Back into a routine

Funnily enough, as nice as it is to have time off, I miss routine and productivity. If I don’t have some kind of plan, there’s every chance I’ll just do nothing all day. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s awesome to do nothing other than watch boxsets, but I thrive on doing things, moving and getting outside.

I decided a few weeks ago to get productive for a day. I do a bit of sewing now and again, and recently learned how to make a box hem bag, and I really wanted to see if I could sew a reasonable number in a day, to test whether it would be viable to sell them. If I could only make two in a day, and sell them for £10-15 each, it wouldn’t be worth it. If I could do five or six though, it might – especially as I would hope to get faster.

I had all my fabric ready, and at 8:30 I set up all of my kit – sewing machine, sewing box (with fabric scissors, needles, pins, cottons) and the fabric itself and set to work. Rather than making one bag after another, I had decided to work on six bags at the same time, with my thinking being that it’s probably more efficient to do all the cutting, then all the straps, then all the bag pinning and so on. I mentally set myself time targets whilst working to keep myself going, for example to cut all of the pieces (outers, linings and straps) within an hour. My targets were a little over optimistic at times, but they helped me to stay focussed and I adjusted them as needed.

The first thing I did was cut all of the fabric, then I decided to sew the straps, thinking they’d be fast so it would mean I could get one part finished quickly. Unfortunately, they turned out to be the most time-consuming part of the work, but eventually they were all pinned and sewn. The next stage was to pin then sew all of the outers, then put in the box hem, then to do the same with the linings. These bits were much quicker than expected, so I managed to make up some time here. I had a few sewing machine issues to deal with along the way, which took up a bit of time, but managed to fix them all and keep going!

Once all the inners and outers were sewn, they just needed pinning and sewing together, with the straps put in. This took a while, as I really wanted to make them incredibly neat and make sure all of the edges joined up properly.

I sewed these together and have to admit, I left it here for the day. A few days later, I tied off the ends from the final bits of sewing from my ‘workday’, then did some reinforcing, to make sure the straps are really securely stitched to the bag. This was fiddly as it involved lots of stopping and starting to turn the machine, and that has to be done four times per bag, but it didn’t actually take too long and it is really quite important. It just means that if you’re carrying heavy items, the strain isn’t all taken by one line of stitching around the top of the bag, but by a large, stable amount of stitching on each strap. This will help the bags to last longer and maintain their integrity.

So far I’ve made a bunch of bags (in three different fabrics) that I intend to give to friends and family as birthday and Christmas presents, but I am seriously considering selling them. I doubt I’d sell many, but even if it was just a few at a craft sale of some kind that would be pretty cool. I’ve sent one to my mum to use so she can do market research for me and give me feedback! I definitely need to practise taking pictures…

I’m trying to get back into a routine again now in preparation for (hopefully) starting a new job in the next few weeks. I’m getting up early to do yoga and doing my runs later in the day, in an attempt to make my exercise routine more similar to what it will be when I’m working. My hope is that by doing this now, it will be easier to continue it once I’m working full time and I’ll fit everything in around work. More on that later…

Would anyone buy one of these bags?

What types of fabric would you want to see?


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