Neefer Sews, Crochets, Crafts, Swims, and Blathers about Kids

Acorns to Oaktrees

March 22nd, 2015 at 8:26 pm

Phlipphlap Bag

in: Sewing

This bag looks really cool. I remember when it came out (c. 2002), and I wanted it BAD. It just looked so cool, and it was an opportunity to use a lot of fun fabrics. Could I find it any of the local quilt shops? Nope, but it was in the catalog from Keepsake Quilting. We were headed back to Lake Winnepausake in New Hampshire to visit the in-laws. It’s a bit of a drive from Alton to Center Harbor, but Rob drove me up there. Keepsake Quilting is in a lovely spot on the north side of Lake Winnepausake. They were sold out of the Phlipphlap Bag pattern, too, but they offered to send it to me with free shipping, so I took them up on it.

So about a five years after this, I actually make a bag, but not the Phlipphlap bag. I decide to do another one by the same designers, the Totesalot. In general, I really like this bag. Here’s one of mine. However, there are some serious problems with the pattern, IMNSHO. It calls for velcro closures. I think velcro closures scream “I’m afraid to put in a zipper in my obviously homemade (verses a designer original) bag.” It uses quilt batting, which I suppose, depending on your application is fine, but I think interfacing is easier to work with, weighs less, and produces a less homemade-y looking product. But the biggest problem with the bag is that the instructions have you construct each side, exterior and lining, and then sew the sides together and bind the edges. I think that is a bad way to make a bag. It’s much cleaner, more finished, to make the exterior, make the lining, and then sew the two together.

So another 5 years go by, and I decide to make the Phlipphlap bag using leftover fabric from a top. Do I remember that I made a bag by these designers before? Nope. And I certainly don’t recall that I had some issues with the contrustion methods.

Do I read the instructions all the way thru and make sure I understand what the pattern calls for? Of course not. :*O

I did search the ‘web for commentary of others’ experiences with the pattern. I found one. Daryl @Patchouli Moon had some excellent comments in her critique of the pattern.

1. Front of bag showing the wrong side of the lining
and the right side of the front flap.

So I plunged in and had a blast picking fabrics from my treasure stash. I decided to skip the batting and use denim as my lining fabric. I didn’t interface the denim, but I did interface everything else with a nonwoven, featherweight, black, fusible interfacing.

The pattern calls for constructing the lining and constructing the exterior and sewing the whole thing together around the edges and turning it. The process is akin to a tied quilt construction process.

Phlipphlap Bag
2. Back of bag showing the wrong side of the lining
and the right side of the two (yes, 2) back flaps.

Image 1 (left) shows the lining piece, front view, fully constructed and folded like it would be in the bag. The bag has two large pockets one behind the other. The front pocket is slightly smaller than the back pocket, so in Image 1, you see the front pocket on top of the back pocket. You see the plain denim, wrong side, of the lining and the front flap, right side. There is a line of stitching running parallel to the bottom of the front pocket; that stitching is the bottom of a large interior pocket in the inside of the front pocket. I pieced the front flap from 3 fabrics: dragonflies, flowers on an orange background, and a reddish-brown fabric with a leaf print on the left side of it.

Image 2 (right) shows the lining piece, rear view, fully constructed and folded like it would be in the finished state. There are two separate rear flaps: a long skinny one and a broad one. You cannot see the front section because the back section is larger. The stitching on the denim is from interior pockets.

3. Front pocket closed and back pocket opened to expose lining.

Image 3 (left) shows the interior of the rear compartment on the left of the image. The right side of the image, labeled “front”, is the same as shown in Image 1.

The denim lining fabric is darker and printed with stripes on the right side (right vs. wrong). Just to the left of the dragonfly strip of fabric is a chalked line labeled “bag center”. Just to the left of “bag center” are 3 snaps, and to the left of the 3 snaps is the seam for the two lining pieces. The pattern calls for two lining pieces. I’m not sure why. I mean, why not just cut one long piece?

I added the snaps. The only closure call out in the pattern is the suggestion that flipping the back flaps to the front add security. I suppose it does, but the snaps add a bit more. I think zippers would be even better, but the way the bag is constructed, with the lining pieces and the outer fabric pieces not lining up, preclude zippers.

Back to Image 3, from right to left, you have the wrong side of the front section, the front flap (dragonflies), the bag center, a lining section with the off “center” seam for the two lining pieces, a pocket that stretches the width of the bag (light colored denim strip cleverly labeled “Pockets”), a chalked line to indicate where the bottom of the rear section is, and another pocket that doesn’t quite fit into the picture. That pocket to the far left in Image 3, had a pocket (orange) on its exterior.

4. Rear section closed; front section opened to expose front lining & pockets.
5. Front section showing pockets with flaps turned under

The pattern plan for pockets is lacking. It calls for a couple of exterior patch pockets and interior patch pockets. I decided to put in pockets on all 4 interior sides (front and rear sections) that ran the width of the bag.

On to Image 4, from left to right, there is the wrong side of the rear section (just like Image 2.), the rear flaps (skinny purple, broad orange), the chalked “bag center” line, snaps, a section of lining, an orange pocket with 3 inch to 4 inch pockets, a section of lining (bottom of rear section), and running off the page, another pocket. I used 2 snaps, instead of 3, on this side, and the pockets are the same fabrics as the exteriors of the bag. The pocket fabric is interfaced.

Image 5 (right, under Image 4.) shows the interior of the front section (aka lining, right side) unfolded; the flaps and the rear section are folded under. From right to left, there are snaps, lining section, big zippered pocket with a pocket behind (i.e. the top isn’t sewn down), lining section (bottom of front section/big pocket), orange pocket (pointed in the opposite direction of the zippered pocket), lining section, snaps, chalked bag center line, and the closed rear section with rear flaps hanging off the table/out of the picture. Whew! The zippered pocket is lined.

6. Rear section open to show interior pockets

Image 6 (left) shows the interior of the rear section. From right to left, there are snaps, lining (dark, striped denim), a pocket (light denim), lining with a chalked line to show the bottom of the rear section, a pocket strip with an orange pocket appliqued to the exterior of the pocket strip, lining, and snaps.

And so that’s it for the the lining of the Phlipphlap bag. My next sewing post will feature the exterior piece of the bag.

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