The Groovy Bag

This may look like an ordinary bag, but it’s not.  This bag may look like something I made  an evening – maybe as a last-minute gift for someone, but it’s not.  This bag.  THIS BAG represents hours…HOURS of creative energy.


You see, it all started a couple of months ago when I first met Tim.  Well, it’s name is actually Timtex.  I’ve used Peltex craft stabilizer for a long time.  Even when a pattern specifically called for Tim, I substituted with Pel.  Pel was accessible.  Pel was cheap.  Pel seemed to work just fine.  But then I met Tim,  and everything changed.  Tim is pricey.  Tim is sturdy.  Tim made me think I could think up a new design for a purse.  And so it went.  This weekend I decided to give my purse idea a try.  It’s simple, really:  Tim could just wrap himself in a U shape and provide the body of a bag with a curved bottom.  How hard can it be?  Well, as it turns out, for me, it can be very hard.

Models A & B went straight into the trash.  Here’s Model C:


At this point, I was still using cheapo fabric and Pel for the liner.  But even though Model C didn’t work out, I thought I could certainly get it all worked out in Model D.  I was so confident, in fact, that I used some nice fabric.


What got me hung up with Model D was the curved bottom.  I couldn’t maneuver around the curve on the machine which led to some hand stitching which never goes well with me.

Fine.  I’ll get rid of the curve…and Model E ended up being about 2 1/2 inches tall: 


Back at the drawing board, I drew a new pattern piece and started over – with good fabric and Tim.  Model F is the Groovy bag above.  It’s not exactly how I like it.  And I know I couldn’t make it in exactly the same way because it was still really difficult.  Like the degree of purse contortionism that was involved:


And this was not part of the turning process – This is how the bag looked under the presser foot!  And btw, I just googled “purse contortionism” and it looks like I’m the first on the web to ever use that phrase!  I feel soooo famous.


So all that work and what do I have?  No curved bottom – just a purse that looks quite common, and certainly doesn’t require Tim’s inspiration.  I’ll give it one more try.  Soon.

31 Responses to “The Groovy Bag”

  1. 1 Clare July 18, 2007 at 3:03 am

    Your bag is lovely and what a lot of work to get there, many would have given up! 🙂

  2. 2 Jen July 18, 2007 at 4:30 am

    Well, Tim didn’t do it for me either..until some crafty soul told me to cut Tim without a seam allowance so he doesnt sew into the seams..Abit easier but not a whole lot. Great colours and fantastic perservearance. Well done..

  3. 3 Rachel July 18, 2007 at 5:55 am

    I know you’re not completely happy with the groovy bag, but I like the way it looks. I have a bugger of a time sewing curved seams, too, and adding Timtex to the mix must have been a nightmare to sew. That stuff is certainly very sturdy! Jen is right, though, even if you do cut the Timtex out of the seam allowances, it is a bit easier, but not much. Good luck with your next attempt!

  4. 4 Jackie Lawrence July 18, 2007 at 6:03 am

    You stuck with it a lot longer than I would have! 🙂

  5. 5 Vcki W July 18, 2007 at 6:15 am

    Even with the frustration, isn’t experimenting fun? I like where your bag is heading – it’s looking good! I wonder if you can fuse the Timtex to the fabric and cut it so that it’s not in the seam allowance. I’ve not tried doing that before so I dont’ know if it would work. Hmmmm….

  6. 6 Emy July 18, 2007 at 6:30 am

    Hi there. I bought some Timtex recently and it really seems like a cheaper alternative would be to use those hard, crispy sheets of acrylic foam. Someone gave me some and I’ve always wondered what to do with them. I really think it would work! Although sewing through it would be hard…
    It’s still a nice bag, even if it’s not what you were hoping for.

  7. 7 Karyn July 18, 2007 at 7:31 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your creative process with us!! It’s so comforting to know that even an expert bag-maker like yourself doesn’t always get it right the first time!!

    I love the bag. It is groovy 🙂

  8. 8 stacy July 18, 2007 at 7:33 am

    It may be ‘common’ but it’s still cute! Great job on the bag, I loved seeing your process – it’s nice to know even the best bag makers still have the same problems, issues, frustrations that I do!

  9. 9 Beth July 18, 2007 at 7:39 am

    Your bag looks great! I love those fabrics. And I’m so glad you posted this! I’ve been trying to finish a bag and I keep having to rip parts out. Now I know that I’m not the only one that has trouble and that makes me feel better. 🙂

    How does the Pellon 70 (I forget the whole name) compare to Timtex? I have some of both and it seemed that they were a similar thickness. But, the Pellon 70 was much cheaper. I found this Timtex tutorial online: I haven’t tried her method yet.

