Making handbags

I make a lot of my handbags from my own patterns, but every now and then I  take a shine to a commercial pattern and just can’t resist buying it.

This bag is a case in point.  It’s a lovely clean design and doesn’t look too big, but man it holds heaps!  One customer assured me it held 3 beach towels and all the togs too, with room to spare.  So I thought I’d share  some pics of me whipping one up.

First jobs first – you have to iron all the facings on so that the bag keeps its shape.  With thin cottons like these, the bag would just flop otherwise, so the facing used here is a thick, sturdy one.  I always sew the pocket on next and get it out of the way – I do it now no matter what the pattern says.  Anarchy, I know!

getting started - affixing the pocket

Next it’s time to sew the lining together, remembering to leave a gap for the final phase of turning it all inside out when the bag is just about complete.  Truth be known, I almost always forget that bit and have to unpick a section later, lol.

Once the lining is assembled, it’s time to make the bag outer.  In this case it involves a fair few precise tucks and can be a wee bit fiddly, but the final effect is worth it so I always soldier on merrily.  Folding and sewing the handles comes next, which is easy peasy, and then it’s time to stay-stitch them to the bag, being careful that they are in the right spots so the bag hangs nicely once finished.

fixing the handles in place

The next step is to put the bag inner and outer together, right sides facing, and stitch around the top edge neatly.  It’s always worth remembering that’s the bit of the bag the owner will see most of all once they own it, so it needs to be wonderful.

The tower of boxes in the corner, by the way, is full of offcuts and remnants I’ve squirreled away ‘just in case’.  I can’t bear to throw them out.  As you can imagine, my husband doesn’t quite understand…

getting all the stuff ready

Above, the bag is just about finished.  The lining is attached and all that is left to do is stitch closed the gap in the lining through which the bag was pulled right side out, and then stitch a neat line around the top edge so that it hangs nicely and the handles are held firm.

Easy as that.

And here’s the finished handbag (and matching nappy sack) modeled by the most glamorous Ethel, my pet goat.

Strut, Ethel, chin up high girl, annnnd pose

Today’s ridiculousness was brought to you by the colour blue, the number three and mooandflo.