Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My first personal design

Well...if you could call it that.  I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it a "design" or even really a pattern, and it's not like it's a ground-breaking idea that's never been done before.  BUT...it is the first thing I've done so far that's not been from somebody else's pattern, so I'm pretty proud of it all the same.  I may even do a tutorial about it at some point, but I'm sure anybody who's a better sewer than I am could take a look & figure it all out on their own.  All the same, I still wanted to share. :)

This all came about because a friend sent me an e-mail last week that she wanted something similar to this Vera Bradley Mini Hipster purse, but with a few changes.  So we played a bit of Twenty Questions (or so it seemed) so I could get a general idea of what she wanted.  That Vera Bradley bag is loaded with pockets, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to put in that many, but thankfully she didn't want much, just a simple purse with a pocket on the outside.  Of course she also wanted a zip top instead of a flap, and not being one afraid of a challenge, I told her "of course I can do that!"  Famous last words, let me tell you!  But, thankfully my zipper foot & I have become fast friends & I don't curse at it nearly as much as when I started.

This is the first test bag, made with the incredible Shrinky Dink fabric.  I picked up the fabric on clearance (hard to pass up 5-yard bolts for $5!) at the Mart of Walls a couple weeks ago, knowing it wasn't going to be high quality, but thinking it would be nice to have on hand for just this sort of thing.  When it comes to trying out the patterns in my head, I don't want to take a risk with good fabric & waste it.  The first thing in my head when I picked it up was the Origami Imposter bag, which I keep promising I'll get around to doing.  No really, I will!

Because I got five yards of each color, I didn't bother washing it since it would be too much of a pain to fold or put back on the bolt.  I didn't really expect it to be much of a problem since I'm not making clothes out of this or anything.  After I cut out my pattern pieces, they were in desperate need of ironing, and imagine my surprise when it seemed to be shrinking under the iron!  I put an ironed piece on top of an unironed one, and sure enough, it had shrunk down almost a 1/4 inch on each side!  Since it was just a trial run, I decided to go ahead & iron the rest, trying to get them all the same size, and continued on with the purse.

I decided to edge the front pocket with the same bias tape I'm using for the strap.  I figured it would make the bias tape strap seem less out of place and add a bit of contrast.  I'm really liking how it turned out & it's a nice size pocket for the outside.

I actually have pink ends on the zipper, but since I basically made it the full width of the purse, they ended up in the side seams so the top doesn't look as nice as it should.

It's hard to tell here, but the "flat" bottom, well, isn't.  I have no idea what happened, but my corners just didn't turn out.  It's all folded & puckered weird.  The only thing I thought was maybe the interfacing & all the layers were just too bulky.  Or maybe it's because I tried to do just a 1/2 flat bottom, and maybe it's not enough to really push the corners out.

I wasn't sure how to attach the straps & they ended up pinched in the middle of the seam.  Not happy with how it turned out, just because it puckers all funny.  It still hangs alright, just not the prettiest thing in the world.

Simple patch pocket on the inside.  You can also tell the how the straps are folded funny.  Not very pretty & kind of awkward.

And here's bag #2, made from much better fabric so I could get a better overall idea of the finished size.  I still had some issues with the bottom (although it looks MUCH better), so it ended up a little narrower than I wanted.  I'll adjust the final purse accordingly so I can get it the right finished size & still have a decent bottom.

The bottom on this one ended up about 1 1/2 inches.  I'll cut it down to about 3/4 to an inch for the final purse.  At least it actually ended up square on this one!  Still can't figure out the problem with the first one.  I did notch out the interfacing for this one, so maybe it was just too much bulk the first time.

Zipper top is much better on this one as well.  I used the lining fabric for the zip ends & really like the little bit of color in the top.  I left more room on the ends of the zipper for the seam than I did in the first one, so it fits much better & looks a lot nicer.

Same patch pocket on the inside.  About 4x3, I may make it a tad bigger in the finished purse.  I was thinking this morning it would probably be nice if it were better suited for a cell phone, but I'll check with my friend to see what she wants.  She originally said she didn't need a pocket on the inside, so if she still doesn't want one, I'll just leave it out.

Much, much better on the straps this time.  The come out of the sides at an angle, which even though it hangs a little funny going straight down, when worn across the chest with a long strap, it'll sit nicely on the hip.  Also, no weird bulky-ness, which is happy.

The overall dimensions for the finished purse are 9 inches tall, 5 1/2 inches wide (5 1/4 zip opening), 1 1/2 inches deep, and the front pocket comes up 7 inches.  I think I'll add an inch or so to the width when I make the next one, mostly so the zip opening will be a bit bigger.  This one seemed a little small, though still easily accessible.

So, what do you think?  Is this something in which you'd be interested in having a tutorial?  Let me know!

Until next time...


  1. I think you did wonderfully!! I love using a pattern and discovering that I can follow directions -:) - but it's even better when you can come up with your own!! Be proud!

  2. Great design girl...looks smart and functional. Would love a tutorial on this one...and then we could send you our variations on your design...yeah you should be so proud you came up with your own design.

  3. Thanks, Runa! I've never done a tutorial before & I'm a little intimidated by it, but I'm definitely going to give it a try! Make sure you check back for it!


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