Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Bag, a Tag, and a Nickname

Bags like this are a labor of love, taking dozens of hours to knit, an hour or two to felt, and several more to design and sew a lining. They are the ultimate in relaxing knitting - no pattern, no rules, just create a palette and start knitting. Throw in some shaping, increase here, decrease there, change a color, and make an edging dictated by how much yarn you have left. (Don't save the i-cord handles for last. You might not have enough yarn to make the two long pieces needed. Ask me how I know that.)

I already loved this bag and wasn't aware that I could love it even more until I was asked if it could be monogrammed. Ok wait, back up. Not just any monogram, but the nickname Nanchantress. Nanchantress! How great is that for a term of endearment? Annachantress. Doesn't have the same lilt, but I could ask everyone to give it a shot.

While I have a nicely equipped sewing room, none of my machines embroider beyond the basics. My friend Eleanor, however, has a Bernina artista 640. It is a sewing machine with magical computer capabilities, allowing her to do crazy things like scan a picture/resize it/embroider it onto fabric. Hands-free, while she sips a coffee and watches it work. I'm pretty sure it vacuums up the room when she finishes. She was, as usual, willing to help. We brainstormed and came up with a plan for a luggage tag for Nanchantress.
It was fascinating to watch Eleanor and the Bernina work, so I started taking pictures with my phone to show my husband so I could start dropping hints document the process.

I will try to walk you through it with a minimum of pictures (phone-quality, sorry). Before the actual stitching she had used her software to find a luggage tag shape, decided on the font, and digitized the design. 
Eleanor sprayed some temporary adhesive to my white fabric and placed it on a hooped piece of stabilizer.  She used a grid to mark what would become the center of the design.

Bernina drew an outline box, which would later be satin-stitched, and Nanchantress emerged from the needle.
The hoop was removed from the machine and a piece of lining fabric was placed, face up, on top of the design. The original outlining box was stitched on this fabric as well as a larger outline of the tag itself. Eleanor cut along the original box, below, revealing the name.
See the outline of the luggage tag shape, before trimming?
Bernina satin stitched the small box.
At this point Eleanor trimmed along the perfect satin stitching then turned the whole thing over and affixed a piece of lining fabric on the back of the hoop, creating a sandwich of my lining fabric on both sides, and Nanchantress in the middle. Again the machine stitched the larger outlining box, and Eleanor cut away the excess in order for the machine to satin stitch the edges.

The machine stitched perfectly along the edges, then went back and created an eyelet along the edge, which I later cut to insert a swivel hook.

Front and back, the finished tag. Notice the eyelet in the picture below, on the right, with a tail still attached.

A beautiful finish to the bag; a lovely gift. I have ordered a few luggage tags for myself now, after seeing this one!

Nanchantress, enjoy!


Kathryn Ray said...

Now that's pretty cool. I love that the tag matches the inside fabric.

I may have to start dropping some hints of my own. ;-)

Mia said...

Really cool! Amazing technology and smart people with good ideas :)are a good combination.

Anna said...

Thanks guys! I understand Nanchantress loved the bag and the tag!

DS1SO said...

Love that bag, love that tag!

Joy said...

Great bag and the tag is the perfect addition.