Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Easy Purse

Even after all the purses I had made and all the compliments and all the encouragement to sell, I still felt like I wasn't that good. Patterns confused me, I made thousands of mistakes during the whole process and every purse had at least 10 problems. To top it off, I was getting tired of my boxy purse designs.

Then, one weekend my Grandma, who also sews, found a pattern in a magazine that was soooo cute. AND I could read it and understand it! There were color pictures, concise directions. I was in love. Not only that, the pattern showed me a whole new way to sew a lining into the bag body.

I have taken the liberty of drawing a less than awe-inspiring picture of the way I was putting in the lining and the new way I learned.

Here is the old way:
Now, if you know nothing about sewing, this might give you a better picture of what I'm talking about. You see, in sewing you always put right sides together to sew and have the "raw" edges to face the "wrong side" or the part no one sees. So, here I have drawn what the purse looks like when you are sewing in the lining. I would place the lining inside the bag, right sides together, and sew the top around and leaving a 3-4" opening to turn the bag right side out.

 The problem with this method is that the opening likes to move around when you are trying to edge stitch it shut. Edge stitching is a tricky business and you want to make it as smooth as you can because it is decorative and makes the purse look finished. Sometimes this way is the only way to put the lining in, but it is the hardest way, in my opinion.

Here is the NEW way:
This way is easier because you sew the lining to the bag first, then sew the two big pieces to each other and leave an opening at the bottom of the lining. It really made a difference in the purse and this pattern was the least time consuming one I have ever made.
 The new way to turn the bag right side out wasn't the only new thing about the purse. The design was so cool looking and the pockets were on the outside! And, like a good little seamstress, I did a practice one first and I whipped it up in about 4 hours.

Here is the practice one. I really didn't think was all the pretty but it went together relativlywell considering I used nothing but the scraps I had attained from my mom and grandma.

Not only do you get to see the bag, but you also get a glimpse into my old room. Don't you feel lucky?

Anyway, you can really tell how different this purse is from all the others. There are two straps the go down the purse, which gives you a sturdy strap and several pockets on the outside divided up by the straps. All three prints seem to work together and my Stepmom liked it so much, she wanted one made just like it.

That marked the first time I'd ever been asked to make a purse specifically for someone else.

 I tweaked the lining so it had some of the strap material on the top part. That was actually because I ran out of pink fabric and had to improvise. Usually, improvising is where the most creative stuff comes about.

I another purse and ended up giving it to lady I worked with who had been helping and rooting for me since The Great Disaster. A lot of people asked to have this one, but I gave it away then posted it on myspace ( Facebook was barely catching on). I miss this purse and after seeing it, I think I might have to make another. It's one of the rare purses where I picked out fabric that really worked together that didn't come from my scraps.
 Now, I haven't written too much about the mistakes I made with the last two because those didn't have any that really stood out. But this one, I will call Harder Than It Should Have Been.

First, I didn't buy enough fabric for the straps. I had to go back to the fabric store only to find they did not have the orginal, so I settle for something similar. Obviously, I was not going to use two different fabric prints on the outside, so I used one of the prints for the backing to the straps. This one change added probably another hour and a half to my overall time. When sewing straps, I like to fold them up to about 2" and sew four lines to give them a finished look. However I have to do this four times.

Then, I also wanted to lining to be like The First Custom Made Purse lining with the two contrasting fabrics. Well, I did this but I didn't need to. I had plenty of fabric and not doing it would of saved me another hour or so. All in all, this project took me three days whereas the two before took me a matter of hours. After that much sewing, your brain is fried and sewing is the last thing you want to do.

Even though the lining looks awesome, it was a bitch to do.

 Lessons I learned:
1) When making a pattern twice the size shown, buy more fabric than you think you will need
2) Don't choose fabric that makes the pattern harder than it has to be
3) Straps are the least favorite thing about a purse

I made another pattern like this for a friend who needed a bag for her bible study books. I used this pattern because it makes for a super durable purse. The fabric she picked was the hardest I'd had to deal with at that point and it seemed like every time I went to work on it, 10 things went wrong right away. The fabric would move no matter how much I pinned it, the lining fabric also moved and frayed like crazy. I actually may or may not of throw the thing across the room after poking myself with a pin. It took me 3 months to finish that purse just because I didn't want to touch it. I hated it when it was finished. I thought my friend was going to be really disappointed. However, she loved it and to this day, that purse is still going strong. She washes it and gets tons of compliments and people never believe it's homemade.

That is the last I have made of that exact pattern, I do modify it later on though. The next series of purses are inspired by a patchy purse I bought on sale. None of them turn out how I imagined they would...

1 comment: