted the positive encouragement from my fellow swap mates and kept going. Somehow I kept gravitating back to my original idea of patchwork squares. Eventually, I sort of combined my two ideas, the patchwork and the improv piecing, to finally arrive at this:
What was really funny was that Dorie commented "looks like you made a fabric as much as a quilt." And this was in fact my plan! I used the patchwork "fabric" to create the front panel of the Go Anywhere Bag by Noodlehead. The main body of the bag is Essex linen in Putty.
I lined it with Kona Stone. The back pocket is a solid red, and there is an interior pocket in a plummy purple. (I forgot to snap a photo of the inside before I sent it off!)
The box pouch design is a tutorial from The Plaid Scottie. One side is made up of the remainder of the patchwork used on the Go Anywhere Bag, and the other half is the same purple as the bag's interior pocket.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with how these turned out. This was my second attempt at the Go Anywhere Bag, and I was very proud that I got it turned right side out on the first try the time! (The first time I got a little excited and got ahead of myself, sewing the straps inside and resulting in seam ripping it open