Sunday, 17 June 2012

Fatten up hubby and bag yourself a new, erm, bag!

Okay, I'm not actually suggesting that you go ahead and feed your hubby to chubbify him in order make him throw out loads of his clothes under discrete duress so you can plump up your crafting stash.  Neither am I suggesting that mine is a porker - he just loves  a bargain: 'it was less than half price but I've never worn it'.....  I thought it was only us chicks that suffer from that philosophy!!!  But, thanks to his impulsiveness, I have a 'new' bag!
I love books and we have four 3" x 6" book cases filled with books.  Despite loving owning books, I still love my local library service because it allows me to try books without obligation, or indulge what may just be a passing crafting phase without forking out.  Although I love taking the kids to the children's section of the library, I don't like the scowls I receive when I try to look about the adult section ('adult' sounds pervy, but you know what I mean!).  We have a wonderful mobile library service that visits us once a fortnight, which I'm sure there are many available up and down the UK.  Oxfordshire library service has an excellent web interface that allows one to browse the entire county catalogue and even links to Amazon so the user can take a peek through the book.  A few clicks later and a small fee (£1), and the books of interest can be added to the mobile library round for convenient pick-up. 

I've always felt rather daunted by the thought of making handbags, in particular in the lining of them, until I came across this book by Emma Brennan (if you're interested in looking it up, it has ISBN 978-1-86108-502-3 and belongs to the Dewey Decimal classification 646):

I have to say, it hardly is a sewing book for the faint-hearted, but Emma Brennan does go into amazing detail about lining, zips, fastenings and embellishments.  What I love most about her book is the way in which she gets the creative juices flowing by (for many of the bags) using the same template but finishing them differently for two very unique looks.  You can probably tell from the photograph that I opted for 'Vivien'. 

Now that my little ones are out of nappies and I have them carrying their own snacks and drinks, it's high time I ditched the nappy bag and start something more grown-up.  I love that 'Vivien' is a fairly compact bag that is plain enough to use during the day but also feminine enough to use as an evening bag. 

I made a few modifications to the pattern to make it work for my Mummy lifestyle.  Rather than simply sewing in both sides of the handle, I salvaged a metal rectangle from a 'free' belt that came with one of the boy's pairs of shorts and attached it to the main body of the bag where the handle should have been attached.  I cut the handle one and a half times longer than the pattern required and sewed some velcro to the underside of the handle (don't make the mistake of thinking that buying stick-on velcro will help hold it in place while you sew - it will just stick to your sewing machine needle and jam!).  I used approximately 10 cm of hook at the loose end and 25 cm of loop immediately after that.  Why on earth would I do such nonsense?  My pushchair has a single bar for the handle instead of two handles so I can just throw my bag over it.  Of course, I could also attach my bag to the handlebar of my bike.  I photographed it looped around a dining chair and like to think that it adds a bit of security when I'm out and about because it makes it harder to pinch.

Emma Brennan's bags use magnetic handbag fasteners, but I couldn't find any so instead added some jeans poppers.  I have a Prym Vario Plier and absolutely love adding no-sew fasteners to my projects (I cannot stand it when my duvet covers come with button fasteners and add poppers to the opening as soon as I buy a new one).

Of course, I used the jacket lining as the bag lining and salvaged the buttons.  The central navy velvet ribbon ribbon detail, although disguised as a continuity stripe following from the handle, is in fact hiding the seam that I had to add due to the narrow sections of fabric I managed to un-pick from the discarded jacket.

I'm very pleased with my first handbag project and will promptly be making a patchwork bag for the girl but will fashion the bow detail such that it looks like a butterfly =)

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