Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The next several purses

After those two purses, I felt a tad defeated. The purses I had sewn were nowhere near what I had envisioned. When I looked at the purses, all I saw were the mistakes. It is only now, with perspective, that I can appreciate the purses I started out with.

For awhile, I took a break from sewing (like a week or two at most). But, it wasn't too long before I started to conceptualize how to modify the patterns I had made. I kept envisioning fabrics and designs and had big dreams. Everyone was so encouraging and reassured me that I was an artist and artists never like their work. I'm quoting others, of course. The labeling me as an artist is something I'm not quite comfortable with even now.

Now, it's hard for me to remember exactly the order I made these next purses. It's kind of like trying to guess the order humans evolved in. I can only guess, but I am 75% sure that these are the order they went in.

All of these were inspired by another pattern or purse I had. I was running blind as a novice sewer trying to make her own designs.  Guessing measurements and execution were not as easy, which I should of learned by then. None the less, I learned a lot from each one. I've also decided to give each one a festive title in case I have to refer to them in later posts.
That's just how I roll.

The Pillowcase Purse

The purse on the left is one I bought from Target and at first I didn't like how everything in it bunched together. I had to dig to find anything in it, but for whatever reason, I'm still in love with it.
So, I figured once again "how hard could this be?". Well, not that hard really, but I made so many stupid mistakes. This particular design is a marriage of The Horrendous Pattern Purse and the purse on the left. There are two pieces sewn together at the top and the body is sewn on second, just like my good friend Horrendous Purse. Again, hard to tell but the next ones will show it.

I did get a lot of compliments on it and even inspired one guy from my work to make his own!

If you couldn't tell by now, I love lists. So here is a list of things I learned:

1) When designing my own purse, accounting for seam allowance in all parts is very important. As a result, there is an accidental pleat in the middle of the bag that doesn't really go well. A pleat happens when you have excess material when you get the end and you have to bunch it up, resulting in an accidental pleat.
2) Never, ever line a purse with dark fabric. You will not be able to see anything in it.
3) Make sure the opening of the purse is big enough so you can easily search through it
4) Make sure to check the seam lines of the outside part. Sometimes, it looks like crap.

The Rick-Rack Purse

 Yet again, a purse I owned inspired one I designed. This is a purse I bought cool fabric for, envisioning one thing and getting another.

The purse on the left was a huge favorite from Target (so was the Pillow Case Purse inspiration) and this is where I actually started thinking about how easy this one too would be to make. So, I roughly copied the shape, did the two pieces in front and added a magnetic snap. AND RICK-RACK!

What the hell was I thinking? Once again, I was thinking "Ohhh, rick-rack, very retro". No, it looks stupid.
I also decided to use flimsy interfacing, probably because I was broke and couldn't afford the Pellon stuff that makes a purse stand up. I honestly don't remember but I do remember hating it. I still hate it. It's a really crappy design.

Lessons I learned:
1) Magnetic snaps need re-enforcement and are often have too strong of a magnetism
2) Don't use dark fabric to line a purse (you see what I mean when I say I make the same mistakes over and over?)
3) Rick-rack is like Kim Kardashian: no one knows what the hell they do and we serioulys contemplate if they have a function.

The Most Liked Purse

After all those problematic purses, I finally had a successful one. The purse on the left is The Horrendous Pattern you saw before and the one on the right was the accumulation of all I learned.

Here is the best picture for the two pieces on the top sewn together, but I also did that for the bottom. So there are four pieces on each side. You can tell because the flow of the print changes four different times.

This one turned out really great. I made it out of a pillow case too and the lining was scrap fabric I had that worked perfectly. I tried several new things, one of them being the four pieces sewn together. I also:
1) Used ribbon for the closure (inspired from the black and purple Target purse from above)
2) I made a wider strap that would stay on my shoulder better
3) I folded the lining over the edge of the purse and used it as the edging

Here are some better pics of the purse that I have on Facebook:
Now, despite my love and the huge amount of compliments I got for this purse, I still had my qualms with it:

1) Purses need pockets
2) The strap is too wide
3) The lining was too big

The Purse I Thought I Would Get More Compliments Than I Actually Did

I Love argyle. It is just the trendiest print and really gives a purse an elegant and expensive look to it. But, it is hard to find in your local anywhere. I had to compromise but I thought it was still a pretty damn nice print. I want to say this was inspired by a coach purse my sister-in-law Alexis has but I'm not sure. Just the design of the purse, obviously not the fabric.

This photo was taken right after I made it, so this is the purse in it's full glory. I still love this purse, I think it's beautiful and I knew that once I wore it out, I was going to get compliments left and right.

I was wrong. I never get one kudo or comment on this one. Nothing. It kinda broke my heart. I had the fabric perfectly straight! I mean, you can see near the edge how the triangles are perfectly cut when they meet the white bottom! But, still nothing. No one saw what I saw...

This shape is just like The Most Liked Purse, but a different design. I also added a pocket! Oh la la! I used jean material for the bottom and coated it with scotch guard, which I lost right after. But I digress..

I also contemplated a zipper for this one, but when it came down to it, I couldn't conceptualize how to put it in. I have only recently done a clutch with a zipper and it took me a few brain storming sessions to work it out. In the end, I went for the ribbon closure stand by.

 Things I learned:
1) Argle prints like this one are easy to cut straight because you can just follow the triangles
2) One strap on a purse sucks
3) The baggy lining problem had to be fixed (which I won't figure out for a while).
4) Ribbon closures are starting to be stupid

Well, there you have a bit of evolution. I gained a bit of confidence in my sewing skills but still only saw all the flaws of each one. It was at this time everyone was telling me to start selling some, but I didn't (and still don't) have the faith that anyone would buy one. There were too many problems to sell these things to innocent buyers who were looking for quality. And mine weren't quality. Plus, after I sew a purse, I want it for myself as it is made to suit my tastes.

After The Never Complimented Purse, I got tired of that pattern design but was at a loss of a new design. I realized that even though patterns were confusing, they still were all I had to go off of. I kept envisioning different fabrics and seeing what I wanted to sew but had no idea how to go about sewing it.

I soon found a new pattern that changed up my designs and wasn't a nightmare to follow.

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