Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yet Another Purse

Yes, I know. I do a lot of them. If it helps, this one wasn't for me. I donated it to our local library's silent auction. Sadly, it only went for $12, which is way under what I would sell it for if I were inclined to sell purses, but it was very well loved.

I made it specifically to tempt one of the librarians who loves my handmade purses and has been wanting me to make her one for over a year. She also loves feminine things including ruffles. So I did ruffles with a vengeance.
Yup. Five. I wanted double gathering so the width of the bag is 1/4 the width of the fabric I was working with minus the seam allowance. That's 11 inches because I was working with 45" wide quilting cotton. I made a rectangle 11" wide by 8" high. (my bags have to be rectangles. I don't like square bags. they don't look right.) Then I grabbed a plate out of my dish drawer to scribe the curves. I kept the plate edge 1/2 in from the edge of the bag to allow room to sew the handle into the bag later. (See photo below) Then I added the seam allowance to the entire pattern.

The ruffles are 45" long x 2.5" wide. I sewed them in a loop and hemmed each side, serging before the hem to avoid the nastiness that is a handkerchief hem. I determined that the ruffles should be 1.25" apart and marked those lines onto the pattern fabric so I could transfer the placement lines to the fabric. It made it a lot easier to sew on the ruffles. I divided the loop into quarters and marked those points with pins before gathering to make it easier to get an even gather all the way around the purse. (Fold in half. Mark the ends with pins. unfold, match the pins in the center and mark your ends with pins again.) I sewed the outside together before I placed the ruffles. It made it more difficult, but gave me a fuller ruffle.  You can use this couching method to sew your gathering stitch.  It's very easy and makes gathering this much fabric quick and easy.

the inside pockets are two rectangles of the second contrast fabric cut 11x6.5" and hemmed on one end. Just decide how you want your pockets to be divided and mark and sew those lines. I always do at least two skinny pen pockets because I hate digging around in my purse for a pen. Be sure when you sew the pockets down you reinforce the top edge well. I always do the first 1/4" in a very tight zigzag then switch to a straight stitch for the rest.

The oval bottom is the hardest part. I used an architects' flexible curve ruler and drew out one quarter of an oval 5.25" long. I just eyeballed the curve to be sure I liked the shape. Then I folded the fabric and traced out the rest of the oval, adjusting as needed with my ruler to be sure the circumference stayed 22". Then I traced out a second line out from the first to create my seam allowance. I was really proud of my oval because it worked perfectly without easing and without adjustments. :)

The strap pieces were cut 24"x1.5" and sewing down each side with 0.25" seam allowances. Don't sew the ends. I always pull an interfacing that's the width of the finished strap through the strap after I've turned it because it gets rid of the bulk of a heavy interfacing in the seams.

This bag was lined with canvas for stability and strength.

I know reading directions can be confusing without pictures or video. I'll see what I can do about putting together a pattern making tutorial as soon as I can. (No promises on time line. I'm pretty busy for the next couple of months.)

ETA:  A step by step tutorial with pictures on how to make a very similar ruffle bag out of three fat quarters is here.  

Friday, October 8, 2010

Miche bag cover!

I'm so excited! I finally took the time to get a pattern worked out for my Miche purse. Isn't it cute? This is design number two actually. The first is flat wrap around cover. If you are familiar with Miche bags, you know the type I'm talking about. I liked it ok, but I'm much happier with the end covered style of cover.

There are still a few tiny issues to work out. One being the interfacing/reinforcement issue. Miche uses some kind of very stiff cardboard, so you can't wash their covers at all. I found this out the hard way and now have a corduroy cover that has to be repaired. Very sad. I loved that cover. I used needlepoint plastic canvas in this one and it's not bad. It's still not quite what I need; it's a little floppy for this use. It has to be very stiff to hold the cover tightly against the purse.

The flowers are hand sewn simple gathered fabric flowers. Just the finishing touch it needed. I bought the fabric because I loved it and didn't think about clothes it would match. I went through my closet last night and discovered three shirts that weren't plain white that do match and I have a shirt that's been in my to be finished pile for over year that's the perfect color of yellow. What a great discovery.

Next up is new black handles. It would be best if I had a black base for this cover, but I don't, so I'm going to buy some fake leather at Jo-Ann to make a new set. They will be a proper length unlike the set I have now. I may leave this cover on a lot just because I like the handles better.