Friday, May 16, 2008

7 Bridal Party Handbags

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was asked to make some handbags for Devon's Bridal Party. She and Dan are getting married THIS WEEKEND which is exciting and wonderful. I'm super-happy for them!
I made the test bag (details in the above linked post) by shrinking the size of the handbag pattern from this book (bag is pictured on the cover). My good friend Nicole helped me out with the tough spots and the test bag ended up turning out very cute. So I figured that the actual bags would be no biggie.

whoops ;o)

Devon was sweet enough to send me the fabric that she wanted me to use -- which was a huge help so that I didn't have to stress over whether or not the bags would match the dresses properly. The fabric was beautiful - a textured, loosely woven silk with turquoise and pale green flowers and a satiny-off-white. The "wrong-side" of the fabric is the one that Devon needed me to use, though, since it matched the dresses better than the right side. Being a total beginner, I didn't know that this would pose much of a problem. But, alas, it made it a bit more difficult.

I went out and bought special needles for my machine that would sew silk and pinking shears.

The body of the bag looked fine, but the handles of the bags weren't quite as cooperative. With the small size of the handles and pulling them inside out and then sewing the tops, the loosely woven silk was fraying from the pressure. Apparently, using the wrong side was making it worse, as the textured silk was woven in such a way that the wrong side is the side that frays.

As sewing the handles together at the top is the last step, I saved this step for last in my assembly line. This means that I made all seven bags before I realized that the tops weren't looking so hot. And by not so hot, I mean, they were falling apart as I stitched them, and would probably get worse and fall completely apart just in time for the bridal party pictures.

Awesome, right?

Pictured below is the best out of the bunch, I apologize for the fuzziness of the picture. I was a bit crabby when I took it!

I stared at the 7 ghetto bags and tried to figure out a solution. This means that I wrote several whiny emails to Nicole begging her for advice. I thought about adding a bias tape seam around the handles and mouth of the bag... but the handles are so tiny in diameter, that it could end up looking even worse. Plus, bias tape is generally cotton, as Nicole reminded me. She suggested a french seam - which I knew how to do but didn't know that it had a name. But, unfortunately, the fraying was SO bad that there wasn't even enough fabric for it.

I looked at my 7 ghetto bags and was very sad - and worried about whether or not I could get them done in time for the wedding. Sure, I could send what I had to her, but they looked so pathetic looking. And let's face it, the pathetic-look doesn't generally go with the rest of the wedding decorations.

I started looking up hundreds of clutch bag patterns online and thought of just starting over with a new bag design.

At home one night, I was staring at the bags lying out on my coffee table, trying to will them to tell me what the solution was. While I was staring them down, I realized that the body of the bags was actually really cute. It was just the handles that were tragic and disasterous.


I took my pattern cut out and cut off the handles. Then, I made the body of the bag only in the lining fabric, outer fabric, and batting. I took the handle pieces that I cut out and laid them on the fold of each of the fabrics and cut out long and short handles.

I sewed the handles into tubes and turned them right side out... I did a top stitch on the handles. Then, I sewed the handles into the tops of the bags.

Viola. No visible fraying.

For the other 6 bags I cheated and took the bags formerly known as Ghetto and cut off their handles. I made new tube handles for them and sewed them in.

Anyway, I hope that the bride and the bridal party are happy with the results. It was a great learning experience for me & I hope everyone likes them. Eventually, I'm hoping to get a few pictures of the girls carrying them to post up.

In other news, I spent last week in Seattle with family. It was great to hang out and veg with family and I got to meet my newest niece. Of course, all aunties think their nieces and nephews are brilliant--- but get this, my newest niece is already so very alert and actually smiles when you laugh. So sweet. She's so very interactive for a wee lil one month old!

It was great to get away. My allergies actually were completely clear the entire time I was there, which was a wonderful and welcome change.

Anyway, for the future nursery, here are some letters for decoration that I crafted. Just got the letters from Hobby Lobby and modge-podged pretty scrapbooking paper that I cut out to them. Cute and easy baby project-- if you are looking for a good gift ;o)