Thursday, 5 January 2017

Genoa Tote - it's LOVE!

I bought the Genoa Tote pattern after seeing LOTS and LOTS of great version popping up on Instagram...and then I sat on it as, you know, it has some scary a zipper and lining and using rivets to secure the leather handle. I was worried I'd not be able to make the bag without f**king it up. Basically I doubted myself and my skills and didn't think I was smart enough or a good enough sewist to pull it off as it was so new to me and out of my skill set even though it's quite a simple pattern.  

I'm pleased to say that I've survived making my first (yes first as there will be MORE) Genoa Tote and totally enjoyed the process! And it's almost perfect too!

I've had this denim in my stash for ages -- bought probably for a skirt that I was never going to make. I then decided I'd use it for a bag and gathered some bits and pieces from ETSY (like leather handles {not used here}) but never got any further as I didn't know what I was doing to design it or construct it was just beyond me even though I had some ideas. The Genoa Tote is pretty much exactly what I was looking for and I love the literally endless ways you can combine fabric and ideas to come up with a truly unique bag.

The other two fabrics are quite special so I was pretty brave (or silly) using them for a new-to-me pattern. The dotty chambray (used for the bag lining) was bought from the Nani Iro Atelier in Osaka. I'm not sure why I bought a woven piece of fabric other than I liked it. The Japanese print on the left was given to me by a stallholder at a food market in Osaka. We did a food tour and had a lovely sit-down tasting as this stall and when we left the stallholder gave me the fabric placements we used. Both of these fabrics have good memories attached to them and I'm glad I've finally been able to use them. I wasn't sure how strong/durable these two fabrics would be so I interfaced both of them with iron-on interfacing.

Construction went well and this mainly due to the great instructions from the pattern designer, Anna. Everything was very clear and on steps I was a bit hazy on the accompanying photos helped to set me straight. I even managed to get my zipper in (after a few goes) and it looks pretty good. I ended up using my regular foot as the zipper foot wasn't working for me and I wasn't really sure what I was doing (or even if the zipper foot in my inherited machine belonged to it). Although the pattern doesn't call for it I also finished all my seams on the overlocker as I was worried all my hard work would unravel from the inside.

The other addition I made to the pattern was to add a large front pocket - sewn down the middle to make two smaller sections to give me quick access to my phone, bus pass, ventolin and lip goop. The rivet in the centre is purely decorative (and installed by Dave as I was too chicken to do it myself). I got this idea from a fellow sewist, Sue, whom I met in Melbourne over the holidays. 

As my denim has a small amount of stretch to it I think the facing may have stretched a bit...but nothing to worry about! I did topstitch around the top of the facing to make sure things didn't flip up (as well as understitching it as the pattern says to).

I love the inside of this bag and that I have a little memory of Japan hidden away in here.

The final part of the bag is to attach the leather handles using rivets. I bought the handles, rivets, key chain and rivet setting tool from Pattern Fantastique's online store (who collaborated on the pattern with Blogless Anna). The handles are made by Anna and sold via Pattern Fantastique. I thought attaching them would be the step that really messes up the bag and I was going to get Dave to do it...but he was out so I bit the bullet and did it and it wasn't difficult at all. The hardest part was getting a big enough hole in the denim to push the rivets through.

I feel like completing the Genoa Tote is a gateway to all sorts of non-clothes related sewing. And, I LIKE it! It's great sewing something and not worrying about fit (or neckbands)!


Size: M
Modifications: Interfaced the lining and pocket; finished all seams on the overlocker; added a double pocket to the front; top stitched the facing to the bag. 
Fabric:  Denim, Nani Iro double guaze, Japanese cotton

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