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Mystery “Bag” Challenge: Jane from Smore House

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to the 1oth big reveal!  I am so excited to share with you Jane from Smore House‘s Mystery “Bag” Challenge creation today 🙂

So without further ado…over to the creator & owner of Smore House!

I’ve always been a bit of a quirky dresser and started sewing clothing as a pipsqueak. I did two years of business school before I got bored, moved to Florida, and graduated from art school with a degree in fashion design instead. After several jobs in the field (apparel design, fabric design, art direction) I moved back to the great state of Michigan where I fell in love with bag making. I currently divide my time between creating bags, sewing up dresses, and dreaming of my own fabric lines.
Let’s get to know Jane a little bit more before we have a look at her wonderful creation 😉
Describe yourself in 5 words…
Nerdy, Bubbly, Fashionable, Cat Enthusiast
Tell us something not many people would know about you…
People seem surprised when they find out I’m a major hockey fan. I try to watch every single Detroit Red Wings game each season. I miss a few, but not many.
How long have you been sewing?
Since I was little! I remember my mom buying me some muslin and cheap satin so I could make a renaissance fair type pattern when I was 10 maybe? It was probably terrible but I loved it. From then on I had my own machine and my mom would let me set up a sewing area in the dining room for weeks and weeks. I took my machine with me to college where the people who lived below me in the dorm would complain about the noise in the middle of the night! I definitely had a sewing curfew after that.
Is sewing the only craft you spend time enjoying? If not, what other crafts help you pass the time?
I knit, crochet, cross stitch, draw, paint, bake, and drink craft beer (does the last one count? It has craft in it but I guess I’m not the one crafting it).
Do you only make bags? If not, what else do you enjoy making?
I sew clothing and knit accessories (I’ve only finished one sweater, my sock success rate is much higher). I really enjoy making my own dresses to go along with my bags. Custom at every level!
What made you fall in love with making bags?
Story time: I had ordered a small project bag from a seller on Etsy and I wasn’t impressed with the quality. It was cute in the pictures but you could tell by the stitching in person that they just didn’t know their way around a machine. I stewed about it for a couple days and then started looking up indie patterns. I knew I could do a better job myself, lol. The first one I attempted was Andrie Designs’ Goin’ Uptown Tote and it was written in a way that was so easy to understand, especially coming from the world of clothes-sewing. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. It was a gateway drug. From there I went on to discover Little Moo and Emkie Designs and Emmaline and Swoon and Sew Sweetness and Noodlehead and so many countless others. I’m hooked!
What was your favourite item in the mystery bag challenge list? Did you use it in your entry? If not, why?
I really really hope someone uses the metal measuring tape just because I have no idea how it could be used! That was the craziest one for me. I thought about incorporating it into a pocket casing somehow to make some sort of snappy pocket closure, but I’m just not clever enough, haha!
Have you got any exciting things coming up that you think would interest us? We would love to support you if you do!
Stay tuned! Now that I’ve gotten a taste for making a pattern I might have a couple more ideas that I’m interested in getting out there!
Which category did you decide to enter the Mystery “Bag” Challenge in? Why did you chose this category?
I am in Category 1 for this round. I wanted this to be a selfish sew for me, since a lot of my bags are for customers these days.
What is your favourite thing about your entry into the challenge?
The simplicity! My goal was to take elements from the list and just use them in a very functional but beautiful way.What did you enjoy most about the challenge?
It was a breath of fresh air to do my own idea for no one but myself. I spend a lot of time working on getting my customers their perfect bag (which I absolutely love, don’t get me wrong!) that it was a fun change of pace to do a completely selfish project for myself!
Let’s have a look at Jane’s Mystery “Bag” Challenge creation 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!)

I was so humbled when Emma from Emkie Designs invited me to participate in this Mystery Bag Challenge. I still feel like I haven’t been sewing bags for that long although I guess it’s been a couple years now (weird how time flies). Either way, I was definitely up to the challenge! I do a fair bit of testing for other designers, why not try my hand at designing something of my own? Seems like something right up my alley!

Now, three months later, I have to say, my hat is off to all the established designers out there! This is tough work. This challenge had a specific list of parts and pieces that we could use in our Mystery Bag. Then a silhouette had to be considered. Features were planned from the parts available then pieces drafted, tested, redrafted, retested and so on. I must admit that I ended up back to the drawing board more than once! But I’m still here, with a finished product even, and I’m so excited to finally share my entry in the 2017 Mystery Bag Challenge!

Meet Lucy! She’s sweetly rounded, with sleek clean lines, plenty of storage, and at just the right length for crossbody carrying. Here she is made with Libs Elliot Bolt Thrower (from the True Love collection) and this amazing black and silver metallic cork. I’ve become addicted to cork over the last couple months and it was impossible to resist this combination. The challenge elements included are piping cord, D-rings, strap chain, and magnetic snaps but I’ve also snuck in some rivets and a silver zip end because I’m all about the bling.

I wanted the best of both worlds with a zippered main closure, but also a quick and secure flap pocket for smaller items in the front. There’s an additional slip pocket in the back that is closed with a magnetic snap for security. Everything here is finished with cork piping, which was much easier than I thought it would be to work with. I’ve never done a piping thicker than canvas, so I was a little worried, but my trust Juki cannot be stopped.

Inside the main section is plenty of room for everything I like to carry (wallet, keys, sunglasses, compact,…I’m high maintenance). There’s also an additional zippered pocket inside for extras like gum, lipstick, phone, what have you). On this interior I used this adorable Libs Elliot Static Age metallic lightning bolt print. Zip zap!

To finish it all off, I’ve made a shoulder strap piece out of the cork, and attached it with D-Rings to the purse chain. This way I have the durability of the chain strap combined with the comfort of a textile strap. I carry bags crossbody when I can and the length is just right for me to switch between one shoulder or crossbody. Versatility for the win!

So that’s Lucy, my 2017 Mystery Bag Challenge entry! I had so much fun making something specifically for myself while flexing some new design muscles as well. I feel like I learned a lot during the last three months and look forward to doing more designing in the future too!

See!  I told you Jane’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!

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1 Comment

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    Now it's your turn for the Mystery "Bag" Challenge! - Emkie Designs
    May 19, 2017 at 4:22 am

    […] Creation 10 […]

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