Monday, June 4, 2012

A Purse Fit for a Queen


Well, maybe not fit for a queen. She'd probably prefer something designer and something pastel.

Isn't this chart wonderful? Vogue Magazine did this. If you squint, it looks like a modern quilt design. 

But for a 20-something Anglophile, I think it will be just perfect. I'm really pleased with how it turned out!

Now for all of the details: I used  Oh Fransson's pattern for her Margaret bag. This is the first bag I've ever made,* and I was really pleased with the pattern. There are many photos and the steps are explained very well. I really have no complaints about the pattern at all. 

*Now that I think about it, that's not true. I made a tote bag for my piano books when I was in 4-H, because I was just that cool. I also made a drawstring bag out of some terrific early-90s fabric that looked spray-painted in neon colors. My taste has always been impeccable.

What I did not like about this bag was the thickness of it. While that is nice in the end result, the outer lining of the bag (and the handle) had two layers of interfacing as well as a flannel interlining. So at times when sewing the thing together, I was stitching through... 47 layers of fabric (I think that's right. I was an English major, math isn't my strong suit.) So it was tough to press pleats into that and to wrangle the thing together at times. For that reason, and although the pattern is clear, I might recommend this to someone with a bit of sewing experience under their belt, just because it was difficult at times. If you're an ambitious beginner though, go for it. Just understand you'll probably swear at the thing a few times.

If/when I make this bag again (I'd like to make one for myself!), I might be tempted to try it with just a single layer of interfacing and no interlining. I don't think I'd really mind a floppier bag and might find it worth it for easier working and reduced material costs.

Things I learned:

  • I absolutely do not miss sewing curves.
  • Be aware of directionality in a project like this. Luckily, I noticed that at the beginning and avoided any problems with downward facing crowns or upside down lettering, but that could be so easy to overlook! When in doubt, choose non-directional prints or solids, though keeping directionality did not require any extra fabric in this project.
  • Well-constructed bags can be expensive! By that I mean that they require a lot of fabric and a lot of stiffening material. Since I used a fancy quilting cotton for this (indeed, the print was the whole inspiration for the project, so I couldn't really cut corners on this one), the cost really added up. 
A few photos of the process:

The incredible thickness of the outer layer.

Unparalleled seam matching! (Ha ha.)

If a stitching line could be sexy, this one would... not be.

Finished product!

I love that it has pockets inside!

Happy Diamond Jubilee to the Queen! Sixty years on the job, even one that is merely ceremonial, is pretty impressive. But more importantly, congratulations to my dear friend on her masters degree! I hope the bag will be used and enjoyed.

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  1. It's an absolutely lovely bag! :) I like the fabric choices.

  2. This looks like a great bag and that a lot will fit in it. I had some amazing fabric choices in the 90's also. I still have some "what was I thinking" fabric laying around.

  3. I have been thinking about using this pattern. Thanks for sharing your experience and tips. Your bag looks great!

    1. Thanks Nicole! I made a second one yesterday, using only one layer of interfacing. I published a side-by-side comparison in my latest post so you can see the difference between doing that vs. following the published directions exactly. Hope it's helpful!