achievement unlocked: unicorn zipper bag


yeah, just a basic zipper bag made from scraps. the unicorn print is from the cambie dress i made in the spring, the interior is railroad stripe denim left over from the suspender skirt i made, & the zipper itself is a real blast from the past: purchased in 2008 when i sewed up a bunch of zipper pouches for people who subscribed to my zine distro. that was probably my first real sewing project. i didn’t have a rotary cutter or even a real pair of fabric scissors. i didn’t have an acrylic ruler. i think i used a yardstick to measure the first piece of fabric i cut & used that as a template, with extremely mixed results. i still have one bag left from that project. i kept the worst one, the one that was truly the wonkiest, where i sewed half of it without putting down the presser foot (a mistake i would probably still make sometimes if i my current machine permitted it), & i had to use scraps to make one side of the bag the right size, but i didn’t even really know how to sew scraps together. it’s just a frankenstein’s monster of a mess. but it functions as a bag, so i used it for years.

until i made this guy, which i guess is a replacement. i just use it to stash random small things that i don’t want to lose in the depths of my desk somewhere. this one is still not perfect. i decided to box the bottom corners to give it some stability, but i did it wrong TWICE & had to pick it all out & try again before i finally used the technique i was going for properly. & even then, i realized the technique was kind of lame. maybe i should have made a wider box? the fact that i lined it with denim is also problematic. the lining is bulkier than the outer fabric, which i hoped would give the whole thing some body, but it just turned out kind of weird.

i also added an interior pocket, but it kind of fails as a pocket. it starts too low inside the bag to really function the way i envisioned. this seems to happen to all of my bags. i always want to add pockets & i have all these visions of how useful they will be, & then they end up just being annoying flaps of extraneous fabric that do nothing but get in the way.

anyway! i am being forced to write about this bag because i have been sewing very little so far this year.


here’s the bag interior. scope that zipper tab! i think that turned out pretty dope, at the very least.

ramona caught a cold over christmas vacation that just lingered & lingered & lingered for weeks. & i guess i finally caught it too, but in me, it turned into a full-on lung infection. i lost my voice & i’ve been sick now for like half of january. at first i thought it was just the sniffles & then i thought maybe it was that infamous congestion you get sometimes when you’re pregnant, & i was like, yay, we’re totally gonna have another baby by the end of 2015! but…yeah, not pregnant. then i thought maybe it was strep throat. then both jared & one of my mom friends were like, “dude, go to a doctor!” but i don’t really have a fever anymore, & my voice is slowly & creakily returning, so i think i’m just gonna tough it out. doctors in lawrence seem to treat everything with antibiotics. “oh, you have an earache? here’s some amoxicillin!” “you have a sinus infection? antibiotics!” “you were gored by a bull? try this bubblegum-flavored antibiotic syrup!” i’d rather not help contribute to the development of an antibiotic-resistant superbug that destroys us all if i have a choice in the matter.

so instead i have been napping a lot & reading shitty self-published novels about pregnancy complications instead. & not sewing.

i did buy two different glittery knit fabrics as a consolation prize for the knit fabric i tried to buy from last month, which was mysteriously over-sold. turns out both fabrics i chose (& i tried to choose different weights & stretch contents in the hopes of finding something usable) are pretty damn sheer. & the glitter in one of them is GOLD. disgusting. i hate gold. hate it! so i’m not sure how to proceed there. i think i will try using the reverse side of the gold glittery one to downplay the gold-ness, & self-line it. the other is supposedly blue with silver sparkles, but it’s really more gray (which i prefer to blue, so that’s a lucky break). i think i’ll line that one in black jersey, which i bought for a skirt project that is just never gonna happen. i’m still trying to decide if i should give the bronte top another shot or try again with the renfrew. i prefer the construction of the renfrew, but i think it needs more alterations to fit. i wear the two brontes i made last month constantly. i’m wearing one of them right now! but i probably wear them a lot more because of the warm, snuggly fabric (one is french terry, the other is a super-plush thermal waffle knit) than because of the design or fit.

