Appreciating Failure: Homemade Portable Pocket

When I heard about phone bandoleer bags, I realized I could really use one. I listen to podcasts while I do chores and was finding myself tied to wherever the phone was sitting. Most of my pockets won’t accommodate my phone, so making a portable pocket for it seemed like a great idea.

I hadn’t sewn in over a year and I didn’t have a pattern to work from, but I was making a very simple bag. I was sure I could figure this out. I made some sketches and measurements, picked out my fabrics, and got to work.

My homemade phone bandoleer bag, also known as a portable pocket.

To protect the phone from hard knocks, I made quilted fabric for my bag. I was convinced I needed two layers of batting instead of one to adequately pad the phone.

I was wrong.

Not only was the double-layer quilted fabric horribly stiff, it made for bulky seams. I couldn’t get the quarter inch seams I’d planned for and tried to fudge with 3/8th inch ones. The result was a bag that was too small for my phone.

Portable pocket in use

Initially, I felt horribly discouraged. I’d had the usual challenges of doing something I hadn’t done in a while, making lots of little mistakes as I reminded myself how my sewing machine worked. My free time for sewing was used up and the finished project had not turned out as planned.

I could easily have given up. Instead, I learned from my mistakes, adjusted my pattern, and tried again.

A single layer of batting would be fine, and cutting the pieces larger to allow for a bigger bag and wider seams (a necessity when sewing quilted pieces together) were both essential. My second bag came out fine.

Why had I failed? Because I was out of practice and because I was winging it. One of the risks of winging it is that you might fail. And I did. But that doesn’t mean I wasted my time, or even my materials.

I love bags with interesting linings.

I needed to make that first bag to see where the problems were with my ideas. The things I did wrong helped me to do a better job the second time. And the first bag, while too small for my phone, is the right size for a pair of glasses.

But even if I chose to throw that first bag away, I wouldn’t feel like I’d wasted anything. The time and materials I used to make it served me well, giving me a chance to practice my sewing and teaching me things I needed to know for my project.

You could call it a failure, but it was really just a lesson. How grateful I am that I can learn from my mistakes.

How do you feel about your sewing mistakes?

4 thoughts on “Appreciating Failure: Homemade Portable Pocket

Add yours

    1. Thanks. Practicing makes a huge difference with machine quilting! That’s why I’ve taken so many classes for it… to get some practice time in. When I have time to sew at home, the last thing I want to do is practice!

  1. I’m so glad you wrote about “failure” in your creative process. I must admit that I still struggle with failure… and have many opportunities to struggle.

    1. I know how you feel. We all make mistakes and it’s easy to get frustrated by them. I’m not always this kind to myself!

Tell Me What You Think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: