I have a confession to make. I have only used a sewing machine a couple of times and it was always with my aunt standing right next to me telling me what to do. However, I was determined to sew a gift bag for a friend and my aunt wasn't available. So, I grabbed the user manual for a Singer Quantum XL-100 that I was given to me by a lovely woman (who will go unnamed - but she knows who she is :).
I spent about an hour setting the system up on my kitchen table, learning how to wind the bobbin, setting up my ironing board, and learning the basic information I needed to know to sew my project. Then the work began. I know that it took me about ten times longer to put this gift bag than it would have my aunt, but I think it turned out pretty good for my first solo project.
I apologize for the lack of fantastic photography (I'll have to develop that skill later). However, I just LOVE this fabric and think the recipient will be please, even if there are a few not-so-straight stitched areas :). I'm going to try another one now that I know the process and know how to do a better job on it.
If you would like to try your hand at this gift bag, you can find the pattern and tutorial at Sew4Home.