i also got my enormous box of cotton + steel viewfinder print fabric this morning! it went straight down to the washer & is now all prepped & ready to be turned into dresses & skirts & bags & anything else i want! i had hoped to have made at least one shirtdress by the time it arrived so i’d have a fitted pattern all ready to roll, but my stupid lungs had other ideas. hopefully i will find some time to sit down this weekend & do some sewing.

oh, i guess i sewed yesterday. it was a mending day. i finally got around to fixing everything that needed to be fixed–a loose sleeve on my winter coat, a popped seam on ramona’s winter hat, a hole in a pair of pants, etc etc. i took the buttons off this cute hand-knit cardigan i found for ramona at a thrift store & replaced them with snaps.


i kind of understand now why it was at the thrift store. the fit is weird. it’s kind of too short in the torso, but way long on the arms, & the shoulder seam is super-low. the buttons it came with were tiny & slipped out of the buttonholes every time ramona moved. & one weird thing about ramona is that she HATES having her clothes disarrayed. if a button comes undone, she starts crying & doesn’t stop until it’s fixed. she must have both the zipper & the toggles on her toggle coat done up. her hat must be snapped under her chin & not just placed on her head. yesterday she somehow took off her pants during her nap & then woke up & couldn’t go back to sleep because she wasn’t wearing pants.


here she is, crying about her pants. i quote: “i’m sad! crying! took my pants off! ramona is sad because *sob* no pants! *shaky gasp* pants are gone!” the pants were right next to her in the crib, for the record. she just doesn’t know how to put them on by herself.

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.

4 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: unicorn zipper bag

  1. I like your bag! I haven’t sewed anything since Christmas. 😦 I have all of these big plans to finally finish putting my craft room together. So, I’m like “don’t start a project, it will just make a mess.” But there is a lot of work involved in making it all come together, so I end up doing other stuff instead of getting started.

    I did buy a Craftsy course when they did their flash sale. It’s the alterations one. I think I need to carve out some time and just make it happen. I also ordered a bunch of stuff to make a new bag. Hopefully, it gets here soon and I can start on it!

    I hope you’re feeling better soon. Lilian keeps reinfecting us. I think I’ve had a chest cold for about 6 weeks now.

    1. everyone seems to be well on the way to recovery. hopefully we can avoid getting sick for a few months.

      i’m working on putting together my craft corner too. right now the butcher block/cutting table i bought is blocking the back door. i can’t move it into the sewing area until i move out the buffet table, but i can’t move out the buffet table until the sewing cabinet is ready, & i’m still waiting on the insert.

      i’ve been sewing very little so far this year. busy with other things, i guess. i’ve definitely been THINKING a lot about sewing. hopefully i’ll get more done once the sewing space is all set up. what bag are you planning to make?

      1. I am making the metro hipster bag from betz white (I think I big that right). It’s pretty basic, but it looked like it would be a good weekend bag (we still tend to tote around a full diaper bag). The pattern calls for waxed canvas, so I waxed my own using some duck cloth remnants I had. Now I just need the fabric I bought for the lining to show! The snow storm is making packages take extra long to get here.

        I am really lucky to have a sewing area like I do. And, honestly, I can see up there fine now. I just have big plans for it, so I feel like I need to work on them first. And they’re daunting.

        1. is this the bag you posted on FB recently? it turned out great! i have plans to make a few more bags from patterns. i feel like making bags is pretty simple & easier than making clothes (not as many fit issues), but for some reason, all my self-designed bags have weird problems that i probably would have foreseen if i had gone in with more bag-making experience. live & learn!

          it looks to be about the size of my everyday purse, haha. which doubles as a diaper bag. we don’t really take diapers with us anymore if we know we’re just going to be out for an hour or two because ramona is poop-shy & only poops at home. (bet she’ll be stoked i shared that on the internet when she’s like twelve.) but we must always have a plentiful supply of snacks & sippies.

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