I actually took the photos for this post when I took the photographs for my last post about 10 days ago. It's taken me this long to get round to writing about the photos, but I am pretty proud of this project.
The project is my new Summer handbag. I know it's nearly the end of the Summer, but I started planning for it as the beginning. The bag is made using some black denim I picked up in the remnants bin at Fenwicks and some great fabric I picked up at Poppy Patch. This trip to Northamptonshire with my friend Rach, was fun, even if the shop was tiny, and it was made totally worthwhile with my purchase of the accent and lining fabrics for this bag.
Isn't this fabulous? It's not my usual taste at all, but there is something about it that makes me smile. I think all that mid-century modern stuff all over the internet has seeped into my brain and altered my tastes slightly! The fabric is produced by David Textiles and is from the Victoria and Albert Collection - The Grand Tour. This particular fabric is called Birds/Green.
The lining is from Makower UK, and is from the Woof Collection, called 347, Abstract Squares. I think this is discontinued, so I will try to pick it up whenever I see it, as it is very versatile with the different tiny specks of colour. I was happy to find a version at Poppy Patch that went with the accent fabric.
What you can't see from this photo is the glints of metallic gold that hide in amongst the coloured squares. What you can see from this photo is the zippered pocket that I installed. Installing a zippered pocket was probably the most useful techniques I learned from Lisa Lam's Tutorials and book. I love having a zippered pocket inside a bag to hold my keys and my tablets, so I don't have to go fishing around in the bottom of my bag.
This bag is a similar shape and style to the Oversized Fashionista's Hand Bag from The Bag Making Bible by Lisa. I actually drew the pattern pieces myself, which I was quite proud of.
The bag flap was made separately from the body of the bag and then stitched on to emphasise the accent fabric. I used darts to give depth and emphasise shape.
I'm quite proud of my increased ability to actually match up my darts. This has only just started happening!
This bag was designed to be a much more manageable size than the Oversized Fashionista, which had a large volume that tempted me to over stuff it, until the stitching gave way. This is narrower, but still has a decent height to it.
As you can see in the above photo there is another use for the accent fabric. This is my cunning plan that I had been plotting for some time. I use my iPod Touch, when I go out on my scooter. When I get to the shops I have to take the earbuds out to hear the person on the checkout. When I do this I nearly always end up dropping them and they hit the floor. My brainwave solves that problem! I made a zippered casing up the front of the bag strap.
The zipper is open ended so I can open up the casing to slide the wire inside. I can then zip it up to hide the wire. This helps stop it from catching on things too.
When the wire is zipped up inside the casing, the earbuds can hang free without fear of them smashing or getting lost.
I am very proud of my invention! I had intended to add a pocket at the end of the bag for the iPod to slip into, just below the zipper, but the bag wasn't deep enough. If I was to try this concept again, I would make a gusseted bag which would be deep enough to fit an extra pocket on. As the flap of the bag has gaps at the edges, the wire fits quite comfortably through the opening, from inside the bag, which holds the iPod Touch.
The actual bag strap is adjustable and I am still in awe that my sewing machine can actually stitch through several layers of denim and fusible fleece.
I made the strap the wrong width because my basic maths skills flew out of my brain. Once again I blame the drugs. I was once good with maths, I got an A at GCSE you know! Basically I forgot that when you are making a binding style strap you need to quadruple the width required to calculate the amount of fabric to cut. I only tripled it - doh! To stop it being too ridiculously skinny, I just folded the outer edges in by about a quarter of an inch and then folded the fabric in half lengthways. It wasn't perfect, as it the sliders are too big and the strap isn't as cushioned as it could be, but it seems to be doing the job so far.
The other thing I would do differently with this bag is to make the wire casings wider so they could be attached to the back of the strap, and then folded round to the front to be held in place by the zipper. With this bag I simply stitched them in place on top of the strap. Changing it would hide the stitching on the reverse of the strap, which is bright green on this bag! It doesn't bother me enough to rip it out and start again, but I would change it next time.
Other than that, I'm pretty pleased with this bag and I would make the basic shape again as a quick bag, but without the wire casing. Like I said, I want to try that idea with a gusseted bag next time! There's no such thing as a perfect handbag, but I'm going to keep trying to find it.