Ahhhhh handbags … I LOVE sewing handbags. The wonderful thing about sewing all types of bags is ONE SIZE FITS ALL Yippee! So no fiddly fitting 🙂 The first bag I made last year was a wonderful free pattern from Dixie Mango which is still available here
I loved this bag. I used it every day for months. It eventually fell apart because I had used a very strong magnet snap and the cotton lining didn’t stand up to the constant opening and closing (which was a good learning experience) I was particularly pleased with the inside zip pocket and how the lining I used peeks out around the zip. The instructions for making these type of pockets and lots of other bag making shenanigans can be found in the brilliant Bag Making Bible Before I tackled another handbag I made a knitting tote from a pattern I found here on Etsy. I may be the world’s slowest knitter and I don’t knit very often so this bag sits on the floor gathering dust but it makes me look industrious:
I also took Annie Unrein’s craftsy class which was loads of fun, sewing with plastic and mesh etc. You’ll notice there’s no photo of my finished project – that’s because sewing with plastic and mesh etc is pretty tricky and even with the lovely Annie’s instructions my travel organiser has been consigned to the ‘prototype’ bin. I then went on to make a second handbag. This pattern was a bit more advanced, I downloaded it from Chris W Designs It was super complicated! Cutting out all the pieces alone took me nearly a week (not constantly, I do work for a living!) It has an inner zip pocket, an inner pouch pocket, two outer side sections, two front button pockets and two elasticated side pockets. And I discovered something I didn’t think was possible … you CAN have too many pockets on a handbag! Most of them are empty, I have nothing to put in them!
It’s a fun bag, I get complimented on it a lot, but I was not as happy with it as I was with the Olivia. For starters the Crayola coloured corduroy was not really what I had in my head. I was thinking of a sort of faded, hippy, 70s vibe – not the ‘My First Handbag’ look I ended up with. Secondly, it is annoying to carry. I don’t like shoulder bags. I don’t think my shoulders are wide enough for them so they are forever sliding down my arm. I should have thought of this before I made it but I didn’t. Sewing it was great fun though. One of the best things about sewing bags is that a lot of the work is done with the bag inside out. Then in the final stages you pull it all through and right-side out and TA-DAH! like magic, you have a lovely lined bag. Adding hardware is also very satisfying; hammering in rivets, using metal and magnets etc. So I have decided the time has come to revisit Olivia. This time I am planning on adapting it a bit, adding some hardware, using a zip closure instead of a magnet popper. I have the fabric on order and have started by making a rough prototype. I needed to do this to figure out how to add in the zip. I got the instructions from The Bag Making Bible again and I think I’ve got it but it was a bit of a brain strain!
So watch this space for the next stage …..