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Saturday, 27 August 2016

Rescuing a Beloved Skirt

White Skirt Upcycle Project by eSheep Designs
My one and only white skirt!
The skirt that you see here is one of my favourite summer time items. (Yes, I know, it resembles a petticoat; just wait 'til you see what I do with it.) I'm sure I've had it for over fifteen years; the repeated washings over that period have made the light gauzy material even more gauzy and almost transparent (even though it's lined).

White Skirt Upcycle Project by eSheep Designs
Me in my skirt
in 2012...
It's got an unfinished bottom edge to it that I've always liked, and the tiers have seams that are exposed and similarly "tattered". Over the years, the elastic at the waist has lost its elasticity. I've actually had to cut into the casing to tie off a section of the elastic to make it work.

Still, I've been wearing it regularly and absolutely refuse to toss it. You see, I have many skirts, but this is my only white one. And sometimes there's just nothing like wearing white in the summer.

Which is why, when I picked up this white fabric from our neighbourhood garage sale last year, I decided that I was going to make a skirt out of it. Over a year later, I finally have an idea to use the fabric to perk up this skirt.

I also have this stretchy lace belt that I picked up for under two bucks on eBay several years ago. While wearable, it's always been just a tad too small for my liking. My idea is to use it as the waistband for my remade skirt.

White Skirt Upcycle Project by eSheep Designs
Bargain priced lace elastic belt...

This is a circle skirt, by the way, so I searched online for a circle skirt tutorial. Found several, but used the one at Made Every Day with Dana, originally posted in 2008.


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Circle skirts are easy to make and — yes, I admit it — I still do like the full, twirl factor of such a garment. After doing the quarter fold on my fabric, I quickly progressed to this...

White Skirt Upcycle Project by eSheep Designs
Unfolded, this turns out into a honking big "donut"...

The length of my skirt — since I wasn't going to finish off the bottom seam — is 17.5".

White Skirt Upcycle Project by eSheep Designs
This will be turned into the waistband for the skirt...
I removed the hardware from my elastic belt and used a couple of small pieces of elastic to add some extra length (width?) to the whole waistband. Since this has to pull up over my hips, the elastic from the belt by itself is not enough.

What I did was zigzag-stitched together the two pieces of elastic, trimmed the resulting piece to the same 2" width as the belt elastic and then attached it to the belt to create the waistband.

White Skirt Upcycle Project by eSheep Designs
I surprised myself... the two parts actually fit!
Next, I removed the elastic from the old skirt and unpicked the stitches that formed the casing. Then I pinned my new circle of fabric over top of it and basted both parts together.

Then I got so busy putting it all together that I stopped taking pictures!

Basically, all that remains is to attach the waistband to the skirt. Some artful pinning and then some "stretching while you sew" is required. (Again, this was another instance of sewing where I wished I had a third hand.)

But here is the finished project...

White Skirt Upcycle Project by eSheep Designs
A new look for an old skirt!

Now that I have an extra layer of fabric on this skirt, I no longer have to worry about what colour underwear I'm wearing... LOL!


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Here is a view from the front in the way that I would normally wear this (i.e., top untucked)...

White Skirt Upcycle Project by eSheep Designs
Front view of my remade skirt...

I actually had to remove a tier from the bottom of the original skirt; too much of it was showing and it did not look right. It took me over a half an hour to unpick those stitches!

Here is a view from the back, this time with my top tucked in so that you can see the waistband...

White Skirt Upcycle Project by eSheep Designs
Back view of my remade skirt...

All in all, I'm quite happy with the results of this skirt makeover.

There is, however, the matter of that part of the waistband that isn't covered with lace. I've thought about buying some lace to add to it but that's such a small amount. I have this butterfly applique that I can sew on, but I don't know about that either.

White Skirt Upcycle Project by eSheep Designs
Any ideas on how I might finish this last bit of my remade skirt?

What do you think? Any ideas?

