02 July 2008

Refashion 1: Messenger Bag from Shorts

I found Wardrobe Refashion a couple of years ago. I admired their goals and really, really wanted to "take the pledge" but knew I wasn't ready to give up buying new clothes. As I've sewn more and been increasingly dissatisfied with the quality, sizing, and selection of RTW, I now feel more ready to take the pledge. I emailed Nikkishell, the admin and mastermind behind Wardrobe Refashion, to sign up several weeks ago and didn't hear back till last night, when I received my invitation to be a guest author on the Wardrobe Refashion blog.

Fun! Since refashioning according to their pledge is part of my Mid-Year resolutions, I'm all set to go. First up: turning some cotton/ nylon ripstop shorts of Louis' into a messenger bag.

Last fall, I sent these shorts to preschool as part of the required change of clothes we parents of little ones send Just In Case. Amazingly, Louis never needed them, so they were returned to me at the end of the school year in the very same ziplock bag I sent them in many moons ago. Of course, they are a size 3T and much too small for him to wear now (lucky he didn't need them, right?). There's something about these shorts that are so bright and cheery, and obviously the fabric can take a beating, because I think he was 2 years old when he first started wearing these and they still look brand new.

I'd been saving them for a project, and here we are. Like many kids, Louis is a treasure hunter. When we go on walks, we sometimes spend much more time nosing around, exploring, digging in the dirt, rather than actually walking. These shorts have two nice zippered welt pockets, which seemed a good idea to keep for those tiny crystals. They also have two pseudo-gusseted back pockets, for the bigger rocks and maybe a pen or pencil. I wasn't sure what to do about the strap -- make it out of the self fabric or go with a cotton webbing from my stash? Come on, it's just a messenger bag! Make a decision! OK, go with the self strap.

The hems were nicely double topstitched so I cut them off, picked apart enough of the seams, and sewed them together and used this piece as the strap.

When it came to the curvy crotch seam, I admit that really, really wanted to unpick the flat-felled seam, sew it straight, and re-flat-fell it... but knew that if I slowed down too much I might not finish this project. So I "pleated" the crotch seam down. I did nothing fancy with the new bottom hem of the bag -- just a simple straight stitch and a zigzag to help with fraying.

I really wanted this to be a good project for Louis and me. They were his shorts and they were going to become his new bag. He LOVES to use scissors so after we measured and marked the cut lines, I handed him the scissors. He said goodbye to his shorts, actually waved, and made the cuts. The he got really sad and needed a hug! Almost cried. I was so surprised -- never imagined he would feel so strongly about refashioning his clothes. But I think he likes his new messenger bag and will start to develop some good memories carrying it around. Especially if I fill it with candy.

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