I needed a new handbag and so I made one. I searched the internet for patterns and found one designed by Amy Butler, that was being offered for free through www.sewmamasew.com as a promotional device to launch Ms. Butler’s most recent DIY, sewing, lifestyle book.
I then searched for people who had actually made the handbag and found a few sites that were enormously helpful. The women who made these bags all offered very useful advice and shared images of their completed projects; many with progress shots. I didn’t photograph the process, but I did keep careful notes that I categorized as: My Alterations to the Design, My Deviations from the Instructions, and, finally: What I’d do Differently If I Were To Make Another Bag.
Here’s my completed bag:
I used a mid-weight printed canvas duck for everything..the exterior, the interior and it worked out fine. I applied two applications of ScotchGuard to the completed bag.
For those of you who may be interested in making this bag I offer the following comments:
My Alterations to the Design
- Altered the strap configuration, didn’t like the fussy, cutesy, arstiness of the original. Used metal D rings. Easier and, in my opinion, cleaner looking.
- Added small square of heavy duty interlining behind the magnetic snap closures for reinforcement and to avoid a cheap looking ‘pressure point’ on the inside flap, which would, inevitable come with wear.
- Added a snap on “key leash” attached to a key ring so I won’t have to dig around in my bag in the dark, shaking it for the sound of the jangling keys.
- Added pockets to the interior back lining to hold pens, pencils, small notepads, a small calculator, and business cards.
My Deviations from the Original Pattern (and Emphatic Suggestions)!
- Created separate ‘Oaktag’ (or cardboard) patterns for the Peltex pieces, to avoid the crazy, wasteful and labor intensive work of cutting the pieces twice.
- Used mid-weight ‘Home Dec’ fabric for exterior and interior and lining.
- Created transparent Mylar pattern pieces in order to lay out the pattern of the fabric and visualize the completed bag. This is particularly valuable if you’re using fabric that has a repeat pattern.
What I’d do Differently If I Were To Make Another Bag
- I would use a product called ‘fabric stiffener’ which is available to the trade for upholstery workroom applications. This would add body to the bag.
- Eliminate the Peltex for the divider panels. The fabric stiffener would do the trick and reduce the unnecessary bulk of the panels, make it much easier to sew and manipulate.
- Add an exterior pocket on the back for a cell phone (even though I don’t use a cellphone….but, sadly, that day of the electronic leash will arrive and I ought to be prepared).
- Secure the interior lining to the bag in a more serious way than that suggested in the pettern/instructions.
- Maybe allow for a wider seam allowance.
- Maybe make the bag slightly smaller (it’s a BIG bag).