By the way, this is the first of a few clothing-centric posts that I am going to put up over the next month or so. I actually have extensive experience sewing clothes. But apart from hats and slippers and scarves — I really haven't written anything here about sewing stuff to wear. It's time to share some of that.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

5 Ways to Drive People Away From Your Blog

5 WAYS TO DRIVE PEOPLE AWAY FROM YOUR BLOG
Should I have titled this "How to Make Your Blog More User Friendly"? Nah, I think I'll stick with what I have, because I was feeling sort of nasty when I encountered essentially all of these complaints at one blog, which shall remain nameless.

Bloggers blog for various reasons, but one thing in common is that they want others to come and read what they have to say. (There is absolutely no reason to publish a blog if you want to keep the contents to yourself.) Why not make that experience as welcoming as possible?

I don't know about you, but the last thing I want is to have new visitors come by and then leave in a huff because they could not find what they were looking for. And if they came in via an established link from somewhere else, it's even worse because that says while I might be successful at bringing in new traffic, I suck at keeping it!

With that in mind, here are five things that could potentially make a visitor run away from your blog...


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No Link to Complete Archives


Are you ashamed of your previous posts? Are they so uninteresting that you'd rather they not be read? If that's not the case, why can't I access them? I mean, really, if I'm already at your blog and willing to spend more time, give me a link to your archives! Related post, popular post and random post widgets and tags — assuming you have them — are not enough if I'm looking for something from a particular time period.

SOLUTION: Add the "Blog Archive" gadget to your blog. It doesn't have to dominate your landscape, either. On the Blogger platform, it can be set to appear totally unobtrusively; my drop down list format takes up just a half inch of vertical space when not in use.

Drop down blog archive listing
There is ALWAYS room for your archives...

No Helpful Internal Links


Okay, so I read a post that says you'll be back next time with more details about this project. So I click on the link to get to the next post. But the post is about something else entirely. Now I have no real way to find "the rest of the story". I get that things sometimes interfere with scheduling and plans, but in a case like this, it would be helpful to have an internal link to that "next time" — whenever it actually turned out to be.

SOLUTION: It's potentially time-consuming if you're a frequent blogger, but it's still a good idea to go back to older posts and provide links to "continued" content. Yes, the post may show up via your related posts widget (again, assuming you have one), but it may not. I make a note to myself whenever I upload a post that includes a reference to a future posting. When that "future" posting is finally up, I go back to the original post and include a link to it. Smooth sailing for the reader who comes upon it months (or years) later.

useful internal link to a "future" post
I went back and added this link to a follow-up post...

I should take this opportunity to mention that adding links to older topics is always a good idea too. Studies have shown that people tend to click on links that appear in context with what they are reading... like this one (as opposed to links on a menu or sidebar). Take advantage of this behaviour! If you happen to make a reference to some past project of yours, link to that post; if you write about something that reminds you of something you've written about in the past, link to it.


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Not Providing a Deep Link


I've come to your blog because I found a picture of some project of yours that interests me on some other site. However, it turns out the link is to your home page, which is currently displaying totally unrelated content. Not helpful. If you are calling attention to a specific post, always link out with the precise address of that exact post or page.
Use:
http://esheepdesigns.blogspot.com/2015/09/pride-prejudice-inspired-hat.html
instead of
http://esheepdesigns.blogspot.com

"Not Found" Pages/Posts


That being said, having your home page appear is better than getting a disappointing 404 screen... or nothing. If you have posts/pages that have been removed, you should redirect their links to your home page instead of having them show up with a broken link message.

I will give you an example from a popular website that should know better: Sew4Home. For some reason, they changed the name of the post that originally introduced their origami ribbon coin purse when they reposted the project. My blog post about that project linked to the old page and until I brought it to their attention, it led to a blank screen.

SOLUTION: On Blogger, you can set your home page (or any other page for that matter) as the default landing page for any post/page that no longer exists by filling out the Errors and redirections section under Settings, Search preferences.

adding a custom redirect in Blogger
Adding a custom redirect...

No Search Button


So despite all of the above, I am still here at your blog and thinking that, hmm, maybe I'll just search for the content I'm looking for. But no such luck... because you don't have a search button. I can hear Homer Simpson in my head going, "Doh!"

SOLUTION: Add the "Search Box" gadget to your layout! It takes up almost no space but adds so much functionality!

search box
A search box provides so much functionality for so little space!

