Sunday, December 16, 2012

Couldn't find one. Made one.

I came here to Trinidad without my two bags that have been traveling with me, one for a loooong time and the other only since April, but still to lots of places. I'm talking, of course, about my beloved Bodyshop bag, designed by my friend Karen Gómez, and my black and white Istanbul bag that I bought this spring when I went there with my best friend Carolina. 

They were both already very worn (the bags, not the girls), they wouldn't even come out clean when I washed them anymore. Honestly, they were actually pretty gross... Well, I decided not to take them with me. It hurt to let them go, but it was truly time. I figured, I'd come to Port of Spain and find a cute new bag that would be my new travel companion instead of the two old ones. ...Thus creating the perfect excuse to go shopping - something I don't usually enjoy, but sometimes the girl in me just takes over and then all I want is shoes and bags and nail polish! Nail polish!! (I get that anyways, no matter who's sitting at the steering wheel of my brain - a few weeks ago I actually spent 75 Dollars on nail polish in one go. Not US but TT, thank gods.) 

So, there I am, roaming the streets of Port of Spain, entering every single shop that looks like it might have some (any!) bags and what do I find? Exactly. Nothing. 

Then I sat down to think (because I really can't think standing up) and after a while came to the following conclusion: If I can't find a bag I like in any store, I'll just go and make it myself. 

Cos making a bag is, like, totally easy, right? Wrong, but still, I did it anyways. Step one was to go to a fabric store and get some nice fabric for my bag project: one colourful one for the outside and one matching plain-coloured for the lining. Yes, because I'm fancy like that. First bag I ever make in my life and it has to have lining. The next step was to figure out how to make a bag. My solution here: I'll just not google it or anything and just do what I think might work. Let's see what happens! 

This is pretty much how my life works. 

The outside fabric I bought is light with brightly coloured flowers - yes, perfect for daily use because it'll show every single little stain! But it's pretty and I like it, so shut up. It's a pretty thick material so I'm thinking it's probably meant for upholstery, but it works great here, because it makes the bag more stable. The inside is a thinner material in a beautiful dark red, combining with parts of the flowers. 

Gillian, who I was still living with at the time, is an avid seamstress and has everything you could ever need when working on a project like that, and she was so sweet as to let me use her needles and threads and scissors and measuring tape, etc. So I sat myself down and I actually did it, I made a bag. I had to ask for her help twice, because I wasn't sure how to make the shoulder strap and she saw me through that - with so much patience! - so there was no problem. It took me three days, if I remember correctly, and now that it's all done and ready I just love that bag so much. It's already been out in Port of Spain, it's gone shopping with me and it's travelled to friends' houses with me - never breaking, always holding my things for me and looking pretty. 

I know you're not supposed to be proud of yourself, but I actually am here. I've not held a needle and thread in my hands since primary school, other than for stitching up holes and re-attaching buttons and suchlike to my clothes, bags and whatever else might need fixing. I've never made a bag myself, I had no model to copy and nobody actually explained to me how it works (apart from the handle). So, yes, I'm proud. 

Not the best picture, but at least you see the bag properly.

I put in a little label with my butterfly. That means it's really mine.

I'm so happy with my bag, it's exactly what I wanted, exactly how I wanted my bag to be. And on top of being a good bag, it has the added bonus of making me feel good about myself because I made it. I made it! Various people have said it's pretty and well worked, some of them themselves really good at sewing. And here's my favourite part, I only used needle and thread. As in, it's handmade. Not with a sewing machine. Yay. Somebody said, that's impressive. 

And because that bag got me so excited, I went and bought more fabric and my own needles and scissors and a measuring tape and a little box of pins and some clips and thread in different colours and I plan on making more things! Not for myself, but for friends. Maybe for Christmas, which is coming up as people keep telling me, maybe just so. But I'm very happy and very excited about my ongoing arts'n'crafts project(s).

I even bought butter cookies so I could use the cookie tin as my sewing box.

Now that I write about my bag, I realize that I left it in a friend's glove compartment. Great, now I feel horrible! I put it in there so nothing would happen to it when we went to "kind of camp" in Toco last night and on the way back to my place this afternoon I forgot to take it out. I didn't mean to leave it, it's not like I just forgot, just like that. No. It was a stressful day and my head was just somewhere else at the time. But the bag... Now it's in there, all alone, probably feeling scared and abandoned. 

My poor bag, worry not, I'll come for you!! 

And you, worry not either - I'll be posting more stories soon. For example about "kind of camping" in Toco. And other things. 

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