Monday, April 13, 2009

No Longer a Slave to the Handbag Industry

One of my favorite crafting blogs to read is Tiny Happy. I love how so much of Melissa's projects are made from vintage materials and things like old curtains. I find this consistently inspiring. As much as I love buying and using all the brightly colored designer fabrics, turning something old into something new really gets me excited.

Ever since first turning on a sewing machine last year, I'd find myself from time to time over at Tiny Happy looking at the shoulder bag tutorial. I wanted to make one so badly, but just wasn't at that stage yet. Until Sunday evening.

I taped together some newspaper and drew up a pattern for the bag, (loosely) following Melissa's measurements. I cut my fabric and slowly started sewing the pieces together. I expected this project to take me a few weeks. I had no idea I'd have a new bag in less than 24 hours.The most exciting aspect of this bag, is that none of the fabric cost me a dime. It all came from Freecycle a few months back. The woman who gave it to me was clearing out her sewing space to make room for a home gym. She invited me and a few other Freecyclers over to dig through her stash and take what we wanted.

The outer part of the bag came from just a small piece of heavy duty cotton (possibly cotton canvas?) that I'd been hoarding, waiting for just the right use. I didn't have enough of it to make the straps so I used some brown corduroy. When I originally received it, I had no idea what I would end up doing with two yards of poo-brown corduroy, but have since found that it's really nice in small doses. (You may remember me using it for these pillows.)

The lining is blue and white seersucker. I initially had about five yards of it, but now only have some large scraps. What that means is that the lining of my purse matches numerous items I've made while learning to sew.....cloth napkins, pillowcases, a few things in my daughter's closet, etc.

Another exciting thing about this bag, is that its bottom corners are "boxed." (I realize this might only be exciting to me.)I've been trying to grasp this whole "boxed corners" thing for a while, but always end up frustrated. Melissa's instructions are so clear and they totally demystified the process for me, I honestly feel like a bit of an ignoramus for not getting it sooner.

The only true error I made was when cutting the corduroy for the straps, I inadvertently made one a wee bit wider than the other. (This is what happens when you cut fabric while watching Family Guy and drinking a second vodka tonic.) It really was no big deal until it came time to sew the two straps together, making one. The area where they met was kinda ugly. To remedy it, I made a strip of fabric from the same material as the bag, and sewed it around the offending area:Here's where I got super lucky. When I put the bag on, that contrasting strip lays right in the middle of my shoulder. So instead of looking like a mistake hider, it just looks like I'm really creative and wanted to add extra interesting details.

There you have it, my first shoulder bag.I'm dying to make another one, probably in colors and fabrics more appropriate for spring. But until then, screw it....I'm carrying this one! I live in Florida, the land of jorts and dirty tank tops--no one in my world has any business judging the colors of my shoulder bag.

22 comments:

BloomingAlmond said...

It's pretty good!! :D

Dawn said...

i love it!
You're awesome!
Go Tiger!

Miss D. said...

I love it! I'm so inspired. I may have to check out that post, myself! But first... baby quilt. I'm scared.

Tammie said...

tania: thank you!

dawn: thanks! you're awesome too!
i'll ignore the last remark!

miss d: thank you. quilts scare me too. the amount of work involved in them is so immense. i hope you post pictures along the way.

Mari said...

Oh I love it! I have got to try this, I am a bag freak!! Well, bags, shoes, purses, hats- accessories freak would be more accurate!

CT said...

Hey! that is a very nice bag!!! I like it a lot, and the colors make it so versatile! You have got me thinking that in all these years, I've NEVER made a bag... mmmmmmm.... you've inspired me!

Tammie said...

mari: i had no idea you are an accessories freak. good to know.

Betts said...

Beautiful bag. I'm glad I'm not the only one guilty of CUI (crafting under the influence).

Tammie said...

thanks betts. and honestly, if it happens between the hours of 8-11 PM, im usually doing it under the influence, if ever so slightly.

:)

Carla said...

Very nice! Drinking and sewing could be dangerous your know...

melissa s. said...

adorable! (the bag, that is. not the 'jorts,' but thanks for extending my fashion vocabulary)

earthmama said...

Totally awesome! You are making the greatest stuff! I'm loving it! Your links to tutorials (AND GREAT ADVICE)& such are also really great- saves me the time to do all that research on my own! You're a gem woman! Thanks so much for sharing!
Off to shop my dwindling stash of fabric for this pattern! Actually think I may repurpose a thing or two instead...we'll see!
earthmama

Maria Rose said...

That looks great to me! I love re-using fabrics and other odds and ends.

kraftykash said...

OMG girl! You are sew creative...I mean that! I can never get the boxed corner thing, so I always give up. Im kind in non creative mode at this point. That was very inspiring. Sport it, flaunt it, cuz I love it!! :)

Tammie said...

earthmama: if you do end up making this, id love to see the finished product.

kash: thank you. :) the tutorial i linked to really makes the boxed corners a piece of cake. if you're still interested in boxing, i definitely recommend checking it out.

Shalet said...

Wow - excellent sewing! I am inspired!! I love the fabric!!

Becky..AMHW said...

Much of my sewing is from free fabrics. I've inherited stashes from so many people. Usually ugly stuff that they figure I can use...and I can.

I just finished a carmen miranda. The ruffles are made from an inherited dark blue swiss dot fabric. I had at least 6 yards of it. No one wants to wear dark blue swiss dot these days for everyday. The fabric would make depressing curtains.

I got my grandma's double knit loud pastel floral print polyester with tinsel in the knit. Sewed up great, lol.

beautythatmoves said...

tammie it looks fantastic! i love your fanbrics too. there is no stopping you now...

Tammie said...

thanks heather. i definitely feel like a whole new world has been opened up to me.

hester said...

Wow! Gorgeous bag, you clever woman. I especially love the brown corduroy - very cosy.

I'm planning to buy a sewing machine and make some quilts when G starts school in a few years. I went in to the local quilt shop last week to check it out and said to the lady "See you in 2012!".

Tammie said...

ha ha..you crack me up. and yeah id probably get more sewing done if the kids werent around.

tammiemarie said...

i just stumbled upon your blog - love it! always happy to "meet" another tammie, especially one crafty like you!