Monthly Archives: February 2012

How to make a purse or handbag: what I made last week

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After claiming high creative energies, I finally put them to some good use! I lost the bid to get an old t-shirt to make my infinity scarf, though :(….never mind, Im sure spring cleaning will throw something up!

In the meanwhile, I pulled out some fabric and interfacing I had lying around, and got a pattern (See & Sew) from Joann fabrics. After diligently cutting out the trace paper with the pattern, I had no idea how to proceed. Ive never sewed anything off traceable patterns, so I resorted to the old fashion method of laying the trace on the fabric, drawing the outline on the fabric with chalk and cutting it out etc etc.

After a few hours of such hard work tracing and cutting, I figured I’d take some shortcuts to make it easier.  Having figured out how to make a purse/tote bag within a few hours (from scratch), I figured I’d upload a tutorial in case someone else wanted to try it –  might help another beginner like me make something you or someone will actually use! Hope the tutorial makes sense…this is the first time Im trying one. Feel free to leave comments/suggestions.

Items required (size of fabric etc is based on the size of the bag you want to make. The number here is the size of fabric I bought for my bag, which turned out to be big enough to carry books and other school stuff in, or use as a diaper bag – great baby shower gift idea! )  :

  • Fabric  (1.25 yards)
  • Interfacing  (2 3/8 =2.375 yds)
  • Lining (1/2 yd)
  • Sewing machine
  • Magnet buttons/ Velcro

Note: All pieces of fabric are attached to the interfacing. If you have fusible interfacing, you can iron it in to the wrong side of the fabric. I went ahead and sewed my fabric (wrong side) and interfacing.

Usually, for purses, most people sew the fabric (with interfacing) according to the pattern, and sew the lining separately. In that case, joining the lining to the fabric is the final step. However, the lining material I had was thin and flimsy, so I sewed it in with the interfacing and fabric right off. This also made things much easier for me later, since I didnt have to join a “lining” purse with the fabric purse.

Pieces:

  • fabric-2 , interfacing-2, lining-2 for the front and back 
  • fabric-2, interfacing-1 for flap
  • fabric-1, interfacing-1, lining-1 for side
  • lining – 1 for rectangular pouch
  • lining-1 for smaller pouch
  • fabric-2, interfacing-1 for strap

Legend: a=length of one edge of front or back
3a = length of the side

The pieces you need

Steps:
1. Sew the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric and the lining to the interfacing for the front and back

Layers of fabric + interfacing + lining

Front and back fabric sewed with interfacing and lining

2. Do the same for the side, which is a rectangle whose length = sum of the 3 sides of the front/back

The front and back with the side

3. Sew the wrong sides of the flap fabric to the interfacing. The flap is slightly larger than the front and back

The flap is red, the front of the bag is grey for comparison in size

4.  Cut a rectangular piece of lining and a slightly rounded square and sew it to the inside of the back piece. I did this manually so I could sew the pockets to the lining and the interfacing without the seams showing on the right side of the fabric.

pockets sewn into the lining of the back piece

5. Cut out two strips of fabric and one of interfacing for the strap

two strips of fabric and one of interfacing

6. Sew the edges in and sew the above three pieces together, wrong sides of the fabric to the interfacing

sewing the strap fabric and interfacing

the strap

7. Sew the strap to the two ends of the rectangular side piece

strap sewn to the ends of the side

8. Sew the flap to the lining side of the back (on the same side as the pockets)

flap sewed to the lining side of the back with the pockets. Edges of the flap are sewn in to seal them

9. Sew the side to the back, lining sides facing out, like this:

the "back" sewn to the side with the insides facing out

10. sew the other edge of the “side” to the front. The lining facing out same as above.

the front attached to the side

11. Make sure all open edges are folded in and sewn. The inside out bag will look like this:

the purse inside out front side

purse inside out back side

12. Turn the bag right side out

bag right side out

This is how the bag looks inside

looking into the open bag

Annndddd the bag is done!

My new bag hanging on my closet door 🙂

You can always add velcro or magnet buttons to the flap. I didnt because the flap is so big, I didnt figure anything would fall out…but depending on what I end up using this for, I might add a way to close the flap after all…

Hope you liked this simple sewing project!

Until I find something new and noteworthy then! 🙂

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Crafty people and crafting things

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Busy times! So with all these great “days” coming up..read V day, birthdays etc etc, and with Spring right around the corner, my creative energies are at a high! I am constantly itching to try something new. I love planning surprises, so I plan for birthdays months in advance; the anticipation is half the fun, right!

