Thursday, October 7, 2010

Can you make me a purse?

The PATERN: New Look #6574

The MATERIALS: 2 yards of heavy cotton, 2 yards of mediumweight fusible interfacing, thread, lots of pins

A new friend recently asked me to sew a purse for her and with minor apprehension, I agreed. We met for coffee and she handed over the goods- two yards of fabric and the pattern.

The pattern is adorable and also pretty simple to make. The most labor intensive part has been dicephering what the pattern maker meant by “mediumweight fusible” interfacing, since Joann’s doesn’t carry a product that exactly matches that description, followed only by making sure that the pattern and print on the fabric lined up properly so that when I sewed it together the print matches up properly. This last part may not be something you worry about, but I can be a little "detail oriented" and I hate when the pattern doesn't line up properly. I don't sew with many plaids for this reason.

Whenever I can, I roughly cut my patterns out with a rotary cutter, pin them to fabric, and then do a better job cutting both the fabric and pattern. I use rulers for straight edges because it makes the final product come out better.

With this post, I didn't start taking pictures at the very beginning. As I worked on this purse, I had a realization. I need these new challenges. I love making my blankets, but occassionally I need a new challenge and to test myself. So, I started taking pictures and decided to make a habit of trying more new things!

With all of the pattern pieces cut out, I headed to my "sewing room." First, I line

d up the fabric and the interfacing and ironed it. Then, began sewing.

The directions on this pattern were pretty good. I didn't have any major problems with them while sewing the top and side seams. Then came putting the bottom of the purse on. I was not looking forward to this part. "Dread" is actually the word that comes to mind. I read ahead through the directions to get an idea of what it wanted me to do. Then, I did a mental "argh." It calls for bias tape. I HATE bias tape.

Insert creativity.

I decided to do a French Seam instead of using bias tape. It is prettier and theoretically can be easier. So, from here out, I don't follow the pattern directions.

Resume affixing the bottom. The pattern has these little triangles on it which provide places to match up pieces later. These make putting things together very easy, but with the things I sew a lot of, I have stopped cutting out the triangles because it takes too long with the rotary cutter. I shouldn't have skipped this step with this pattern. I had to get the pieces back out and mark where they should have been. (In the picture you can see where I cut the triangles on the top pieces, but not on the bottom.) WIth pieces matched, I started pinning. I pinned it to death putting pins every inch or so. This helped.

To make a French seam, you start with wrong sides together (instead of right sides). With the pins in place, I made a 1/4 inch seam around the bottom. It wasn't the prettiest, since there is a lot of fabric at the corners, but this is going to be hidden in a minute, so its ok.

After sewing the first seam around the bottom, I trimmed off the excess and then turned the purse inside out. Then made another seam around the bottom which encloses the rough edges and hides them. The inside of the purse is black, so I couldn't get a good picture of the French Seam. (Here is a simple tutorial from Sew Mama Sew on seams)

Then all I had to do was turn it back to right-side out, and it was done! Finished product picture is above.

If I make more of these, I think I will redesign it a little to make the bottom a little easier. It wasn't that hard though to make it as the pattern designed. When I make another, I will take more pictures and document better to convey the steps to you.

Also, a little more about this fabric. We used thick cotton, from the Home Decor section. Danielle (the challenger) actually introduced me to this fabric about a year ago with her great clothing line called Pollyanna's. It is 100% cotton, and although most of it is labeled "Dry Clean Only" she started washing it. And with each wash it gets more character and charm. It also gets softer. Thank you, Danielle, for bringing this fabric to my life.


This concludes my first post of the "Sewing My Way Through the Fabric Store" extension of my blogging. I will continue to take on new sewing challenges. The number of patterns available is endless. At least once a month, depending on the availability of people who want me to try to make something for them, I will make a new pattern. Then, I will post about the experience and the product, offering tips on that pattern and potential hazards.

So, bring on the next challenger. Email me ( if you are interested in offering a sewing challenge. The challenger will choose a pattern, the fabric and needed materials, and I will sew it up for free.

Next challenger, my daughter with, "Mommy, my baby is cold."

Comment from the Challenger:
From the "challenger,"....I LOVE my purse and gets scads of compliments daily. It is the perfect size for all of my stuff and wears so well. Everyone should have one of these! Thank you are AWESOME. There are plenty of amazingly beautiful home decor fabrics to pick from to "fit" your style too!