Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

Beginning the Metro Hipster Bag

Beginning the Metro Hipster Bag

I did eleven quarts of tomato sauce yesterday.


And while waiting for the tomatoes to cook down enough to process, I started working on the Metro Hipster Bag by Betz White. I decided that I would make a single-color version using some brown waxed canvas. I need a simple, sturdy bag, nothing fancy.

This is going together surprisingly quickly. I thought I would just start the bag with the front pocket and see how far I got. The Singer 78-1 has gone back to Tommy—although he’s willing to share custody with me and said I am welcome to use it whenever he doesn’t need it— so I’m sewing on the Necchi industrial again.

The pocket didn’t take long. I kept going and added the D-ring hardware at the base of the pocket:


I decided to rivet my straps instead of sewing a box with an X to attach it to the front. One of the pattern testers did this on her sample bag and I liked the way it looked.

I dipped into my stash of Tim Holtz fabric and found the perfect print for the lining:


Old yardsticks. I love this. No one may ever see it but me, but it makes me happy.

By the time the husband got home, I had finished the tomato sauce and also the front of the bag:


The back of the bag was simple, made in exactly the same way as the front without the pocket.

I need to work on the lining and the recessed zipper top next. That may have to wait a few days, though, because I had to order the zipper. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I am never going to be able to make a bag that doesn’t require ordering some material or piece of hardware. This bag calls for a 10” zipper. No one around here sells 10” zippers. I could use a longer one and cut it down, but I want to use a metal zipper, not a nylon one, and cutting down a metal zipper is more difficult than just ordering one of the correct length. I get my zippers from the ZipIt store on Etsy. The inventory is awesome and the owner is willing to put together custom combinations of colors and lengths. When I made the Betz White Ravenwood Messenger Bag, I contacted ZipIt and she found the 30” zipper and the two 7” zippers I needed in the same color.

[This is a conundrum I am not sure how to resolve. Designers often have access to a wide range of materials and can design what they want with oddball sizes and shapes of hardware. It may not occur to them that some people may have trouble sourcing the needed supplies. A few designers, like Anna Graham of Noodlehead and Klum House, put together hardware kits for their patterns that include all the necessary parts, and that’s helpful.]

I am also going to re-design the interior pocket. The pattern calls for a padded inside pocket with a top Velcro flap for holding an iPad. I am going to change that to a simple slip pocket with a section to hold my phone. I’ll probably rivet the strap tabs, too, to carry that design element through the rest of the bag.

This will work. My purse doesn’t need to be fancy, just functional. And rustic matches the rest of my wardrobe.


Late in the afternoon, I heard a knock on the door and opened it to discover Elysian’s little boy (he’s almost 6) standing there holding this:


He was helping his mother dig potatoes in their garden and thought this one was bizarre enough that I should see it. They were going to make mashed potatoes out of it for dinner.

I left my car at church on Sunday after the service. The husband picked me up in his truck and we went to get the black plastic, after which I retrieved my car. I was supposed to follow him home, but halfway down the road connecting the church road to our road, I saw a couple of turtles trying to get across to the other side. (There are a number of ponds along that road.) I did not want them to get run over, so I pulled in to the nearest driveway and got out and moved them to safety. The husband noticed that I was no longer following him, so he called my phone (which I did not answer because rescuing turtles) and then turned around to come back and find me.

“I saw the turtles and I figured you would stop and move them out of the road,” he told me. (He knows me so well.) I got the requisite lecture about messing with the Prime Directive and how I was probably skewing the gene pool by saving animals that were destined for a different fate, but I cannot help myself. He said he hopes those turtles get into a hole and are ready to hibernate before it snows this weekend.

What I am Reading

What I am Reading

Happy Fall!

Happy Fall!