|A little bag with a hidden surprise...|
The person behind the channel, Gina, is the one who brought the consistently popular 5 pocket zippered pouch to my attention last year. Her Ariel Clam Bag is an approximate half hour video tutorial with pattern pieces provided.
YouTube is replete with sewing tutorials, so if you're looking for something new and unusual, you'll likely find it. It is, however, sometimes a chore to sift out the good from the bad.
This pouch/bag certainly qualifies as being unusual — I wouldn't make any zippered pouch unless it was somewhat different — and Gina has a track record of providing good instructions.
|It's actually a zippered pouch with a twist... or a turn!|
That said, "free" being what it is, you shouldn't expect everything to be drawn out for you in painstaking detail. Therefore, I will try to fill in some of the blanks with my experience in making this little pouch.
|Closed bag with the zipper open...|
It's a quick make; I completed mine in an evening, although I watched the video at least twice in the days before. (And then thoroughly debated — with myself — the merits of making it, with the yes side winning mostly because there were two straight days of rain in the forecast. Make the project, write the blog post; why not?)
|This is why it's called a "clam"...|
Whether or not this is suitable for beginners, I will let you decide after reading further.
The pattern is printed on three pieces of paper, consisting of four templates. While properly labeled, the templates do not indicate how many pieces of each to cut and in what material. So here is my first bit of help.
- Piece 1 (Main Body) — 1 x exterior fabric, 1 x lining fabric, 1 x fusible fleece (applied to exterior fabric)
- Piece 2 (Side Panel) — 2 x exterior fabric, 2 x lining fabric, 2 x fusible fleece (applied to exterior fabric)
- Piece 3 (Zippered Panel, which will later be cut into 3A and 3B) — 1 x exterior fabric, 1 x lining fabric, 1 x fusible fleece (applied to exterior fabric)
The bag's method of closure is up to you. I liked the look of the flap that she showed us on a sample, but during the video, she demonstrated a button and loop closure instead. For the flap that you see here, I used 2 pieces of fabric (2.5" x 3.5" each) matched to my bias binding (which, if you are going to make yourself, Gina describes as a strip cut on the bias measuring 2.5" wide x 25" long).
I then used a couple of rivets and a snap fastener to attach it.
|Detail of my quilting...|
Piece 1 is meant to be cut on the fold and creates the main exterior of the bag. If you have a directional print on your fabric (as my Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements selection is), you'll need to cut this as two separate pieces, adding a bit extra to accommodate piecing them together. I added a 1/4" to the bottom of the template and sewed up the two pieces with a 1/4" seam allowance.
|All ready to start quilting...|
Fabrics were last seen on my Magic Pouch. The binding and flap were remnants from my wall organizer project.
When videos do not show the actual process at the sewing machine, the viewer is left with no idea of how difficult the sewing part might be. (I found this out when I made some fabric envelopes.)
|Flap attached with a couple of rivets...|
The reason I don't want to declare this a beginner project is due to the side panel construction and some curvy sewing.
|Quilt the exterior and then piece together the main body and lining...|
In the picture immediately above, you can see how the side panels need to be fit along a substantial curve. You'll need to do this four times and preventing puckers will be a challenge. (I only had one small one on the exterior; but the lining had a few more. Honestly though, it's a lining and I'm not particular about it.)
Gina provides suggestions for how to sew these side panels, but from experience, I know that it's easier said than done.
This project consists almost exclusively of curvy pieces that are not inherently easy to sew, but once you get past the madness of the side panels, the rest is fairly do-able.
|My version of a quickie flap...|
To make the flap, sew the two pieces with wrong sides together (I rounded off the corners of one end slightly), interface one side with fusible fleece (inside the seam allowance; I used 1/4"), turn right side out, tuck the ends inside and topstitch all the way around.
|I quilted between the rows of bottle caps on the main body, and also between the columns on the sides...|
If you're going to use rivets to secure the flap, ensure that you do it before attaching the top zipper panel. While it's not impossible to reach inside the bag to install the rivets after the fact, it's a lot easier if you don't have the extra piece in the way. (The snap fastener, on the other hand, can be attached after everything is sewn up with no difficulties.)
|Another view of the interior...|
As a testament to the fact that you can be as meticulous and methodical as possible and still make mistakes — at least I'm owning up to it — I took the time to plan how the zipper would open against the directional fabric; i.e., top of the fabric = top of the zipper. And yet...
|Oops! Flap ended up on wrong side of the bag...|
I somehow got turned around when it came time to sew the top panel to the body. And then I didn't notice until after I'd finished the binding, so the flap ended up being attached to the "wrong" side of the bag.
Anyhoo... Given that I almost didn't make this, I'm glad the "yes" side of my internal debate won. Oopsie aside, it turned out well and I knocked down a bit more of my fabric stash and used up some leftover binding. (Speaking of binding, while the video doesn't show the sewing part, Gina does explain how to do so, including how to connect the ends neatly.)
|What will you use this bag for?|
This little cutie finishes out at about 5.5" tall with a base of about 6" x 3.5". Don't know what its final function might be, but in the meantime, it's been sitting open beside my computer, corralling some note pads and sticky notes.
Any suggestions for how you'd use this?