Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Week 49: The Tiniest Little Purse

As a bridesmaid gift this year, I got my new favorite purse.  It's just the cutest thing with its chevron print, its little side handle, and its teeny tiny size.  It looks way too small to be practical, but it's totally big enough for keys, cards, money, a phone, lip balm, hand sanitizer, and any other small necessity. And I constantly get compliments on it. 
 This tiny gem was an Etsy purchase.  Check out Maddie Kay if you want one of your own.  I figured I'd try making some this year.  Or at least one.
 I knew I needed a strong and durable fabric for the outside, so I went with the stripey one (it's called ticking, no idea what it's for).  And I was obsessively drawn to the floral one for the lining, because I wanted something that would pop, but also because it reminded me so much of the heirloom wedding-ring quilt on my bed. I checked my quilt when I got home, but alas, my grandmother didn't really use this fabric.  Oh well. That wasn't the point anyway. Also, I picked up a 7 inch zipper in a matching color.
My first step was to trace around the bag.  My paper wasn't big enough, so I folded the bag in half and lined the fold line up with the edge of the paper.  I needed to make allowance for the pleating at the top of the bag, so I extended the top by and inch on each side.  
(The bag measures approximately 8 inches across the bottom, and comes in slightly at the top.  I ended up cutting a shape that was somewhat like a round edged trapezoid with the height of 6 inches, a base of 9 and a top of 11.   This accounts for an inch around of seam allowance, and two inches at the top for pleats.)

Folding the fabric in half and laying the fold on the edge of the paper, I cut out the bag's front and back. For me it was important to have the lines laying horizontal. If you are using fabric with a direction, be sure to account for that before you cut. 

Now.  The pleats.  My absolute favorite part of this darling little bag.  Aren't they lovely?

To make my own, I used my iron and some straight pins. first I used a pin to mark the center.  Then I folded under about a half inch away from the center on each side.  And another inch or so on either side of that.  All folds face out.  I ironed really well to make sewing easier.  (Do this to both the front and the back.)

Don't the pleats look perfect similar?

I sewed a seam right across the top to keep the pleats in place, and them I folded over a quarter inch, and hemmed.

Next I sewed front to back with right sides facing, leaving the top of the bag open. 
Set that part aside for a little while, it's time for the interior. 

So I unfolded the fabric to cut, and solved the quilt mystery. 1930's replica.  No wonder it reminded me of my grandma. 
 I wasn't going to pleat the lining, but I wanted it do be the same size as the outside, so I traced the completed shape of the outside to get the correct shape for the inside. Cut 2.  Next I measured a credit card, added an inch in length and height and cut 2 for the pockets.  Because my fabric has a clear right side and wrong side I knew the pocket had to be double sided, but if you're using something that is reversible, just cut one pocket.

For the lining, I hemmed the top of each bag side 1/4 inch. Then I did the same for all the pocket sides before sandwiching them together (wrong sides facing) and sewing all the way around. I centered the pocket on one side of the lining and sewed around the sides and bottom.  Then I sewed the two sides of lining together wrong sides facing, leaving an opening at the top.

I nestled the lining inside the outside (flip the outside, but not the inside). and lined up all the edges, pinning the zipper inside.  Before I sewed closed, I added the strap (sorry about the lack of pictures, look at the finished product).  I used about a foot of fabric, 3 inches wide to make the strap.  Use the iron to fold edges under, then fold in half and sew seam along the edge.  Tuck an inch of each end into the corner of the purse (between lining and exterior) and sew down with multiple passes of a zigzag stitch.

Zippers are my arch nemesis.  I'd like to say I finally overcame my inability to use zippers, but if you look closely, you can see that the learning process still isn't over. 

All in all though, this little bag is a HUGE step up from the purses I made all of my girlfriends when I was 20.  I wish I had pictures, they were so bad. Sorry Tiffany, Nicole, Brittney, and Shannon.  You guys got the ugly ones. 
Merry Christmas Secret-Purse-Loving-Friend!

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