Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Brain Work

I don't know about other quilters and sewists, but it seems as if I spend a lot of my sewing time working on things in my head. I have really had to engage the old brain cells this week, as I've been trying to create a bag to teach to my sewing student Claudia.

Back in early 2016, when Claudia was here working on some project with me, she mentioned that she'd like to replace her handbag, and could we try making one? Well, I love doing stuff like that, but the purse had a zipper application that I'd never done before, and I was uncertain about how to do it. Here's the purse she wants to replicate.

It looks really easy, doesn't it? No fancy outer gee-gaws to complicate things. Simple handles. I love it, and would like to have one myself. So, the intimidating part is this top zipper.

It is recessed into the bag. This is what I've had my brain working on for all these many months. I have looked up YouTube videos, which have helped immensely, but doing it myself has been somewhat daunting.

Well, Claudia would like to get going on this soon, as she has time available in wintertime. So I've ramped up my problem-solving brain cells, and have finally gotten busy on this. Monday found me cutting out all the parts and I spent nearly the entire day sewing and thinking and considering and re-watching those videos. I quit at about 10pm, as I'd done just about all I could do; my brain could think no more.

I had a half yard of some upholstery fabric that I am using for my prototype. This was simple enough to stitch together; I did have to zigzag the edges, for it frayed quite a lot.

My lining will have some pizazz with this Kaffe Fassett floral. I had a half yard, and I've used nearly all of it. I think a half yard of outer fabric and a half yard of lining fabric will be just right. I added pockets on each side, 'cause you know a gal needs pockets in her handbag.

And here's as far as I've gotten on the zipper. I think fear of a major mistake has been preventing me from moving forward with this installation. In my head, though, I'm working things out, and I hope to tackle this next big step a bit later today.

Now, there is one more problem that needs solving on this bag. The original bag stood up straight when it wasn't being carried. My bag will slouch in it's current state. I have a couple of kinds of interfacing designed for stiffening bags, and I next have to figure out which kind to use and how it should be inserted or incorporated.

Hope my brain doesn't overheat.

Happy Quilting, Friends!


  1. Check out bag patterns by Lazy Girl Designs. She has an easy way to approach the zipper application you are looking for. The Candice pattern is probably closest to what you're doing.

  2. Some very good bag tutorials here that might help:

  3. I've spent the work trying new things too. It is very time consuming and has made my brain ache a bit but new skills are good to have - that's what I'm telling myself! Being able to add recessed zips really opens up your scope for bag making - so many more patterns and styles become do-able once you've mastered the technique ☺


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