weekender bag: part two: the parka zippening

weekender bag update: apparently i’m just live-blogging the bag-making at this point?

so, i decided i liked the way the piping-side-out pocket looked too much to hide it. i sewed the pocket to the bag exterior that way & made the other pocket with the piping attached to the pocket piece that has peltex.

i also sewed on my straps. amy butler’s strap-attaching method is insane. this bag is literally big enough for ramona to ride around in it, & she wants me to just sew three little lines of stitching across the strap? no. i plan to carry my embarrassingly expensive computer in this bag. i am not taking any chances with a strap snapping. i edgestitched the straps down both sides & sewed a box with an X at the top of each one.

i also lengthened my straps slightly in the hopes that they’ll fit over my shoulder. after a bit of tinkering, i went with 52 inches instead of 48. so far, it’s the perfect length. it remains to be seen if i miscalculated once the width of the top/side panels is added.

but just in case, i am also adding an adjustable shoulder strap. this is actually going to stall construction because the loops for the shoulder strap are going to be hidden inside the side pockets. that means i can’t actually sew the side pockets on, & hence sew the exterior panels to the top/bottom until the strap is done. & the slider i bought is just a hair too small for the strap i made, so i had to special order a bigger one. & this week is thanksgiving so who knows when it will arrive?

so i’m kind of at a weird stopping point with the project until i can make my strap. i can start constructing the bottom (three layers of peltex? is that really necessary? i also don’t get why i was instructed to cut fusible interfacing for this part but i’m sewing it on? huh?) but that’s all i have left for now.

i also sewed on my top zipper. i meant to get a double-zip purse zipper, but accidentally bought a parka zipper, which is like the exact opposite. instead of the zips meeting in the middle so i can open the bag just a little bit, it unzips from both sides. this means that i will basically have to unzip the bag completely every time i open it. i am NOT stoked about this. the zipper is super-long, & it curves around the perimeter of the bag. seems like opening it up completely means a heavily-loaded bag could just spill its contents everywhere pretty easily. & of course i didn’t realize my mistake until everything was all topstitched & whatnot.

i really need to get better at handling these small sewing disappointments. it’s just so frustrating that i’ve never had what i consider to be a “perfect make”. & it’s frustrating that i’m frustrated by that, given that i’ve been sewing for like a year & a half. my shit really isn’t turning out bad at all (mostly–i do still have to blog the failed black & red striped dress at some point) for someone so new to the game. the weekender is such an insane time commitment, i really wanted it to be “perfect”. but…i’m already daydreaming about making another once the new cotton + steel line is released (i NEEEEEED those viewfinder prints), so maybe that one will be perfect. & i really need more than one ginormous structured bag, right? i’m ridiculous. i do carry a purse literally every single i leave the house though, so…

it’s funny, i was working on the bag this afternoon. jared was hanging with ramona & i was in the process of clipping two section together to baste them. & i just stopped & said, “i don’t want to sew anymore today.” that has NEVER happened before. i have never once willingly walked away from my sewing machine in the middle of a project.

i don’t think it’s the bag. i’ve been up since like 4am & i’m just tired. all the sewing was kicking up a little bit of fabric dust, which really irritates my eyes when i sew for too long. & yeah, i was feeling frustrated by my small mistakes & not having all the materials i need on hand. i really don’t like to have to put on the brakes in the middle of a project.

today is the two-year anniversary of me being taken to kansas city in an ambulance & put on bed rest for pre-eclampsia. thrilling, huh? i was thinking about it today, & once i was at the hospital, i didn’t spend another full day NOT at the hospital for an entire month. ramona was released from the NICU on christmas eve, so christmas day was our first day at home as a family. i can’t believe i spent my first month of motherhood driving back & forth to kansas city everyday to visit my baby in her weird scary incubator. even though it’s been almost two years (she’ll be two on sunday), i still have so much bitterness about it & am so resentful of people who got to take their full-term babies home right away. i’m not proud of that, because obviously ramona is doing great now, & having a good birth experience is no guarantee that everything is going to be great from that point on. but…it is what it is. i generally try not to think about it, but it’s tough with her birthday right around the corner.

she was a total delight today, incidentally. every time she laughed, she informed me that she was “giggling”. there is nothing cuter than a giggly toddler saying, “giggle.” she is SO communicative, her language is exploding. like, she wanted to put my gloves on, & she said, “i need help with gloves.” !!! we played a very extended game of “hello hello” (singing a hello song to various people/things) while i was putting laundry away, & she wanted to say hello to the cat (she pronounces “lula” as “wawa”), the hedgehog nightlight, my coffee, her diapers, her blanket, the window, the owls on the curtain, the armchair we sit in before bed, the big rock in the backyard, etc. she has memorized literally dozens of her books. we just open them & turn the pages & she recites the words. she especially loves anything by mo willems. it really makes it so much easier & more FUN to take care of her when we can actually converse with each other. i can ask her to do things or make suggestions for things she’s struggling with, & she says, “okay,” & gives it a try. she requests songs & after i sing them, she claps & says, “good job!” i just love this kid. she is so great.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “weekender bag: part two: the parka zippening

  1. I think I’d be bitter if we spent LJ’s first month in the NICU too. I don’t know if that is helpful, or just makes you feel worse. :p To be honest, that first month is kindof a blur to me, but there is definitely that very strong desire to take your baby and retreat to your cave with them. I can completely understand how frustrating it would be to a) be worried about your preemie and b) have to deal with all the NICU crap.

    I’ve been sewing for like 10 years and I don’t know that I’ve ever had a perfect sew. :p

    1. i feel less bitter about the NICU stuff now that ramona’s birthday is over. the less i think about it, the happier i am. ramona’s first month is a blur to me too, but that might be because i was recovering from major surgery & pre-eclampsia on top of just the usual “just gave birth” stuff, & so much of it was spent sitting in a really dark hospital room. (they keep the NICU rooms really dim for the babies. i would go outside after sitting in ramona’s room for five hours & feel like my eyeballs were bursting into flames.) & it just feels so wrong to leave the hospital & leave your baby there. ugh. hopefully we can avoid all that if we ever have another kid.

      i think the pajama pants i made today were pretty close to perfect. i put a really deep cuff on ramona’s so i could let it out as she grows taller, & so the hem isn’t perfect. & just a tiny bit of selvage was sewn into one of the seams on mine. i think jared’s are pretty flawless though. then again, they’re pajama pants. not exactly a challenging sew (aside from fitting other people).

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