This Geeky Blog | The Bag Project #2

Time for part two of the bag project! This stage wasn’t as painful as I though it would be, and I’m pretty stoked with how its all going.

After the last post, the first thing I needed to do was work out what kind of fabric I was going to be doing all my embroidery onto. I quickly discounted linen because I want to embroider all of the bag (make a bag, Nancy, make it manageable, Nancy… or not), so that took me to aida.

What is aida, I hear some of you ask. Aida is cross stitch/tapestry fabric. I don’t think it’s the only one, but it kept popping up again and again, so I’m figuring it’s pretty popular.

I was in John Lewis picking up thread for some other projects when I grabbed a bit of 14 count aida to have a check of the size. On experimenting, I decided that it wasn’t right.

14 count aida. It wasn’t bad, but I could see the white through the stitches, and I wanted something a little tighter.

so off I went to do some research to find out whether I needed to slide up or down the aida count scale. Long story short, the higher the count, the smaller the squares.

I opted for the 16 count, as the 14 wasn’t far off perfect, and ordered a sample. I drew on a flower – probably not the style I’ll end up using – and had a whirl.

One petal…
…all done!

I’ve not settled on colours (but knowing me, it could well end up being ALL the colours), but I really like the way this turned out. It’s sturdy, yet malleable, and the stitching covers the whole area with no fuss. I can’t remember the name of this stitch, but it’s a classic tapestry one – it might be a tent stitch, but don’t quote me on that.

Once I’d settled on the fabric choice, at least for the outside, I had to make a pattern. I’d made it in miniature, but now it was time to scale up, and blocking it out on pattern paper just wasn’t working for me – so I decided to make a copyshop pattern.

First up, this meant plugging in the dimensions for an A0 sheet into iStudio (it’s 841 x 1189 mm or 33.1 x 46.8 in if you’re interested). I then took my measurements and my net, and had a stab at netting everything out:

Yes, that top pattern piece looks mahoosive but it’s not actually that big in person…!

I sent this off to the copyshop for printing, and when it arrived (well, a day or two after, I cut it out and used paperclips to give me an idea of what it might look like together.

This was to help see if I had guestimated all the angles correctly and, if not, to see where I needed to add, or where I needed to take away.

Finally, I ended up with this:

Bag pieces on Aida

The lining pattern I’m leaving to one side for now – that will most likely go through a whole host of changes between now and actually coming to make it, and I’m constructing them entirely separately (and with many a funky pocket inside).

All that remained was cutting out the main bag pieces and painting on the design. I decided this was my best way of mapping out my design. Embroider by numbers here I come!

I’ve no idea what I’m doing…

Look out for the next progress post, and it may be some time; it’s going to be a while till this baby is finished!

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