Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I've been looking to replace the go-to black nylon purse I was not clever enough to buy two of when I had the chance. I bought it at the 99¢ store; that's just how devoted to fashion I am. It's main attraction is that it is not too big. I don't want a purse that wears me or that I have to fumble around in to find things. I thought I'd found in Walmart (sorry to drop names) a cute replacement with rainbow polka dots but it would not accommodate a wallet, keys, sketchbook and pens, cell phone and lip balm. That's when I discovered yet another thing that has vaulted onto the list of things up with I can no longer put: Purses with Black Linings. I can't see into a black purse that's deeper than six inches.

Butterick 4147 has the selling point that I could see myself using each of the bags included. I made view E, a design I've been curious about. I think it is made to stay on the shoulder better than just a straight strap. Constantly hitching something into place (like a shoulder strap) is another thing on the aforementioned list.
I used a home dec suede cloth. Found it on line, on sale, I no longer remember where. I liked that there was a pocket to hold cell phone or iPod on the strap. It can also be worn across the body.

For a good portion of the sewing, I marched my sewing machine along turning the wheel by hand. The fabric is thick to begin with and sewing through three or four layers of it, interfaced, was not going to happen quickly. My machine has a device that makes it stop dead in it's tracks when it encounters to too much to sew through. I was using a size 110 needle, thinking that's what upholstery fabric called for. It was a little easier with a smaller, size 90 needle but sewing slowly is the answer here. This fabric is dense and not easily punched through. I made the stitch length longer and when topstitching was called for, longer still. I used gold, top stitching thread used for blue jeans on top, regular gold colored thread in the bobbin.
For the lining, you're asked to use the same pattern pieces as for the front, back and sides. What I used was more home dec, a yellow and white striped remnant.

Here you can see the extra pocket I added. I knew there would be a problem using another sturdy fabric for the lining, how could it fit inside the bag if the pieces were the same size? That was an issue, and unless the bag is turned inside out, the lining bunches up to fit. Another thing to consider is there are some tightly curved corners in this pattern, too tight to press flat. I trimmed them and mashed them a bit with the iron but the fit between lining and bag wouldn't be satisfactory if this were a jacket. When I first put some items in the bag then pulled them out, the lining came along with so I did some back stitching down one long seam opposite the zipper, feeling for the suede cloth seam allowance underneath the lining. I continued this stitching along the bottom seam line as well. Now it stays inside.
Here's an example of one tight corner, this is the main part of the shoulder strap, it has to be smooth here. With the difficulty of sewing on the interfaced suede cloth and the narrow radius of this turn, I stopped and marked the stitching line. This was also the place to go slowly. Another method would have been to baste along the seam and then sew.
Two 12" zippers and two 1" D-rings are all the hardware necessary. For you purse mavens out there I stumbled on a new trimming store in the garment district. Botani Trimming inc. I do mean new, it looked like they were busy filling hundreds of little drawers when I showed up. They have a large selection of much nicer D-rings than I was interested in as well as all kinds of zippers and buttons.
The pocket flap closes with Velcro but maybe I'll add this Sculpey button. I'll try the messenger bag next.

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