  10. 10 craftaddictconfessional July 18, 2007 at 7:59 am

    A round of applause for your persistence! I’ve only worked with Timtex once and it was definitely a challenge. Great to see the bag evolution! I think the finished product looks great.

  11. 11 Randi July 18, 2007 at 8:04 am

    The bag does look great!

    I have never heard of Tim before! I think I will wait to try him out until you have more success and some tips for use!

  12. 12 southerngirlmusings July 18, 2007 at 8:09 am

    The bag is definitely groovy and you definitely held out and kept at it longer than most but the satisfaction at the end is so worth it. There are a few Tim tutorials out there that I am sure you have seen being you are such a crafty diva. 🙂 Way to hang in there!

  13. 13 katie July 18, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Pattern design is tough! I have only designed very simple bag shapes and they aren’t actually anything new, I just figgered ’em out on my own without buying a pattern. Hats of to you for all of those efforts, and for the result, which I think looks great!!!

  14. 14 Chara Michele July 18, 2007 at 9:52 am

    I am impressed, I have a tendency to give up after the first or second try doesn’t work out… When I have used Timtex, I also didn’t include a seam allowance on it so that I didn’t have to sew it into the seams. It helped a bit… And I have to agree that Peltex and Timtex are two different things. Timtex is definitely a heavier, sturdier stabilizer.

  15. 15 Cindi July 18, 2007 at 10:51 am

    You can do it! Keep on trying! I am cheering for you!

  16. 16 Yummers July 18, 2007 at 11:32 am

    WOW! You have patience. I would have quit after bag #1 didn’t work. Your finished product is lovely… and just look what you learned “famous lady”.

  17. 17 Kay Susan July 18, 2007 at 11:40 am

    Never mind. Its a really nice bag.

  18. 18 lera July 18, 2007 at 11:49 am

    “purse contortionism — what a hoot!!!!!!

    great bag, Linda.

  19. 19 beki July 18, 2007 at 11:58 am

    I’m afraid of Tim, very afraid!

  20. 20 mommiemarzie July 18, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    I love your bag, even if it wasn’t the beauty you envisioned. I bought some Tim a month or so ago and haven’t tried using him yet. Now I’m scared! If you discover any great tips as you go, please share them!!

  21. 21 Tamara July 18, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    “Bag F” may not be exactly what you were hoping for but I think it looks awesome! I am in awe of your persistence to keep trying until you get your bag exactly the way you picture. I would have given up after the first one. You are so talented!

  22. 22 Cathy July 18, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    I’ve been meaning to hook up with tim but now I think I might hold off.

  23. 23 kathy July 18, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    I got a good laugh over your line on using the good fabric. I do that ALL the time. I have no patience to perfect the pattern before trying to make a cool one I want to use 🙂

  24. 24 randomrevelations July 18, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    i can’t believe you googled your phrase! i like the groovy fabric. it’s got a lot of “bowm chicka whow whow”!

  25. 25 Monica July 18, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    great story!

    I’ve just sewn a simple drawstring bag shut twice tonight… so I’m going to bed and try not to sleep about lining and inside out/right sides together stuff.

  26. 26 weirdbunny July 18, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    You have so much paitence !!!!!! I simply would have given up, or gone with the phrase ‘ finished is better than perfect’ !

  27. 27 Nikki July 18, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    I think that’s a fabulous-looking bag! I have been envisioning something similar lately and didn’t know where to start – good for you for diving right in! 🙂

  28. 28 Carla July 22, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    That purse is so awesome! Love the quilting, and the curved bottom. That would be so scary, but it came out so awesome! Glad you kept at it til it worked!

  29. 29 domestichaven July 24, 2007 at 2:02 am

    That is a great bag, I love the quilted detail.

  30. 30 the homely year July 24, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Oh thats a brilliant bag. It was worth all the effort. I’m relieved to know that someone else struggles with sewing sometimes. Every bag I’ve made seems to give me trouble. A great result though! You’re welcome to visit us at
    Margaret (and Noreen) at THY

  31. 31 Cindi July 26, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Congratulations! It looks lovely. I hope you go back to it with the zipper and then make a pattern. That is a bag I would like to have.

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Craft Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well, crafting is my apple. It’s what I do to maintain my sanity while taking care of my family. I homeschool my three boys, ages 14, 15, and 16), am a quilter, a bagaholic, and pattern designer.  Oh – and I also like taking pictures.

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