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The Mystery “Bag” Challenge: Liz from Bitter Candy Handmade

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to the 1st big reveal!  I am so excited to share with you Liz from Bitter Candy Handmade‘s Mystery “Bag” Challenge creation today 🙂

So without further ado…over to the creator & owner of Bitter Candy Handmade!

I’m Elizabeth Gilmartin — Hi! — I’ve been sewing for 2 years now and it’s been a blast learning and exploring the vast world of needle & thread.

Where you can find me:
instagram.com/bittercandyhandmade
facebook.com/bittercandyhandmade
bittercandy.etsy.com

Let’s get to know Liz a little bit more before we have a look at her wonderful creation 😉

1. Describe yourself in 5 words…
Gemini, oblivious, artistic, maker, & photophile

2. Tell us something not many people would know about you…
hmmm, I’m really an open book but something you may not know is that
I unwind at bedtime by playing NY Times crosswords.. but I’m not very good so I stick to Mondays and Tuesdays lol

3. How long have you been sewing?
Since 2015. It’s been a quick and wonderful ride jumping into sewing… and it’s still going!!

4. Is sewing the only craft you spend time enjoying? If not, what other crafts help you pass the time?
Drawing is the one craft that I still go back to throughout the year; I make all my xmas and b-day cards. I love so many other crafts but the urges come and go: knitting stuffies and scarves, painting, origami, henna body art, baking (it’s totally a craft!) and even some macramé.

5. Do you only make bags? If not, what else do you enjoy making?
For the most part it’s all bags all the time! But I enjoy lil accessories and home goods like jewelry trays, rope bowls, and tassels galore. I think my 2017 experiment will be to try making some clothing! The idea of not having to interface before sewing is exciting, though slippery stretchy fabrics are a bit scary too.

6. What made you fall in love with making bags?
While I have always loved making things, the fervor inevitably dies off, or I’m so self-conscious that I don’t want to ‘put myself out there’. Bag making has been the only creative venture to grow stronger over time. It mixes my love of creativity and art with my love of details, organization, and a little math. Watching a bag come together is so fulfilling… I’m always left feeling so proud and accomplished when a new bag leaves my table!
And perhaps I just love seeing my pups ‘model’ for me ;P
     

7. What was your favourite item in the mystery bag challenge list? Did you use it in your entry? If not, why?
Not my ‘favorite’ exactly but I was most intrigued by the metal measuring tape. It is so unique and I figured in the hands of a weaver (aka not me), a really amazing tote could’ve come into being! I came up with my idea fairly quickly and just couldn’t think of a good way of integrating it into the design this go around (or perhaps I was just overwhelmed and wimped out ;P).

8. Have you got any exciting things coming up that you think would interest us? We would love to support you if you do!

Well I’ve had an Etsy shop name for years but have finally decided how I wanted to use it: for sharing all of my creations with the world! Over the coming months I’ll be working on some streamlining and adding some great new items that work great as a set. So keep an eye out <3

9. Which category did you decide to enter the Mystery “Bag” Challenge in? Why did you choose this category?
I chose to make an original bag.
I love following great directions that lead to an exceptional finish (and then possibly tweaking to suit my style)…but I thought I’d take the opportunity to make something from scratch with no pattern (talk about taking a jump off the deep end, which is a big deal since I can’t swim lol).

10. What is your favorite thing about your entry into the challenge?
The styling! It is just so utilitarian with clean lines and is oh-so-useful.
While I’m not in school and don’t have a classic ‘job’, this feels like it would be perfect for it. Plus, I love the contrast… not just the color, but also the smooth faux leather with wrinkled waxed canvas and all those shiny gunmetal rivets.

11. What did you enjoy most about the challenge?

That it was a challenge! I had to make plans, samples, and take risks hoping they’d pay off. And, turns out, they did!!

         

Ok…so your super lucky to have gotten a peek at Liz’s amazing creation…lets have a look at it in more detail…

(oh and if you want a little recap on what the challenge was and what items were on the mystery list, just click here!)

My starting point was that I really wanted to make a utilitarian roll-top bag. And what says utilitarian more than
waxed canvas? Have I done it before? NOPE, but I suppose a challenge is a good motivator to try it out lol.

So I made a beeswax and paraffin mixture, got out the heat gun and paintbrush, and went on an adventure! And I’d like to think it turned out pretty well too!

To offset the waxed neutral of the bag I paired it with smooth, black faux leather accents. The bag’s roll-top is secured with a d-ring and magnetic snap system. I love the different looks you get with the roll-top and adjustable strap!


This gives a few options… Cinch it tightly, cinch it loosely, or leave it un-cinched in case I plan on utilizing the space. And when un-cinched, the back pocket can hold the closure so it’s not flopping in the way. That means it is tall enough for books and a lil something on top like a sweater!

What kind of utilitarian bag is it without storage and compartments, though? The outside front has a zippered pocket that’s divided inside for more organization… and surprise, there’s another zippered pocket inside! Great for a bit more security for a phone or cash, or for a secret candy stash.

The lovely black faux leather overlay on the bottom continues up the rear to form a large slip pocket for easy access to a folder, magazine, etc.

Inside has plenty of room for notebooks, a big binder, pouches and more, and there’s a dedicated slip pocket for a large tablet (fits my surface pro 3) or other folders. A snap-closure tab holds it closed but it can be snapped to itself to keep it out of the way when not in use too.

The black faux leather accents and beautiful gunmetal rivets throughout give it that ‘hard polish’. The front grommet is a great place to clip keys, hand-sanitizer, or other small items; but to add a bit ‘more’ I made large tassel with some beading to give it a touch of movement and whimsy. With a roll-top bag I felt like simple well-placed extras really make this gorgeous and hope you agree! <3

See!  I told you Liz’s creation was amazing…I bet you can hardly wait to see the next one be revealed in a few days time 😉

Until then, happy sewing!
Emma

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