When I was a kid, my mom sewed a lot of things for me: jumpers, jackets, dresses, barbie clothes, halloween costumes (my favorite was the fairy godmother; it was pink and it had a wand! I was 5), and a quilt when I turned 18 (family tradition, my brothers each got one, too).
I always wanted to learn to sew, and Mom tried to teach me multiple times. Every attempt ended in a fight. My mom is a perfectionist; I am extremely independent, always have been. Mom wanted the end result to be flawless, which meant she did most/all the actual sewing. It was more important to me that I do it myself, even if the end result was a disaster.
Fast forward a few years; I'm in my early twenties and moving into my first place. It was a tiny apartment, but cheap and well maintained. The living room had a huge picture window. It was the only window in the living/dining/kitchen, so the size was nice, but I felt like I didn't have any privacy. Since I rented and the walls were brick, I couldn't install curtain rods or make any holes in the wall, so I had to jerry rig something up myself. Making those curtains were the first sewing lessons with my mom not to end in a fight.
It worked out pretty well. I sewed two curtain panels, one for each side of the window. I glued a 3M velcro strip to the back of the fabric, and glued the mated strip to the top of the venetian blind fixture. It worked out pretty well, and best of all, my landlord never found out!
A couple months ago, my regular purse started to fall apart. I had free fabric from my future-mother-in-law, a red and gold brocade design with elephants that she'd picked up in Paris more than 10 years ago but never used. I also had a book of patterns, One Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins. I chose the Folklore Bag (p159).
Ben's test of a good bag: Can I wear it on my head?