To wrap up all this negativity, I need to remind myself that bloggers generally deserve bouquets rather than brickbats. That's why I originally wrote my "Thank Your Favourite Bloggers Day" post. The above was just meant as some tongue-in-cheek advice for bloggers to help them provide an enjoyable user experience.

After all, unlike strategic or over placement of ads to promote clicking (which, by the way, is getting way too irksome but is done very purposefully by the blog owner, so is another topic in itself), I think most blogs exhibiting the above irritations suffer from them honestly; i.e., their owners are unaware of the full ramifications.

That having been said, I feel compelled to reiterate that the frustration on my end is very real if a blog has more than one of the above issues!

Have you ever gone to a blog looking for something great that you just weren't able to find?




Saturday, 13 August 2016

Free Pattern/Tutorial: Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
My Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer...
Sometimes it's like there's no such thing as a simple decision.

Take the idea of a tote bag organizer. I had been considering making one for almost a year. You'd think — given that my first tutorial for this blog was a purse organizer — that it would be a simple thing to do.

But, nooo. I hemmed and hawed like it was a potentially life-changing event.

However, all of that eventually produced a design that I think is actually kind of neat, considering that it literally piggybacks onto my Wave Purse Organizer.

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
Opposite side of my Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer...

How did that come to be? Shortly after I came up with the WPO idea, I made a couple of extra ones that were destined for my market friend's sales table. For a host of reasons, they never made it. While staring at the fabric remnants from my customized tote project, I was suddenly reminded of the fact that I had a WPO made out of that same fabric combo tucked away somewhere.

When I located it, an idea suddenly came to me that I could incorporate that organizer into this one!


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Not that it's in any way pertinent, but I thought I'd share what my work space looked like during this period of great inspiration. Because it's brighter in that part of the house, I often work on the kitchen counter and on this day, making some oatmeal raisin and coconut cookies was also on the agenda...

Multi-tasking by eSheep Designs
Doesn't everyone sew like this??

And now, back to the subject at hand... :-D

Last month, I showed you a large-scale tote bag organizer created by Barbara and her sewing buddy Cindy that was simply marvelous and marvelously simple.

I, however, being still somewhat frugal with my fabric, wanted to come up with an organizer that could hold my various belongings in place inside a cavernous tote bag, but wouldn't require almost the same amount of fabric needed to make that tote bag. (You can tell from the picture above that I was constrained by the small amount of solid blue fabric that was remaining.) If you are similarly "cheap", this may be the way to go.

Here is what my creation looks like inside my tote.

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
Looking down into my tote bag with my Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer inside...

This design keeps the contents of the organizer against the interior lining of the bag, leaving a central opening for your other stuff. The idea is pretty much the same as if you had regular pockets in the bag, only these ones are removable.

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
I grabbed some random stuff for this photo shoot, but obviously, you would probably use
the WPO side for smaller things...

Wanna make one?


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Materials Required

First, go to my Wave Purse Organizer tutorial and make one of those, but do not create any pocket divisions yet. Also, if you want the key clip feature, make it but do not attach it; you will instead attach it to the larger piece later.

For the larger side of the organizer, you will need the following:
  • a non-directional piece of fabric, 16.5" wide by 26" high, and 
  • enough medium weight fusible interfacing (I used Pellon 809; AKA Decor Bond) to cover half of the above piece inside of a seam allowance; i.e., approximately 16" wide x 13" high
My tote bag is fairly large; the bottom base measures 14" x 6.5" and this organizer fits perfectly. If your bag is not as big, you may want to reduce the width of your main piece of fabric somewhat.

Cut and Prep Fabric

As I said before, organizers that are meant to be moved from bag to bag need not match any particular bag, so if you have scraps of fabric that you can patchwork together to arrive at a final piece that is the required size, bonus for you!

In my specific case here, I took two strips of solid blue fabric (each about 16.5" wide by 6.5" high) and sewed each of them to the long edges of the 16.5" wide by 14" high flowered fabric.

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
If using different fabrics, sew them together to achieve a 16.5" wide x 26"high piece;
then fold in half...

However you arrive at your final piece of fabric, fold it in half with wrong sides together as shown above. Slip the fusible interfacing in between, right up against the folded edge and centered from side to side. Fuse in place.

Sew Main Piece

Once the interfacing is set, re-fold your piece of fabric in half the other way, with right sides together. Sew around the (three) open edges. Leave a 5" gap somewhere to turn the whole thing right side out. (Use a 1/4" to 3/8" seam allowance; whatever you're most comfortable with.) NOTE: If you are attaching a key clip, leave the turning gap close to the top folded edge along the side, such as where I've circled in red here...

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
Topstitch all the way around once you've turned it right side out
(and attach your key clip in the process if making one)...

Topstitch all the way around (at or just under 1/4") to close the turning gap (and to enclose the key clip, if making).

Mark Pockets

Now it's time to size up your pockets. Grab the main things that you intend to accommodate with this tote organizer, including the small things that will be put into the WPO side.

Divide WPO

Create pocket divisions on your WPO according to your needs, keeping in mind that you will lose about a 1/2" at each end as a result of it being sewn together with the larger back piece.

Plan Large Pockets

With your large piece of fabric, place your big items on top of it and fold the bottom edge up so that you have about 5" of coverage.

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
Ensure that the amount of fabric covering your items is sufficient...

Decide whether or not you eventually want to have closed ends on this large side. In the above picture, if I were to sew a line down each outside edge, there would be no room for any further pocket divisions.

However, by leaving the edges open, I can fit another pocket in between the eReader and tablet pockets...

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
Leaving the sides open gives you more storage space...

Use pins to mark your pocket placements just on the bottom half of the large organizer piece. (That is, do not pin all the way through both layers.)


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Attach WPO

Flip the large organizer piece over and put the WPO on top of it.

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
The finished WPO forms the reverse side of this "super" organizer...

Tuck the ends of the WPO into the open side edges of the larger piece and pin to the bottom part that is folded up (the part made out of the solid blue fabric in my case), as shown here. As indicated previously, approximately 1/2" of the WPO's ends will be taken out of commission after you do this.

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
Pin the two ends of the WPO to opposite ends of the bottom part of the large organizer piece...

Sew the ends of the WPO in place, following the topstitching line on the front side of large organizer piece. NOTE: If you want the outside edges of your pockets to be closed, baste this first to secure the WPO and then sew through all three layers along the topstitching line.

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
Sew from the front side of the organizer, on top of the existing topstitching...

While it may appear initially tricky, this should not be too difficult to sew, since you can flip the upper part of the large organizer piece out of your way.

Divide Large Pockets

All that's left is to divide up the large pockets. Flip the upper section of the large organizer piece back in place and repin your pocket placements through both layers. If you need to make actual lines with a marking pen, go ahead and do so; I can generally manage by pinning.

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
Mark the sewing lines for your large pockets...

When you sew this part, of course, ensure that the WPO side is flipped out of your way.

The way I did these pocket dividing lines was to start at the bottom and sew up to the top edge, pivot and then sew back down along the same line. This gives the seam some added strength while the backtacking and securing is more or less out of sight along the bottom.

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
Finished organizer with large pocket edges open... 

Oh, and you might also use matching thread; I went with white so that you can see more clearly in the photos.

Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer by eSheep Designs
My Wave Around Tote Bag Organizer is done!

Final Assessment

Having had second thoughts about how my Professional Tote was divided up on the inside, let me say that I really appreciate how this tote bag has just one big interior space that is unobstructed. That said, pockets are good at creating order and ensuring ease of access. This tote organizer is perfect for those times when you need pockets.

I may be biased, but in my humble opinion, the Wave Around Tote Organizer is an ideal companion for any tote bag.

TERMS OF USE

If you are "sew" inclined, feel free to make and sell as many Wave Around Tote Bag Organizers as you care to; I only ask that you credit me and this blog by attaching the following card to the item.

eSheep Designs swing tag


Like it? Want to keep it? For a copy of this tutorial in PDF format, go to my Craftsy shop and download it for free!


Saturday, 6 August 2016

Customizing a Free Sling Bag Pattern

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
This sling bag is surprisingly big!
Having revealed my latest pattern customization project last time, this week I will provide the details as to how it came about.

