I’ve been meaning to make my own handbag for aggggges! I wanted a bag with all the right pockets and the look I’m into. I adore frame purses but that means I can’t have my signature coke accessible. So I planned the perfect bag. I talked about it so much that Mr Ask bought me a subscription deal to Swoon Patterns
. Which means I had a huge selection of awesome patterns to play with. I had decided on the Betty Bowler
before Christmas but I procrastinated.
You see, I hate cutting out bags! Oh it feels good to say it! All those bits to cut out, not just once but in exterior fabric, lining, interfacing, fleece. I hate it. I decided that I was going to make it out of oilcloth (even though it scares me to sew it) because it’s durable and you can wipe it down. My handbags do take a beating and I know a fabric bag would look filthy in minutes. Plus, less interfacing, yeah!
It took me a while to gather my supplies. I bought my oilcloth from here
, my zipper and my pre made piping was from eBay. The red lining fabric was some lightweight cotton drill from stash and the aqua spotty cotton was from stash too. Then I spent a whole day cutting out and interfacing. Yep, a whole day! See why I hate bags?
My oil cloth came folded and full of creases. The sheet included told to to hang it on the line in the sun but all I had was grey and rain. I took it out the night before cutting out and laid it flat on the floor but by morning it was still creased. Since it was cold, I put the heater on to help soften. Impatient as always, I thought about it and then grabbed my hairdryer. While the cloth was on the floor, I blasted a section with the dryer and then sat on it as I did the next section. May it be noted in the record, my ass is big but not lazy! It pulls its weight! That made things flat enough for cutting.
I traced the pattern pieces onto the back of the oilcloth in sharpie (be careful because you will see the sharpie through the fabric) and cut them out. I hair dryered the cut oil cloth and chucked a book on to weight the scrunched bits (yes, that’s my book. Not a shameless plug, it was just what was handy). I cut out all the lining and pocket fabrics and added a craft fusible interfacing to all parts. I added a heavy duty fusible to the bag bottom and sides too. I felt so satisfied with my pile of parts.
So the next day was sewing day! I knew I had everything prepped and I was ready. So I start by reading the sewing instructions, which have you sewing on the straps and the metal loop first up. I get the tin of handbag fixings to get the loops and see that I really don’t have the right size. Shit! I have no car and no metal loops. I walk to the only shop in range that might have something, a cheaply shop. Nothing in craft, nothing in hardware, not even a suitable dog collar I could destroy. As I walked home, I knew. I had to cut up my current Nine West bag for parts. Cannibalisim was the only way forward…
Because I needed to have something to carry tomorrow, I did all the lining parts first. That way if I knew I couldn’t finish, I could hold off on the destruction of current bag. It was like sewing cardboard but went okay. I made the interior pocket as per the pattern but added another flat, patch pocket that I divided into four. Otherwise it was as per the plan and the sewing was straight forward.
I’d long decided to change the exterior. I omitted the zip pocket because even though it’s cute, I wouldn’t use it and I was worried about doing it in oil cloth. I also didn’t want the stripes but a pocket for my phone instead. I got the straps made up and ran out of red thread. I thought I’d die, right there at the machine but then I remembered I had red thread in my sewing kit. Can you believe the luck? It was exactly the same shade! I killed my old handbag and got going! Once it was done, I had a little hand finishing to do and then it was time to put my stuff in.
I anticipated issues with oil cloth but none of the issues I was expecting ever came to pass. However, oil cloth doesn’t ease like fabric and I had some hairy moments in the corners! I hated making this but I goddamn love the finished product! And if you love it too and want to give it a go (or something similar but different), I’ve got some great links for you:
Sewing Oilcloth LinksSewing Parts Online
This was hard, I won’t lie. It took 14hrs over two days. But it was all worth it because I FREAKIN’ LOVE IT! Apart from small details that only sewing snobs and myself see, it’s perfect and I love it. It looks the bomb and has pockets perfect for my stuff. I love that I bothered with piping on the inner pockets and mixed spots with cherries. It had its maiden voyage today and two chemist ladies complimented it and were shocked that I made it. And my new nail lady said she loved it! So let’s say hurrah for the handmade handbag! I’m itching to to know what YOU think so, leave me a comment here or on Facebook, because friends will always tell you about your handbag!