Thursday, March 17, 2016

Adventures in making a new bag

I have been longing for a new handbag for spring.  Since I started making them back in 2008 I have been carrying a handmade bag.  So I've been thinking that it was time to break away and give myself a whole new look on life and carry a leather bag made by someone else.

Christmas gift certificate in hand, I drove the 45 mins to TJ Maxx excited about the possibility of carrying around a bag that shouldn't take more than 10 mins to look at and decide it was right for me. (vs. the hours it takes to make one) I marched in on a beautiful spring day, excited, hopeful.  I walked around slowly looking at every bag and all their features.
Thinking as I went along...
too much hardware on that one
too big of a flap on that one
what the?
totally not practical....
At one point I felt like a country girl in the big city (I kind of am...).
Do people really carry these around?  Two thirds of the way through I thought, where are all the nice simple leather bags with a couple pockets on the inside? is that too much to ask?
Then I knew...that I was going to be making myself another bag.  I guess deep inside I knew that I could not betray my bag making self by carrying something made half a world away.  I had in mind the style I wanted but picking out fabric is the most daunting part of the whole bag making process for me.

Next stop - JoAnn's.

I am a, I have to see it, it has to catch my eye person.  If I think about it too much it feels like I've already been there, done that.  I second guess myself, then I just give up.  So I repeat in my head, see it, don't think about it too much, go with it.  There were two Ikats in aqua that were calling out to me as I scanned the heavyweights and that was that.  I quickly did an enie-menie-minie-mo and fabric chosen!

I still felt like I needed a dose of leather or something that made the bag a little different than my usual.  I could see a nice pair of brown leather handles to contrast the aqua.  Unfortunately our JoAnn's, for whatever reason, no longer carries bag making supplies.  Really?  Isn't this like the age of DIY and handmade bags?  Then it the lightbulb went off...

Next stop Goodwill.  I literally dug my way through the mountainous crates of bags and purses searching for a pair of handles.  There were actually a few options.  The hardware made my decision. And at only $3.50 I couldn't have bought a pair of handles for even close to that.  Now if I had only come on half price day.

Here we go!  Hideous bag with perfect handles plus Ikat fabric.  Here's the best part.  The total cost of my bag, handles $3.50, fabric 1/2 yard (reg $20 per yard on sale for 50% off) = $5, interior fabric (old sheet from Sally's boutique) the part I used was pennies so I'm saying free, interfacing $1.  Total cost of bag $9.50.  Plus there is enough Ikat fabric left for a couple zipped cases or a small bag which really brings the cost even lower.

And not until I saw this photo did I realize why this fabric stuck out to me so much.  I like aqua or turquoise, or sea green...whatever you want to call it.

I chose a very simple shape.  I started with 15" x 15" for the outside with 2" squares cut out of the bottom for a good sized boxy base.

The front pocket for my cell phone is a patch pocket cut 6" x 6" then pinched in the center base to make the top stay open a little.  I added a tabbed closure and snap.

The inside was a bed sheet from a thrift shop that I had in my stash and was the perfect match.  I added a band of exterior fabric around the top of the bag.  I always feel like this gives a more professional look.  There is a zipped pocket on one side.

And a divided patch type pocket on the other side.  The bag that I used the handles from actually gave me the idea.  These are more accessible than regular flat patch pockets because of the pleats and folds.

Usually I don't add a closure to my bag but I just felt like going for it this time so I added a snap there as well.

The one thing that I am kicking myself for is not adding a firmer stabilizer.  When I started I told myself I was going to add something really stiff like Pellon 70 but I was sewing this early in the morning before school and going out for the day and I REALLY wanted to get it done so I skipped it. It just has the Decor Bond/Pellon 809.  It's a little too floppy for me but hey I was able to have a new bag for the day.

I've been using it for a couple weeks now and I still really like it so I will be making more of these for sure.  

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