Today’s piece is the most obnoxiously aromantic of all! The Aro Bag is a wildly unsubtle expression of aromantic pride, useful for special events and gaming alike–thanks to a removable, adjustable ribbon strap.
You think that’s a lot of aro? Wait until you see the other side!
The grey satin ribbons can be tied in bows at each side of the bag to pull it closed–or gathered together and tied at the front. The green grosgrain strap can be shortened to make a long handle, expanded to over-the-shoulder or cross-body lengths using the slider, or removed entirely, via the loops set into the bag’s side-seams. At 18 x 14.5 cm, it’s both an oversized dice bag and a small pouch: big enough for my phone, wallet and keys, but smaller than most handbags.
Why such multi-functionality? I play (casual) Magic the Gathering … and it’s a struggle at places not my kitchen table to gather up my deck, water bottle, playmat, dice bag and other ephemera between rounds. (Because of chronic pain and autism, my hands suck at grasping, holding and carrying.) A wearable dice bag, with a cross-body-length strap, gives me one less thing to handle when moving tables! Of course, I couldn’t undertake such an effort without also showing off my devotion to green, white and black … and my aromanticism.
(White, black and green are, for not-aromantic reasons, my favourite colours in MtG. I’m also really fond of +1/+1 counter shenanigans. Yes, Atraxa is my favourite commander! So I appreciate a thematically-appropriate dice bag–with space left for more grey and gold dice.)
This bag is stitched on an 18 x 38 cm swatch of 18-count aida and is lined with white interfacing. Each cross uses two strands and is worked over two blocks to create a large, obviously cross-stitchy effect. Backstitched outlining also uses two threads over two blocks. A mix of Sullivans pack thread from Lincraft (medium and darker greens, grey) and Stitch Garden pack thread from Spotlight (the lighter green) served as reasonable flag-stripe matches. (Both the aforementioned packs contain black and white floss.) If I were to remake this bag, I’d use three strands for the crosses, so whole skeins are a must!
I used Offray ribbon for both the threaded satin ribbon and grosgrain ribbon strap. The black trim and eyelet lace came from my second-hand lace stash. The grey ribbons are finished with a mix of Lincraft and Hama brand iron beads, as these offered the widest range of colours. I found the strap hardware–the slider and two bra clips–in a dollar shop bra extender set, but both should be available at most sewing or haberdashery shops.
The bag is a simple pocket with a top folded hem and side French seams. I treated the raw aida edges with clear nail polish to prevent fraying before stitching. The eyelet lace is tacked to the top of the bag and threaded with two lengths of satin ribbon to create the drawstring effect. Two pieces of white ribbon cover the tops of the side seams, forming a small loop for the strap’s bra hooks to slide into. The handle/shoulder strap is made the same way as a removable bra strap!
Usually when I create something new, I provide a tutorial. Due to mistakes and ignorance on my part, I want to road-test a mix of adjustments and improvements before offering up a final pattern. This bag, despite being small in size, is no small project–so if you’re going to devote hours of cross-stitching to creating my design, said design should be as polished as possible. I needed a fortnight just to stitch the word “aro” sixteen times…
(Yes, one “R” is missing part of its outline stitching. I of course caught and fixed that error … after photographing.)
Additionally, I like to create tutorials using cheaper, accessible materials. The eyelet lace at local craft shops is twice as wide as my 90s-era eyelet lace, so I want to lengthen the fabric above and below the text to fit said wider lace onto the bag. (This will also stop the top row of text from scrunching when the bag is pulled shut.) I’m also unsure that working on 18-count aida over two blocks was the best way to create larger cross-stitched text, so I’ll be stitching panels on 14-count and 11-count aida to test for text size and layout. Finally, while white aida is accessible, it doesn’t create a bag ideal for regular wear. I’m probably going to save this one for pride events for fear of smears and stains!
If you can’t wait for my final tutorial, however, you can create my design with my original five-stripe aro text patch pattern:
Remember that you’ll be omitting the background, so each word is ten blocks high–and twenty blocks high when worked over two blocks on 18-count aida! My design leaves eight blocks’ vertical space after text and ten blocks’ horizontal gutter between text. To stitch, I ironed a hard crease at the centre fold and began with the black stripe on the bottom row ten blocks above the fold.
That’s it for this sneak peek meets project rundown! I’m looking forward to starting work on a new and improved design–but even if I consider the 1.0 version imperfect, it is a gloriously in-your-face pride display. (Ideal, if I may say so myself, for beating clueless alloromantics over the head with one’s aromanticism. And holding dice.) What more can any aro want from their pride wardrobe?