Another Halloween Handbag

Finally, it’s the black purse that’s been on my to-do list for about a year. This is another Date Night bag, and the fabrics are the same as the ones I used for my Halloween Essential Wristlet.

Modifications from the pattern were:

  • Make the front pocket a zipper pocket (with a horizontal opening this time)
  • Add an interior zipper pocket
  • Replace the strap with loops and D rings

Not much else to say about this one!

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Oh, yes–I picked up this delightful skull charm at the Texas Renaissance Festival last year. Isn’t it great?

Halloween Essential Wristlet

A tiny purse/wallet has been on my list for a while–something for traveling that will hold my phone, cards, and cash, but that doesn’t take up much space and will slip easily into my carryon. For a while I was looking at wallet patterns, but eventually I realized I really needed it to zip shut and, well, a simple zipper pouch just made the most sense to me. (I contemplated zip-around wallets, but it seemed like they would be awkward to open without possibly spilling cards everywhere….)

But, you may ask, you ended up just making a pouch with boxed corners, why did you buy a pattern? Aren’t there like a million free tutorials online?? Sure, but the Essential Wristlet pattern has a lot of great information and tips, especially if you’re relatively new to bag-making. And it turned out great!

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I made the small boxed-corner version with a card pocket and these additions:

  • a zip pocket on the outside
  • a zip pocket on the inside
  • a second D ring on the other side so I can attached a cross-body strap (the hardware matches a long strap I’d made for another bag–hurray for mix-and-match straps)

To make the zip pockets, I followed the instructions from the Dottie Vintage Bag (I’m sure one could find a tutorial for that online, though!).

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Here’s a look at the lining pieces with pockets before they were sewn up since you can’t really see them in the finished bag:

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And how much do I love this fabric?

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The outer is Riley Blake Lost & Found Halloween Newsprint Black and the lining is Timeless Treasures Gather Together Metallic Harvest Bias Plaid Orange Fabric (which doesn’t seem to be available anymore, alas).

The size is perfect–comfortably fits my iPhone 5 (in its case), keys, cards, cash, and maybe chapstick, but that’s it. I can’t wait to use it on my next trip!

Date Night Bag

Apparently I’ve become someone who makes bags. This one is the Date Night purse pattern from Dog Under My Desk. Outer fabric is Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements Wallflower Ledger Multi and lining is Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements Wall Flower Tiled Green.

As usual, I made some modifications: I turned both pockets into zipper pockets! I just feel that zippers are so much more secure. (I thought about just putting a flap with a magnetic closure over the outer pocket, but it seemed like adding  a zipper would be just as easy, so why not?)

For the interior, I used the existing interior pocket pattern piece and cut it with the long end on the fold, then followed the instructions from the Dottie Vintage Bag pattern. That worked perfectly.

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Then I did something completely different for the outer pocket–put a zipper going up one of the front side seams. This involved cutting out three of the middle front piece (2 lining, 1 outer), narrowing the outer piece and one lining piece, and inserting the zipper there to fill out the width again. That was done basically by treating it as though I were installing one side of a zipper pouch, if that makes sense. Then I basted that to the other lining piece (linings together) and treated the whole thing as one unit to finish constructing the front.

This process wasn’t that difficult…except that I kept calculating how much to remove from the side incorrectly. Argh! At least these are all fairly small pieces, so I had plenty of fabric to cut more.

I also lengthened the strap a bit, based on another shoulder bag I have–but now I don’t think that was necessary. I wish I’d gone with the other modification I was also considering: just installing D-rings and then making two adjustable straps with swivel clips (one short for shoulder wear, one long for cross-body).

The good: The pattern itself was great–very thorough instructions with lots of clear photos and illustrations. I rarely had to puzzle over something for long to figure it out. I like the clean, structured shape and the fact that the main compartment is fully closed with the zipper. The size is just about perfect for me (now that I’m no longer usually carting around paper books).

The not-so-good: My machine HATED sewing through all the layers! I broke one needle and bent two more before I was done (yes, I was using the recommended needle size!). To sew up the main zipper ends, I had to literally hand crank my machine–it refused to sew through all of that, with the result that the ends turned out a bit wonky, but there was no way I was going to redo them. I also didn’t find it nearly as speedy a make as the reviews said, though maybe that was because my expectations had been raised by those reviews. 🙂

Glenda Convertible Clutch in Skeletal Toile

This isn’t the bag I intended to make. See, I decided about a week ago that it’d be useful to have a tiny bag–just big enough to hold my phone and wallet–for an upcoming trip. It would be something I could use as a purse, but which could also easily be stowed away in a backpack (aka my “personal item” for carrying on the plane). In my mind, a “clutch” is indeed a tiny bag–and this pattern is a “convertible clutch,” so, hey, it would have a shoulder strap! (I don’t understand the appeal of having to carry clutches in general, so I wouldn’t have been interested if it hadn’t included a strap.)

But, uh, turns out other people’s definitions of clutches don’t necessarily match mine.

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Yeah, this bag is much bigger than I’d intended, and then I went and made it out of a cream fabric, which means I’m not so inclined to cram it into another bag and risk dirtying it.

