Sewing: Omiyagi

Today I finished another Omiyagi bag. This is the second of these bags that I’ve ever made, and it still needs drawstrings and some trimming of loose threads.IMG_7347

But it turned out pretty nicely for a second try. This is all fabric left over from making a Sea Creatures quilt, too.  It’s nice to feel like I’m using up all the fabric from an earlier project, and setting out to generate minimal waste.

My process involves cutting fabric into 6″ tall strips, and then slicing those strips into 1″ wide strips.  I need 12 of these strips in three colors to make one bag — or, at least, thirty-six strips.  Those are first pieced into triads, then into one long strip.  The ends are flip-flopped IMG_7348in a way that produces the sense of flanges or bows.  I imagine that the sleeves of a Landskneckt costume are produced in a similar way.

This bag, due to the use of 100% cotton flannel in the outer panels, is pretty well padded. A similar plain non-flannel cotton bag would not be so well-padded.  It’s just about the right size for a medium-sized pellucid crystal, or for a small collection of tools, or something small but beautiful.  It’s hard to imagine what it might wind up containing.

The fabric is dark blue and a whale-print flannel on the outside.  I used a Cotton & Steel 100% cotton quilting print for the interior and for the drawstring casing along the top.  I still haven’t done a good job of matching the top seams well, so they don’t show.  As I’ve said elsewhere, this is a tricky and fiddly project to get right, and a lot of things can go wrong at the last minute.  IT may be the case that I have to resort to hand-sewing where I can be a bit more precise in the last stages of the work.IMG_7349

Overall, though, these fabrics feel a little too cutesy together.  Normally, as well, the exterior of this bag is made with three separate fabrics instead of just two.

Still, for a second attempt I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, though I’m not any faster at making them.  You can buy these styles of bags for under $20 in many Chinatowns in many American cities… I don’t think I could charge under $60 for one even if I made it poorly — it takes me a LOT of time to do it well, and I haven’t found the shortcuts that make it speedier yet — probably stacking fabric and making bulk cuts at the beginning has something to do with it, though.  Let’s see if I can make this bag again sometime soon, and find some of those shortcuts.

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