Friday, April 27, 2012

Finished (Kind of): Buttercup Bag

I've never been into purses. Growing up, I saw them as being difficult, not only because you had to carry them because girls can't carry wallets (or maybe my jeans were too tight?), but there was all the added pressure of making sure it looked good so you could fit in. Not that you could ever truly fit in when you're a teenager, but everyone wants to at least stress out about it and try, right?

Anyway, in college, I was left out because everyone started carrying designer bags. The affordable ones were SO UGLY and the ones I adored, were of course, way out of price range. But because I really wanted one, I ended getting a Coach bag as a gift for Christmas (thanks, ex-boyfriend's mom!). I carried it everywhere. I actually still have it and it held up pretty well. So maybe it is worth the money?

I was planning on a nice photoshoot
in the park, but it's been cold and rainy.
Forgive my appearance.
Anyway, it didn't work ALL the time because it was brown and purple and I needed something black as well! So I used up a gift card and bought a cheap-ish purse on Amazon. It served me well until I finally decided to toss it. I don't mind things falling apart, but this purse just looked so sad. Conveniently, a friend just gave me a Kate Spade purse to replace it.

Which is what I'm currently carrying until it disintegrates. But for some reason, I want to branch out and carry something else. It sucks only have 2 options. I like the bright red color of the Kate Spade bag, but sometimes I don't like carrying such an expensive purse. Or one that's that large.

I saw this purse on Pinterest, and I was immediately intrigued. Perhaps with my newly developed sewing skills I could make a purse? Plus, the pattern was free, so how could I go wrong? (Ha!)

It said it only used a fat quarter. At the time, I wasn't aware that was a proper sewing term, so I bought half a yard. I'd rather be prepared, just in case. Plus, I'm pretty sure I'm going to use all my scraps for SOMETHING. Just have to figure out what.

Anyway, as I was cutting and tracing, I had a revelation.

My fabric was muslin, and I couldn't use it. I was so upset because it's this bright green/blue color and I had visions of running around in the park with it. Regardless, I figured it would be good practice anyway, so I continued to make the bag, just very sloppily. When my matching thread ran out, I just used white. I didn't care that one of the handles' stitching was visible, or that the decoration flap wasn't finished, had holes, and just flapped back and forth. I was pretty proud of my first effort at a handbag.

Even though I sewed the other side of the strap to the seam allowance, somehow this side was wrong. And I couldn't figure out how to fix it! I was going to add a bow or something to hide it, but that didn't work at all.
My sad decorative flap. I thought about fixing it. Or maybe making it a little smaller, with better edges, and perhaps with some buttons, but then I just decided to remove it.
Then I had a friend over for dinner, and she looked perplexed when I explained my actions, and said, "This isn't muslin. Muslin isn't usually a color, anyway." Curses. Another friend confirmed.

So I went back and added some lining. I could have taken it apart and done it properly. But who's going to examine the inside of my purse, but me? So it looks a little nasty. I did try to take some silk and go around the exposed edges at the top, but that didn't really work.

A quick peek inside reveals some nice lining. (Also looks a little dirty, no?)

A closer look reveals my laziness. Sure, I could have taken it apart and added the lining properly when I found out it wasn't muslin, but where's the fun in that?
But generally, from the outside, it looks very cute, and it fit my wallet, book, and keys, so I don't really care.

However, when I carried it for the first time, it had some issues. The handles started to come loose and the zipper looked like it was also ready to jump ship. Luckily, it's an easy fix. I just wonder if there's a way to avoid that in the future?
One handle coming off.

Two handles coming off.
Something strange is happening with the zip. I blame my machine.  More on that later.
All in all, this was a pretty successful first purse, I'd say. Clearly I have some more work to do, but remember, I cut corners on this because I thought I would just throw it away. I can sew better this. I promise!

I REALLY want to get some heavy duty gorgeous fabric and make it into a fancy purse, but that will come in time. As for now, I'm happy to carry it around like this. Seems perfect for summer!


  1. From the pictures that fabric looks like some kind of polyester-linen blend. Try home decor fabric next time. It's a lot sturdier!

    1. Good idea! I grabbed it because I liked the color, but I definitely need something sturdier.