If you recall, I made the following changes to Sew4Home's spiffy Summer Sling Bag:
  • added an adjustable portion to the strap
  • fully lined the pockets
  • used 2 coordinating quilting cottons on the exterior
  • added a small zippered pocket on the underside of the flap
  • added an interior zippered pocket
  • added some decoration to the flap
  • added a hanging loop at the top
  • modified the exterior zipper installation
  • added extra interfacing

For anyone interested in applying some of the same changes, I'll share the dimensions of any added pieces where applicable. Note that this post is not meant to be a "how to" tutorial for basic techniques, as I assume you have prior experience sewing bags.


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Adjustable Strap

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
My customized "belt" strap...
You can make an adjustable strap the traditional way, but to tell the truth, sometimes a shortcut is in order.

I don't imagine that anyone will have an identical section of a 5/8" fabric belt to contribute to this project, but here are my particulars in any case.

My actual pieces had a maximum length of 14" to add to the equation. I then made two 11" sections of strap using my contrast fabric, in pretty much the way the original tutorial calls for them to be made. (Added together, that gives me 36" of total strap length; the original pattern calls for 33". This is fine considering that several inches are sacrificed in the joining process.)

After turning the strap pieces right side out, I tucked about a half inch of fabric to the inside at one end and pushed the the belt segment into it. With a little bit of nipping and tucking and pinning, I was then able to topstitch around the perimeter of the strap to secure the belt piece.

Here is the back view of my bag...

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
Back view of my bag...

Fully Lined Pockets

Making a lined zippered pocket assembly...
To make a fully lined zippered pocket assembly that can be sewn in place on top of the body panel in the same way as the original pattern calls for, you'll need two fabric pieces to "sandwich" the top and bottom parts of the zipper tape.

Cut the top piece 8" wide by 4" high and the bottom piece 8" wide by 13" high. Fold these pieces in half (with right side showing), press, and then press a 1/2" seam to the wrong side of the fabric on the long edges.

Then cut two pieces of fusible interfacing — 8" wide x 1.5" high for the top and 8" wide x 6" high for the bottom — and place them inside the folded pieces (right up against the crease) and fuse. The interfaced side will be the top side of the pocket.

When you sandwich the zipper tape with your pieces of fabric, keep in mind the following: 1) ensure that one assembly zips to the right and the other to the left (refer to picture #4 above), and 2) ensure that the side of the fabric with the interfacing is on top against the top side of the zipper (picture #6).

These completed pocket assemblies can then be attached per the original project instructions. Here's what the interior of the pocket looks like when finished...

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
A professional finish on the inside of the pocket, with a completely enclosed zipper...

The original would show interfacing inside the pocket, so I am quite happy with this change. In hindsight, however, I probably would have preferred to make a "normal" zippered pocket that sits inside the bag between the exterior and the lining. Because this pocket literally sits on top of the bag, its storage capacity is limited.

By the way, I didn't partake of the original pattern's "cool factor" by installing the zipper on top of the fabric (with the tape exposed, secured by a zigzag stitch), but it's still possible to do with my variation.


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Flap Pocket

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
My little hidden flap pocket...
This little pocket on the underside of the flap was perhaps my favourite addition. I made it for my car key fob, but it's a great place to keep one's most needed ID, transit pass, or "whatever" card accessible and safe.

This is an easy addition, requiring just a little bit of fabric for the lining... 6.5" wide by 7" high, as well as a 7" zipper that will be cut down to fit.

When it comes time to sew the two flap pieces together to complete the flap, it is perfectly fine — and even desirable, as it keeps the pocket in place — for the bottom corners of the pocket lining to be caught in the seam. When you notch the curve of the flap before turning it right side out, trim away anything from the pocket lining that extends beyond the seam allowance.

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
How the flap pocket came to be...

Interior Zippered Pocket

One of the reasons I am not so much into this style of bag is that it's just essentially one big loose sack. However, I had been using my Bodaciously Basic Bucket Bag all summer long and had gotten used to its "open concept". A sling bag is pretty much the same style.

So at first I thought, I am going to leave the lining of this bag as is: no pockets. (I usually use a purse organizer anyway.) With the bag almost finished, however, I made a last minute decision to add a pocket and ended up doing so after the lining was completed; i.e., the bottom of it was already sewn on.

