Thursday, March 15, 2012

New skill tackled

I love learning new stuff.
More than that, I love learning how to do new stuff.  Case in point:

I made a purse!!!!

Okay, I'm not putting Kate Spade out of business, here.  This is not a great purse.  It was, however, a great learning experience, and a bit of a personal triumph.  While, I'm not completely satisfied with this purse, I am sufficiently satisfied with the process to assess the attributes and shortcomings of this purse, and apply that knowledge to another one.  Which I have all ready cut out.  Seriously, I won't rest well until I have ironed some things out.  Really.  I can't explain it.  The cans of soup in my pantry are alphabetized, and I can't explain that, either.

The pattern I used is the Verona Bag by Pat Bruno.  I bought the pattern, a few more purse patterns, and the hardware needed at The French Knot, an adorable quilt shop in Nacogdoches.  It's tucked away on Main St., just off Nac's downtown square, and totally worth a visit the next time you find yourself in East Texas.

The fabric was purchased many years ago with the intention of using it to make a vest to go with a coral silk noile dress that I no longer have. [s*i*g*h]  The lining and cording were left over from other projects, long forgotten. (I never throw away scraps larger than 2in. sq.)  The interfacing is from Fashion Sewing Supply.  I must segue a little, here; and offer an unsolicited endorsement.  Pam Erny is wonderful!!!  My daughter asked for her interfacing advice on my purse project's behalf, and Pam contacted me with some great suggestions.  I screwed up and ordered a different interfacing than the one she suggested for my purse, and she sent them both!!!  That high level of customer service would be enough to earn my loyalty, and my praise!  As it happens, this is the best quality interfacing I have ever used.  I also ordered the interfacing sampler set, and I recommend that you do the same.  The website gives excellent descriptions of each interfacing's capabilities, but there is no substitute for holding and feeling.  Plus, I am finding that playing with the samples (generously sized) is serving as a springboard to creativity. I can't wait to use them all!!!

Now: back to the purse.  What would I do different??
Firstly:  I'd fuse the interfacing to the shell fabric, rather than the lining.  Because the pattern piece for the lining and the interfacing are the same, I fused the two.  This was not catastrophic for this bag, as the lining fabric was quite substantial (read: thick), but it won't work for most linings.  That aside, interfacing the lining, instead of the bag results in a floppy bag.  Fine, if that's the look you are going for.  For me  -- it wasn't.

Next:  I'd make more inner pockets, and I'd put one row of them in the correct spot.  I think I skimmed the instructions.  Okay:  I know I skimmed the instructions, and I misunderstood where the line of pockets goes.  Clearly marked on the pattern is a line for pocket placement.  Once I had constructed the pockets, I lined up the top of them with the placement line, putting the bottom at the bottom seam.  This made sense to me at the time.  Once the purse was done, and I started putting things inside, it was obvious that the pockets were too low.  I re-read the instructions (okay: I read the instructions), and discovered that the placement line was for the bottom of the pockets.  This makes more sense.  That said, I have decided that I want even more pockets, so the next purse will have a row of pockets where they are supposed to be, and another row of much deeper pockets on the other side.

And finally:  next time, I shan't screw up the flap/magnet thingy.  I was so proud of the ease, and beauty with which the two sides of the magnet sewed in, and lined up the flap with the body.  If only I had sewn the flap to the correct side of the purse.   Hence:  the button.

And yet, I like it well enough to happily use it, until the next one is done.
Look:  it holds all this!!!

Custom-made purse, part deux, coming soon.


  1. Yay!! You got a chance to sew!! The purse looks pretty darn awesome.

    1. Thanks!
      The construction took a month. Not that it should have taken more than an afternoon, but February was more of a traveling month, than a sewing month!!