“Whether or not God has kissed your brow, you still have to work. Without learning and preparation, you won’t know how to harness the power of that kiss.”

Twyla Tharp

Monday, March 28, 2011

Superb 'How To' Book

For those of you who love handbags, as I do, there is a superb reference book, The Bag Making Bible, by Lisa Lam. (Lisa also has a blog called U-Handbag). In her book, Lisa covers everything from choosing fabric and interfacings, to inserting zippers, snaps, and locks. Each chapter features a different bag, but additionally goes into great detail on subjects such as how to construct any kind of handle, pocket (who knew there were so many kinds!), gusset, grommet or snap.

There are so many sewing books out there that it's sometimes hard to know which ones have value for us at our particular skill level. This one is truly a gem. I can't think of any application that has been overlooked.

I've also ordered from Lisa's shop and the quality and turn around time was excellent.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Trio of Bags

Lately, I've felt like sewing bags and I keep buying fabric that I think will make a distinctive handbag. I have no idea why. I cannot possibly use all of these purses, so I will need to find something to do with them, but in the meantime.....here they are!

First up is a Loes Hinse design (Butterfly Bag) made with fabric purchased at Artee in Hudson, MA. Artee is primarily a home decorating store with a huge collection of silks. I go there to stalk their remnants on a regular basis. On this particular bag, I used quilted cotton for the interfacing. I just think it gives such a soft heft to the bag so it doesn't feel flimsy at all. It also calls for boning at the top edge which gives it a nice substantial curve.

Loes calls for one large pocket, divided in half, on the inside, but I love zippered pockets in my handbags so I added one on the other side. These are really easy to do, and add a lot to a handbag.

I also love hardware so I added the large button and matched bag feet to it. The outside button, the feet, and the magnetic snap are all an antiqued bronze. I like playing with all the extra touches that hopefully make it fun to look at.

Next up is the same fabric, but with a metal 'kiss' frame purchased from Tall Poppy and a carpet bag pattern downloaded from the same site. Note that if you download the pattern rather than having it mailed to you, you will need to enlarge it by 200% and piece it together. Not hard, but did want to caution you. Again, this bag is interfaced with quilted cotton. It is very easy to make -- definitely an afternoon project. The pattern doesn't call for an inside pocket, but I just can't make a purse without a pocket. Both bags have vintage buttons on the inside that I purchased at my favorite place. I buy them whenever something speaks to me and I just hold onto them until the perfect spot appears for them....and it always does!

Last, but not least, is The Metropolitan from Indygo Junction. The fabric and lining both came from On Board in Edgecomb, ME.

It calls for muslin interfacing, but I used a felled wool for a little more weight. It also does not call for pockets, but I put in a trademark zippered pocket. The band calls for timtex which gives it a great shape. Because I made my body and band with the same fabric, I cut a narrow band of lining to delineate the two areas and add some interest -- vintage glass buttons and a tassel finish it off!

I'm off to make another one - anyone need a handbag?