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
View of the interior, with my "last minute" addition of a zippered pocket...

It's not the prettiest installation considering how I had to manoeuvre to put it in, but it functions and that's what counts. (I used a 10" wide x 12" high piece of fabric for this and placed it close to the top of the bag on the front side.) Given how deep the bag is, I will definitely appreciate having this pocket.

Decorated Flap

The original Summer Sling Bag is attractive as is, but in my opinion, the flap was screaming for something. Like a 11" x 2.5" strip of fabric that ends up as a 1.5" decorative stripe down the centre attached to a ring (mine measures 2-3/8").

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
Interface the center of this strip, leaving 1/2" along the sides and at the ends...

Fold a 1/2" seam to the wrong side of the fabric on the long sides, and fuse a section of interfacing to the middle. Run some topstitching to secure the side seams and the ring. Pin the whole assembly to the top flap piece and sew along the previous stitching lines to attach.

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
Decorative stripe added to flap...

I had no difficulties sewing up the flap after making these two changes to it.

Hanging Loop

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
A hanging loop is very handy...
Most back pack style bags have a hanging/carrying loop, so this is an easy, practical addition.

Fabric requirement is a 6.5" x 2" strip, done up as a "no turn" style strap (i.e, fold in half and then fold the two sides in towards the middle crease and stitch along both sides on top).

In terms of when the loop is installed, it goes in at the same time as the flap. In my case, it was very easy to position the loop evenly on both sides of the decorative stripe.


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Additional Interfacing

With the use of plain quilting cottons, I needed to ensure that the fabric was strong/firm enough to produce the right look for the bag. For the most part, anything that was made out of the exterior fabric, I fused on some Decor Bond.

I also added a piece of Peltex to the bottom. Whether or not you do that depends on how slouchy you like the bag to appear when it's full. (Personally, I would just as soon avoid the droopy bottom syndrome; if it eventually turns out to be too much structure, I can remove it by going through the lining.)

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
This bag is quite firm and well-structured...

The fusible fleece that was originally called for on the exterior was applied to the body of the lining. (Which, as you may guess, really made the last minute addition of the interior zippered pocket fun... not.)

Speaking of fusible fleece, I would suggest that you add it to your strap if you make this bag. I didn't and regret not doing so.

Final Assessment

So what did I think of this project? Overall, it's a winner. A great looking bag from a free pattern that I was able to customize to a significant degree. Sew4Home doesn't categorize projects in terms of sewing experience, however, so if it helps, I'd have to say that I wouldn't recommend this one to a beginner. (Their highly popular bucket bag from last year would be more of a beginner project; see my customized version here.) There are a few steps that could frustrate a new sewer to no end.

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
A pox on curvy bottoms! LOL...
After working out my extra requirements on paper, I started this project in the mid-morning on a Saturday and finished mid-afternoon on Sunday. Was not working away full-time but I did put in more hours than usual, although I called it quits by 10:00 pm. The part that gave me the most trouble was the exterior base. (Oddly enough, the lining base — which I did first — did not give me any difficulties at all.)

See how perfectly pinned the base is in the above picture? Since I'd already sewn the lining base with no issues, I thought, how lucky, the fit is perfect; I should be done in no time!

Customized Sling Bag by eSheep Designs
View under the flap...

Two hours later, I thought that the fabric along the bottom front edge of the bag was going to disintegrate, I had pulled out the stitching so many times! For whatever reason, it took forever to fix two stubborn puckers. And not only that, a few times, the puckers would be addressed, but then part of the base would shift and get caught up in the stitching. (And in case you were wondering, the Peltex had not yet been fused on, so there was no reason for so much aggravation.) Had the puckering appeared on the back side, I likely would have just given up on it, but at the front?

One final observation: twelve grommets are required for this bag. Grommets are not hard to do, but it takes time to poke out just the right size hole — through fabric, fleece and interfacing — without overdoing it. I felt like cheering when I installed the final one and could see the finish line.

Everything aside, it was worth it. Coming up four years in, I'm still amazed by what simple pieces of fabric can be turned into, with a little patience and ingenuity!

Question: do you still feel elated when you finish something like this or is the whole experience just "old hat" to you?