While hunting for cool new things to do which wont overstretch my already thin budget, I came upon this cool new idea to use soda logos and the such to make key chains: Diary of a Crafty Lady: Pop Can Key Chain. Having a husband who is known in the family for his addiction to soda ( Ive told him the story of when I left a broken tooth in a glass of soda for a couple days. The tooth was completely gone-that’s right-dissolved away!! He doesnt believe/care about that apparently :D), I thought I’d try this out for a V day gift.

Unfortunately, I did not see this post until the 13th, so I did not have much time to experiment, neither did I find the said Dimension Magic at my local Walmart. In addition, the fact that he works from home often, as do I, I didnt get the chance to do much to surprise him! I ended up making him a card and wrapping mundane gifts like t-shirts and coffee mugs in exciting red paper with pretty pink bows. He seemed delighted, so I guess thats what counts. I had an awesome time, with a personal chef who made all my favorites all day….had a wonderful day!!

Today, I saw a deal online for an infinity scarf that I have been eyeing for a while. I think they are super stylish! I almost bought it- until! I remembered that I am a thinking creature with opposable thumbs and I can make  my own!

So I went on a hunting spree looking for a t-shirt I could cut up. As of now, I am still begging my hubs for an old shirt (mine are way too small to make scarves of)…wish me luck, and I might have pics sooner rather than later 😉

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My parents have always been the Extremely-Involved-In-My-Scholarly-Pursuits kind of people. So when I got home from school in the evenings, they would ask me not what I was taught at school, but what I learnt that day. The depth of the question, obviously, escaped my young self. Today, I realize how profound such a question can be.

Having said that, what have I learned today that is any fun?

Being slightly materialistic, I learned of three new products -one, I just tried and I love. Second, tried and tested. And the third sounds good so far-havent tried it yet.

The first of these is a totally frivolous item- a Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin!

Now, I am a curly haired girl with long hair. So it might be natural to assume that the “messy bun” is an easy style for me to pull off. Not so. I love messy bun styles, but my hair never stays up, scrunchies and spring clips notwithstanding. So, I found this while I was researching different styles for my hair and bought one right away from the neighborhood Publix. What an amazing find!! I played tennis with this holding my hair together (Note: I suck at tennis and I hardly moved the whole hour), but I am still proud and amazed at how tidy my hair looked after!

The second great find, my dogs will testify for – Antler Chews for dogs

I am a big champion for natural dog chews, and being vegetarian n all, anything that does not cause another animal to sacrifice its life is a definite yay! Dont get me wrong, before I found these chews, I had a few qualms about buying peanut butter filled bones for my dogs, but bought them once in a while anyway. Anything to keep the boisterous kids occupied for an hour at a time-right?

Having found these though, my dogs and I swear by them. They love the taste/smell/whatever it is dogs look for in treats. And I love that they are kept busy on something thats natural (read: un-harmful ), not that much more expensive than peanut butter stuffed bones, AND deer/elk shed these naturally. Everyone’s happy!!

The last thing I am fascinated by is a Yogurt maker.

Now, I come from a family where we have lived in tropical climates all our lives. So using yesterday’s yogurt for culture and setting fresh yogurt everyday was a matter of routine. I have tried, though, to set my yogurt here and it  wont set well…even if I add in the culture to freshly boiled milk and set it in the oven with the light on all night! Dont ask me why….

A few years ago, as a grad student, Dannon tasted like manna  to me. I have since graduated to Oikos and Fage. But no matter what, nothing tastes as good as fresh, homemade yogurt. I havent received my yogurt maker yet, and I will probably use dannon for starter culture (not having the enthusiasm to spend $20 to buy culture in little bags). When it arrives and I have tried it out though, I will most definitely let you know how it turns out!

Until next time, then! 🙂

Aside

OK, so its not as big a deal anymore! According to wikipedia there are over 156 million blogs out there today (and growing every minute, no doubt!) But to me, this beginning is just as special in blogworld as graduating is to every student and getting married is to every bride (talk about exaggeration).

So why am I jumping on the blogging bandwagon at this late date? Because, well, I read that E.L. Doctorow said ““Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” So I figured I had as much to learn as  the next girl, and this seemed like a fun place to begin!

Something about me – Im in my “late” twenties. I can remember our first computer in the 90s, but belong to the generation that did nothing with those computers until the new millennium. I am an adoptive doggy-mom to two adorable Labradors, and live a nice, simple, girl-next-door life with my husband in the warm eastern coast of this lovely country, the USA.

With this blog, I hope to explore, for my own pleasure and discovery, something new and exciting as often as I can! I am interested in all sorts of things-cooking, sewing, baking, volunteering etc etc. You get the idea. So no, I am not a conventional blogger with a theme. But hey, I am along for a joy ride! So if we find something in common, thats awesome. And if my thoughts are the exact opposite of yours, why- we will learn more and be all the wiser for it 🙂

Here’s to a wonderful time!   

Cheers!

A new step in a new world