It has been a long time since I have sewn anything. A Long Time.
Last year I taught sewing classes for children and I also sewed for my girls production of Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, but I don’t count those things as sewing. They are creative and sometimes fun, but they are work. Work can be fun, but it can also be stressful. People ask me all the time if I have sewn the dress I’m wearing or the purse I’m carrying and the answer is always no. I’ve been tired out and drained of all sewing fun.
Every summer I travel to New Jersey to visit my family. We do so many fun activities. And…we all just love to hang out. This post is about my sister-in-law Bettie. I say that for technical reasons (married to my brother David) so you can put the pieces together, but for the rest of this post, she is just my sister Bettie.
Bettie is a sailor. She grew up by the water and on the water. She and David came to San Diego last year and we rented a boat and went sailing. It was the most beautiful day and a memory I will forever hold. But I digress…
Hanging out one day, Bettie told me about these amazing bags that are all the rage–sailbags. I had never heard of them, probably for two reasons: I am not a sailor, and not very cool. These bags are made of old sailboat sails. So, not only are they pretty cool looking, but they have history and blemishes from the wind battles on the water. Honestly, I didn’t think much about it. I thought it was a cool idea and probably told her I’d look them up sometime, but I don’t think I did because then we were on to the next activity.
The next time I saw Bettie, she told me about these bags again, only this time she said she could never buy one for herself because of the cost. Now my sister is incredibly good with money and in my opinion needs to spoil herself more…as in even once!!! I started to file some ideas away which grew exponentially when the next five times I saw her, she brought up these amazing sailbags again and again. Fine, Bettie. You are going to get a sailbag!!!!!
My mind was made up and I brought David into my scheming plan. It was his job to get me a sail.
David got a hold of Bettie’s brother and an old sail that was in the family. He apologized via text when he sent it out that he didn’t have time to clean it and I didn’t mind. I was happy to have the sail. But boy, you can imagine when I opened that box…let’s just say this was a well used sail.
I’m going to show you via pictures the story of the creation of Bettie’s bag. It was so much fun to make and the secrecy was definitely part of how much fun it was. Enjoy! And I may have some commentary along the way.
Here is the uncut sail. You can see I traced out how I wanted the front panel to look.
Front and back panels cut out.
Scrubbing off mildew and stench. I also threw all the pieces into the washing machine twice with like a gallon of oxy-clean.
Cutting out the blue vinyl. I haven’t really worked with vinyl very much. It likes to move when you sew it. I cut out this little anchor for fun thinking if she didn’t like it she could just cut it off.
Back piece with vinyl.
Sides and bottom pieces put together. I wanted the bottom to be vinyl for extra support. Who knows what she’ll want to carry in this thing? Last thing I heard she brought a heavy case of beer back from Canada for David.
Hardware. (Oh, notice the liquid dish detergent below? You don’t usually see that on a sewing table!)
OUTER SHELL COMPLETE!
Time to work on the lining now.
Hidden zipper pocket on one side.
Top zipper panel.
Time to put the bag together!
Straps pinned on. Not sure how I’m going to sew through that thickness without an industrial machine.
My last dilemma. I can’t sew through this thickness.
“Hello? Megs? Can I send Bettie’s bag for you to sew at work for me?”
And off she goes to Megan who is now in on the great secret present for Bettie.
And yesterday, this happened!
Happy Birthday Bettie!