Crafty Blogs

Friday, 6 March 2009

Beginning with baggins.

This is the first craft commission I've taken in a while, and it came from a course-mate of mine. She'd heard about my previous work making sushi bags (something I'll talk about in another post) and wanted to know if I could make a bag for her that she'd already designed. She'd been inspired by the mini cube pandas available at shanalogic, but wanted something a bit different. I've never been sent design sketches from a commissionee before, but I might now consider asking for them in future. It was so fantastic to be shown exactly what she wanted and to have something to refer to without the need for constant correspondence.

At first she send me this annotated design:

When I had a few questions about the size of the bag she also sent me another sketch:

I'm so glad she sent me this picture, not only because it features an awesome eyepatch and an incidental duck, but also because I'd been picturing a larger messenger bag when she had said she'd wanted it to have a long strap.

To cut down costs I decided to base the panda body on a basic bag, but finding a small rounded-square bag took longer than I'd thought. Only when I realised that a lot of washbags are square did I have any luck. I chose I set of three clear-plastic washbags from Boots that were only £7 in total and after a bit of consideration I chose the smallest of the three to transform. I covered the bag in white fleece, embroidering on a mouth and sewing on round buttons for eyes. Before finishing this stage I also put in a layer of stuffing, front and back, so that baggins has a rounded shape. The arms and legs were made from black fleece and stuffing, stitched simply onto the body. The triangular ears were made in the same way, but as requested I appliqued on a little flowery fabric for a girly touch.

The washbag didn't come with a handle of any kind, so I bought 2 metres of strap from a local craft shop and created an across-the-body strap for baggins sewing through fleece and plastic alike to make sure it was secure. That might have been the end of the project, but because I'd chosen a clear plastic base it was obvious that baggins needed some kind of lining, otherwise opening the bag revealed all the stuffing and stitching! More flowing fabric to the rescue, this time the off-cuts of a flowery fabric that I bought to make a dress from last year.

Now baggins is finished, and here in his finished form:

As you can see the finished thing unzips all the was around, unlike the original design, but otherwise I was as faithful as I could be to the sketches I was given. Because I already had many of the materials needed he was also quite cheap and easy to make. I still have the two slightly larger washbags to hand for future projects. If I can find a way to incorporate this shape of bag into any future projects then I certainly will, and I'll put them up for sale on etsy if possible.
Be lucky everyone
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