Guest Post: Peggy Noto

Today we are happy to share this space with one of our loyal—and inspiring—customers, Peggy Noto. Peggy has really been killing it with all the bags she’s been making over the last year, including this cutie! Read on to learn more about her latest creations which feature two new products in the store.

Leaving on a Jet Plane: The Aeroplane Bag

As an obsessive bag maker, I am always on the lookout for new bag patterns and new stabilizers, not to mention interesting bag fabrics. My latest creation is the Aeroplane Bag by Sew Sweetness, made out of a Japanese linen/cotton fabric I fell in love with at Bolt and a great stabilizer called “By Annie’s Soft and Stable.”   Bolt carries everything you need for this bag, including the pattern, Soft and Stable and a beautiful selection of bag fabrics.  

The Pattern: This is a good pattern for anyone with intermediate sewing skills (or for an advanced beginner who has a couple of bags under her belt). It is basically a huge zipper pouch with handles. The pattern is well written, with detailed instructions, pictures and tips. It comes in two sizes. I made the regular size, and it is perfect for a week-end getaway. Unlike many carryon type bag patterns, this pattern does not have any hand-sewing, which really speeds up the process and saves your fingers. It is a surprisingly simple pattern (only three outside pattern pieces including the handles) for a rather impressive looking bag. I added an outside pocket (not part of the pattern) to make the bag more useful, but I like the look of the bag better without the pocket, so I only put the pocket on one side.

Soft and Stable: I often like my bags to stand up and keep their shape on their own. The top of the bag uses the Soft and Stable, which I would describe as a foam batting. It is flexible and easy to sew but holds the shape of the bag quite nicely—just baste it to the inside of the fabric piece. The bottom of the bag is interfaced with Pellon 70, a stiff nonfusible interfacing, and Pellon SF 101, a very useful light weight interfacing that is used to adhere the Pellon 70 to the fabric (both interfacings are available at Bolt). Next time you are at Bolt, look at the Soft and Stable in person to really get a feel for how wonderful it is.

The Fabric: I splurged a bit on the Japanese linen/cotton on the top of the bag (but I am glad I did and it took just over half a yard) and kept the cost of the bag reasonable by using a canvas weight Osnaberg for the bottom and handles. Bolt has lots of choices for fabric for this bag, including home dec weight cotton, canvas, denim and linen blends. Quilting cotton weight would also work on the top, with something heavier such as canvas on the bottom. I lined the bag with Essex linen in flax and used a print from my stash for the pocket lining and to cover a stiff foam board in the bottom of the bag. The zippered pocket was easy to put in due to the detailed instructions in the pattern.

Tips:
*  Use a new denim or jeans needle.
*  I used a nice hefty sports zipper with large plastic teeth. I was a bit puzzled by the zipper construction (the ends of the zipper sort of disappear in the side seam) but I checked with the pattern author and she confirmed that I was on the right track. Just do what the pattern says and don’t overthink it.  
*  Add some extra stitching (reinforcing) when sewing the handles to the bag—these are pressure points when the bag is full.
*  Consider investing in some Clover Wonder Clips (also available at Bolt) to use instead of pins to hold all the fabric/interfacing layers together.  

Here is another version of the Aeroplane Bag, made out of Violet Craft’s Waterfront Park fabric that is currently all the rage in Portland, black Essex linen and an assortment of gray and yellow prints, virtually all from Bolt.  I used cotton batting and duck cloth in the quilt as you go patchwork technique instead of Soft and Stable—it makes for a softer bag.  

Happy Bag Sewing!