Monday, February 1, 2010

Fabric Handbags

I am delighted that I finally got around to making fabric handbags this weekend! Never mind that I spent the entire Friday night deciding on fabric and bag designs. I could not find what I was looking for amongst my patterns so I browsed on Flickr for a while and saw some great designs. This bag is based on a ladybug shaped bag I saw but I made many changes.

I added quilting wadding to make the bag soft and thick and used thinner iron-on interfacing than I normally do. I found a roll of the interfacing in my closet and decided to try it. I was very impressed with the results. I normally use the iron-on quilt wadding for my bags or a thicker iron-on interfacing that seems to make a lot of creases. This one is just perfect for bags. I also added an overlay of the lining fabric with piping and a little pocket. I was too lazy to cut the bag front piece so I just stitched it over the bag front. This caused all sorts of problems sewing over the piping! Reminders of the Amy Butler Weekender Bag came to mind... not good memories!
I also wanted to make a bigger bag and looked through my previous patterns I made. I selected this lovely Amy Butler fabric that looks best in bigger patterns. Whilst looking through my patterns, I discovered this pattern I drafted a while back. I made it to fit this metal purse frame I bought long ago. Perfect for this bag I had in mind.

I decided to add a large front pocket to the bag with piping. I must have had the Amy Butler Weekender Bag on my mind! At least this bag was without the heavy interfacing and bulk. My poor machine has just been serviced...

I decided to add a structured base and purse feet. This is the first time I used purse feet. Looks nice, I think! And not difficult at all, especially with the new plastic mesh I used for the bag base. I think it is used for gardening (vegetable gardens) and is sold by the meter on rolls at the hardware store. It was inexpensive and cuts easily. Works well.

I haven't inserted a purse frame for quite a while, and never a big one like this before, so it took me a while, and lots of patience and swearing! It was also a battle to select lining fabric. Amy Butler's fabric tends to only match with... Amy Butler fabric. So I selected an old piece of fabric lying around. Not a great match, but it works.

A crappy pic, but here is the final bag. Lots of pockets inside just how I like it. I also wanted to sew clothing from my new patterns I recently bought, but never got around to it yesterday. I had grocery shopping to do and plenty of laundry. I hope to share more bags and clothing later this week. Hope you all have a great week!

*Updated: Just in case you are interested in the inexpensive plastic mesh I used for the bag base, here are some pics of it.

Here it is rolled up. It is 1m wide and you buy it in metres at the Hardware store. The plastic is very flexible, yet firm, and can easily be cut. I cut it with normal scissors, no problem.

Here is a close-up of the plastic mesh. Looks like wire, but is plastic and very flexible. The hardware store salesman told me it's normally used in vegetable gardens. Not sure I have seen it in any garden before, but it is in the same section as the chicken wire and shade netting. Hope this helps you to find a local alternative. I am unable to find the stuff crafters in the US use for bag bases, so had to find an alternative. This works!


Gingini said...

Hooray! You finally are back to sewing bags! I realy,realy love the last one you made! :D
I see, you work the same way I do, searching for patterns, fabric, lining. Changing patterns and using what is available. I don't know what plastic mesh is, so I'll find out. Everything will be cheaper than the stuff they sell in the quiltshop!

Gingini said...

Thanks! Looks like great stuff!
Now I know what I'm looking for. :)

Kate said...

I LOVE your second bag! I have never tried to insert a purse frame before, but it sounds like alot of work. Great idea with the mesh for a bag base. When I first started making bags I never put bases in them...they all turned out flimsy :-/.

sewkalico said...

Great bags! 2 more for your collection!!

jacqueline said...

Your bags are gorgeous! I am so in love with your Amy Butler Weekender Bag with metal purse frame! Really gorgeous! Oh and thanks so much for sharing your tips and tricks on that plastic mesh you used for your bag base! Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!

Eunhwa said...

Hello! I found you through Jacqueline's blog. I love your bags and the U.K. magazine Sew Hip seems to be really neat. I must try to get a copy.