Thursday, July 12, 2007
I love to sew. Most of my sewing is related to work clothes since I love tailoring, but that usually requires a muslin, lots of fitting and lots of sewing both machine and hand. Sometimes I just want to sew something fun, which means no muslin & fitting. Since PR changed the rules on their contest and an accessory is now one required item, rather than count one of my jackets as the accessory, I preferred to sew a purse. Handbags are fun. They allow for creativity (even though mine leans towards a more classic, subdued approach), imagination, and use of scraps and stuff already on hand. I don't sew these very often, but really get into it when I do. They also provide much quicker gratification. I'm sure these reasons are some of Deepika's since she is the queen of purse-making.
I had scraps left over from my jackets, lots from the cotton one and a little from the black linen jacket. I also bought several yards of ribbon last winter from an on-line ribbon site--I could not stop picking out different ribbons, but managed to stop when I hit $45. Mind you I rarely use ribbon outside of gift-wrapping. But once again, I was inspired and let loose. Well the black and cream ribbon in my stash was so perfect with the scraps from these two jackets, I just had to make a purse. I still needed a lining, but thought why not a black check lining--then off to my least favorite fabric source, Joann's. Sure enough they had a great match. I also needed a pattern and did not want to spend a lot and there wasn't any sale that day, so Butterick was a good choice. I found B4474 which was just the right size of 10" x 8"--not too big. Then the search for handles--but the only ones they had that worked were bamboo, so my choices were limited. A couple weeks later I was at Fabric Place and they had totally different handles to choose from. I found the perfect little black ones. I'll just have to save the bamboo for another purse.
Last Saturday was a great time to start this fun project. I cut out the pattern and fabric, fused two layers of interfacing to the body of the purse even though the instructions only required one layer and off I went. I'm also glad I fused two layers, because it really gave the bag more structure. In fact I could have used a stiffer interfacing, but I used what I had on hand, since I did not want to drive 20 minutes to Joann's or Fabric Place just for a piece of interfacing. The pattern was well drafted, but the instructions were so-so. They really did not skip any steps, but I question if the bags on the envelope were made using the same instructions. The two major complaints about the instructions were that, first, the lining bottom should be sewn with a very wide opening to allow for the cardboard to pass through after the lining is attached to the bag. The illustration showed a small opening which would not work if you don't want to bend the cardboard. I used two layers of cardboard for more stability. Then the other problem was that after the lining was attached and turned right-side out with the bag, you are expected to understitch all around the top of the bag. This is a nearly impossible feat. I found top-stitching around the top to be a much easier way to go. Besides, the instructions had already had you top-stitch the loops for the handles and the tab for the snap. It just made sense to top-stitch again. I had recently purchased some sew-on magnetic purse snaps from Sawyer Brook which worked perfectly and found a button in the button stash which was a close match to the handles, just the right touch to finish this bag. Here's my PR review on this pattern.
Now I'm on the lookout for great fabric to go with those bamboo handles.