A tale of two work bags….


As I’ve mentioned here before – I didn’t always know how to sew, and I certainly didn’t grow up with any abilities in that regard. In fact, I was raised with the belief (penned in my first report-card from Kindergarten) that I “lacked hand-eye co-ordination” and therefore would never be very good at anything that required it. (Funny enough, I played the fiddle all through my upbringing and that requires a lot of hand-eye co-ordination…. it’s just that I was measured it in how straight I could cut with scissors, not whether I could master a complicated musical instrument).

Anyhow! About fifteen years ago I taught myself to cross-stitch (from a book) and that was the start of learning about handwork for me. I still had no notion of sewing, but the easy crossed stitches on Aida cloth counted from a pattern made a lot of sense to me and I took it on.

That work bag on the top left is the first thing that I ever sewed (if you don’t count the miserable bean bag frog that I barely completed in grade six sewing class) – ten years ago, just prior to embarking on a road trip, I got a piece of cotton twill and hand sewed a small envelope in which I could carry scissors, threads, patterns and embroidery hoop in one place. It was the simplest design I could think of and as you can see from this photo, I didn’t know a thing about finishing my seams:

But despite its rough and rudimentary nature – I have used that work bag for the past ten years and it’s held together quite nicely – a testament to the fact that even the most basic, shoddily done hand sewing is ten times more resilient to most of what you find in the bargain stores.

In any case, I have felt recently that a new work bag is in order, as my original has been fraying – and while I could have gone with a more complicated pattern or design (with pockets or dividers) – I love the simplicity of the work bag that folds down easily and tucks into almost any purse.  Plus, the basic canvas/twill shows off my recent hexagon obsession so nicely:

This little project represents just a half hour of work on my sewing machine (the hexagon detail was done separately by hand), but even more so it stands as a reminder that sometimes the most basic thing is what works best.

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