Oh, I'm so excited about this! I'm so glad I stuck with this bag & didn't give up & resort to another pattern, I'm just loving how it turned out. There seems to be an extra bit of satisfaction from the fact that while this pattern probably isn't ground-breaking in its originality, it did come straight from my mind, not from a pattern I have purchased.
And now that my partner has received her bag, I present to you, the Gussie bag!
Isn't it pretty?! While this fabric probably isn't one I would have normally picked up, I absolutely fell in love with it the more I worked with it. It's a perfect blend of fall colors.
As I was working on getting the pattern pieces cut out, I tried to decide what I wanted to do for the front pocket. On the first versions of the bag (I still have a third one I haven't shared yet) as I was working on the pattern, I embroidered a little something on the front to make it a little less plain. I knew I couldn't embroider on this one because the pattern was just too busy for it, but I also knew I wanted to do something to break up the pattern on the front side (the back is all the print fabric, I forgot to take pictures of that).
I toyed around with the idea of making the front panel all out of the brown interior fabric, or making the center pocket (that wide panel on the front is split into three pockets) the print material, or trying to appliqué a piece from the print onto the panel (which with this print would have been really difficult), then though of just putting a band of the print across a brown panel. I liked that last idea best, but thought it might look a little out of place, until I remembered the gathered clutch from Noodlehead that everybody has been doing lately. A-ha!!! I could make the brown part gathered or pleated, then add the print piece as a band across it! I remembered that at one point my swap partner had mentioned she liked pleats on bags, so it was a win-win situation. I quickly cut out a new front panel (seriously, this was a last-minute, game-time decision after everything was already cut out), adding about four inches to the width, then tried my hand at gathering. It took a couple tries, and I wish I had added more than four inches, but overall, I love how it turned out. It breaks up the pattern on the front of the bag while still adding to the overall look of the bag.
Here's a closeup of the gathers. Like I said, I wish I had added more to the width of the piece so it could have been gathered more. But I do still think it came out nicely.
The inside has another full panel that was split into two pockets.
On another trial version of this purse (the one I haven't share yet, it's wider than the first two I showed), I had yet another panel pocket on the inside that wasn't split at all. For me it's perfect because I like to keep receipts & other papers separated in my purse, and the pocket keeps them from getting all crumpled & lost at the bottom of the purse.
And here's my lovely gusset on this version. I opted not to do the bias tape method (the one with embroidered flowers), and somehow managed to get the gusset to turn out nice & crisp, unlike the very first one (the one with the embroidered heart).
I'm telling you, I don't think I could have been happier with how this turned out! I'm toying around with the idea of making a tutorial and/or a pattern for this, but the thought of all the pictures & explanation that would be needed make me think I'll probably push that aside if I'm being honest with myself. Right now, with the exception of one freezer paper stencil piece (with a few notes on it), the entire pattern is just in my head. Trying to sufficiently explain some of the steps could be difficult, even if the overall construction of the purse isn't terribly hard. I'll admit, attaching the gusset will certainly try your patience, but I think it's all worth it in the end. At the very least, I'll add this pattern to my list available for custom order, so just shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment (make sure your e-mail address is attached to your profile, or you include it in your comment!) if you're interested.
Oh, and if you really, really want a pattern or tutorial for this, just let me know. If enough people want it (seriously, it would probably only take a few), I'll be much more likely to take the time to do it. I have to tell you, while I have always fully respected people charging for their patterns before, I have a whole new understanding for it & can appreciate it even more when they offer free patterns & tutorials. When it comes to charging for patterns, I think Rae explained it best when she talked about her Bonsai Bag pattern.
Until next time...