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THAT SAID. This is a super cute bag! It doesn’t match anything I own, but what a fun fabric, right?? This is an Alexander Henry quilting cotton (Midnight Pastoral Toile in cream), lined with a plain natural muslin. Delightfully, everything used for this bag came from my stash except the pattern and the hardware (D rings, swivel clips, and magnetic snap), so at least I didn’t waste a bunch of cash on something that may not turn out to be so useful. (The interfacing and stiffener were not exactly what the pattern called for, but I think they were perfectly adequate substitutes.)

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Obviously, the sizing issue is merely  due to my laziness in not reading the pattern (which does say what the finished bag size will be). I found the pattern–the Glenda Convertible Clutch from Swoon Patterns–pretty easy to follow and my only deviation was adding that bit of lace on the flap. (I do rather wish Swoon had included a photo of someone holding the bag on their product page so I could’ve judged the size that way, though. That’s why I included that photo of me above.)

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Oh well! I don’t know what I’m going to do with this thing, but I kind of adore it. Also, I’m learning that bags are a GREAT way to use all those wonderful quilting cotton patterns that I love, but that aren’t so useful for clothing.

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I still might make some kind of gothic lolita skirt out of the rest of this yardage, though….

Anyway, this will probably be my last post for the year (there have been many snafus with acquiring fabric in the last month and a half, so no new garments at the moment). Happy holidays & see you in 2016!

Dance Shoe Bag

Finally! A bag for my (relatively) new dance shoes. As you can see, it’s the same fabric that I used for my Dottie Vintage Bag.

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Same lining, too, of course. Everything used in this bag was from my stash.

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I didn’t follow a pattern for this one, just measured around my shoes and added a couple of inches, then made a rectangular lined bag with a strap. It’s got two compartments: the main one for the shoes and the front one (with the gray zipper) for cribs, phone, etc.

Dottie Vintage Bag

The strap hardware on my regular bag broke recently, so I used this opportunity (*cough*excuse*cough*) to make the Dottie Vintage Bag I’ve been planning.

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Outer fabric is She Who Sews Vintage Canvas Black.

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Check out that tape measure ribbon I used for zipper pulls! Perfect, right?? I picked it up from my favorite trim store, Pacific Trimming. I also used a two-way purse zipper, though the pattern didn’t call for one.

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Lining is She Who Sews Tape Measure Red.

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It turns out this “red” was a bit too orange for my taste, so I used some generic gray gabardine (probably 100% polyester–from some random fabric store in the Garment District) for the handles and piping. But I think I like it better with the gray anyway.

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The pattern has just one pocket–the interior zipper pocket. I added three more: two interior slots for my iPod and a pen, and one exterior patch pocket with a magnetic snap for my MetroCard.

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I don’t sew non-apparel items often, but I’m pretty pleased with this. The pattern wasn’t difficult to follow; the only part that ended up being really tricky was attaching the main body pieces to the top/bottom piece (which is joined in one big loop at that point). I wonder if there’s any trick to sewing two pieces together that are meant to be at right angles from each other. I also found that the CraftFuse didn’t want to stay fused (maybe I didn’t iron it long enough?), so next time I use it I’ll machine baste around the fused pieces, too.

This is also the first time I’ve made piping! It could be tighter; just don’t look too closely, okay? 🙂 It was easier and less tedious than I though it’d be. Maybe I should try to incorporate it in garments more often.

I wish I’d added a cross-body strap so it’s a bit more useable for me. Even though I used the longer strap length, they’re really too short to comfortably fit over my shoulder. Next time!

Other Sewing Plans for 2015

Aside from the Wardrobe Architect Challenge, I have a few other things I’m already planning to make this year. First, I’d like a black handbag–I’m debating between these two patterns:

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Dottie Vintage Bag Satchel Bag

I already know what fabric I’d use for the Dottie (outer and lining–awesome, right??), but I think the satchel would be great in a gray/black tweed. Maybe the Dottie for spring/summer and the other for fall/winter? (I’m currently using a brown satchel that I like a lot, but it’s faux leather and developing cracks, sigh.)

Next, I’m hoping to take a trip to the UK this year, so in preparation:

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Passport Wallet

I also have at least one or two formal dance events, for which I will probably be making new dresses. One I definitely want to make is this:

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Butterick 6019

I’m thinking brown satin with a dark green tulle petticoat. Accessorized with leaf and/or flower jewelry, of course. And perhaps a matching bolero for dinner. (Look, my last few gowns have been all sparkle and glitter, so I’m toning it down for this one.)

For less formal dancing, I’m planning this (short version) in blue-and-white gingham:

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I also recently bought new dance shoes (ghillies!) and they don’t fit into my old shoe bag. So a new shoe bag is definitely on the schedule.

Finally, I love to make historical clothes at any hint of an opportunity to wear them. Unfortunately, what I really want to make is an 1880s mourning dress, but I have no events to wear one to! I have all of the patterns I need and I’ve already made a combination, corset, and bustle. (Though I kind of want to make a new corset . . .) Anybody know of any appropriate events in the NYC area?