Saturday, October 26, 2013

Skirting my Baggage (Part 1)

I saw this skirt at Goodwill and loved the fabric, immediately thinking "Purse"! (Ok, so actually my first thought was that my sister would love this fabric, but I pushed that away quickly so I wouldn't be tempted to give it to her since she happened to be shopping with me.)

My first thought was to turn the skirt upside down and just sew the waist shut to  make the bag, but I decided I didn't want the top wider than the bottom.

So I sewed the hem shut. I did no deconstruction, figuring the bulk of the hem would just add strength and structure to the bottom. I just butted the two edges together and zig zagged the seam.
 I didn't bother go right to the ends. It was too bulky to sew over the side seams,
 and I knew that I would be cutting them off anyway.

I wanted to gusset the bottom corners so the bag would have shape to it. I turned the bag inside out and folded it so that the bottom seam and side seam matched up and formed 45 degree angles with the folds:
Then I marked a sewing line. In this case, I marked 1.5" from the point. I made sure it was straight by lining up the bottom seam with the line on the ruler and making sure the point where the ruler met each fold was the same distance from the seam.
 I marked the line on each corner and sewed across them both:
I turned it inside-out to make sure it looked good:
The very observant among you will notice that the side
seam doesn't match up with the center bottom seam.
That is because the side seam wasn't centered. The
skirt designer made the front narrower than the back.
That's because it was Ann Taylor and she makes good
stuff that fits. Because guess what...for most of us, it
takes more fabric to go around our backsides than
across our fronts.
 and then zig zagged it on the inside to reinforce the seam and cut off the excess:
 And here I had my bag:
But it wasn't what I wanted. It looked like a great project bag. But I wanted a purse. So I decided to cut off a lot of the length:
I think I cut off about 6 inches and then did all of the steps explained above again! Seamed the bottom and gusseted the corners.

Then it was time to think about a strap. I've had this belt for a number of years:
I kept it long after I stopped wearing it because I thought it would make a great purse strap. One problem I noticed right away was that I thought it was leather, but it's not! Whatever plastic it's made out of isn't aging very well. But without any other good options, I decided to use it anyway. I kept attaching it simple by just sewing over the tassel ends just below the rings.
The purse itself doesn't really have enough structure to hang well with one strap attached to either end, even though I think the belt looks great.
For this picture, I inserted a rod just inside
the top so that the purse wouldn't sag and gap.
The purse will hang a lot better with a pair of straps attached to the front and back at two points. I just read a recommendation for the lace weight cotton from Knitpicks for weaving and I may have just ordered a yellow, brown and green so I could make some new straps. While I'm waiting for them to get here, I'm hunting down a good weaving pattern to go with all the great geometric shapes on the bag itself.

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