Friday, June 1, 2012

Finished Objects!

Dear Readers, this week I struck a blow for procrastinators everywhere by finally finishing four huge projects. See, we do get around to it eventually.

First, the Plum Pleather Purse.

Yeeesh. At some point, I must have found this textile appealing. Maybe I just liked saying “plum pleather purse.” I don’t really like the color that much now, but since it was all cut out and ready to sew, I decided to go ahead and put it together.
I used this pattern, view A. (Clearly it’s meant for quilted fabric, but I was never good at matching pattern to fabric, as we'll see below.)

Textured lavender chenille-like fabric for contrasting trim.

Lavender polka dot lining, with a couple of pockets.

The top opening has a magnetic snap closure. I got several packages of purse hardware last year during a sale at JoAnn’s.

The pattern suggests cardboard as an insert for the bottom of the bag. This seems odd, especially when the pattern is actually for a fabric bag. But since I don’t ever plan to put this in the washing machine, I went ahead with the cardboard.

Although this fabric is nice-looking (in the right light), I must say the quality is absolute crap. I don’t know where pleather falls on the faux continuum, but I’d previously thought it was a thick, plasticky substance for use in raincoats and handbags. This particular pleather should not be used for much of anything. It was like sewing with Swiss cheese. It is thin, floppy, mars easily, and cannot be folded, pinned or pressed. Sewing causes it to pucker, and creates a line of perforation which is highly susceptible to tearing.  
Well, it was an interesting experiment. On to the next one.

The Leopard and Antelope Bag.

The fabric came from a potential wadder/charity candidate. It’s upholstery-weight linen, but I fell in love with the print and just HAD to make myself a skirt about a year ago.

The skirt was way too stiff and scratchy so I never wore it. I just couldn’t give it up, so I decided a large, flat bag might make good use of the print.

I found some brown nylon for the lining and a heavy-duty zipper for the top. It has a bunny pocket inside! 
I used thin sheets of polyester batting to give some body to the sides of this bag.
You can sort of see from the top pictures where the sides of the bag are extended to make a loop to hold the D-ring. The brown shoulder strap is from another bag.

And finally, two Bird Pocket Totes.

You may remember this dress from October. I used a Marc Jacobs fabric, sort of denim/canvas weight.

It was cute and it fit well, for about a month. Then my lower torso expanded the dress shrank somehow and I could not get into it any longer. Good news though, it was a straight rectangle, so all I had to do was cut a tote bag-sized piece off the bottom.

The pockets are Premier Prints “Bird Sketch.” The two front pockets have magnetic snap closures.

The side pockets, for umbrella and water bottle, have elastic at the opening.
It's funny how this bag strongly resembles view D on the Butterick pattern, but I never noticed it until I was putting these photos together!

The front of the dress became the back of the bag.
Nylon lining with pockets.

The base and sides of this large tote are reinforced with buckram, which I happened to have for making belts.
D-rings and a luggage strap from an old computer bag.

The second, smaller tote is from leftover fabric.
The outside is the Marc Jacobs canvas.
The inside pockets are the bird fabric. I wanted this one to be more organizable, so it is divided into two sections by an inner zip pocket.  

The flap closes with a magnetic snap.

I used scraps of medium-weight sew-in interfacing to stabilize the fabric for this bag. You can tell that I was really digging through the stash: cardboard, interfacing, buckram, batting. I was grabbing everything I could find!

 And what happened to the top of the dress? It’s a bolero!

I opened up the front, put a pleat in the back, and wrapped the edge in bias trim.

This will be great with my black pique pants.


Here’s what I accomplished with the completion of this week’s projects:
  • 4 unfinished objects (bags) finished, plus bonus bolero jacket
  • 2 potential wadders (skirt & dress) rescued
  • 4 yards fabric + 3 zippers + various trims, snaps, buttons, etc used from stash
  • Vast amounts of storage space and work area reclaimed.
I also learned that my Singer 4423 Heavy Duty machine can plow through NINE layers of canvas plus buckram without a hiccup. I can’t say the same for my hands, which are sporting broken nails and bandaged wounds, but my fingers will have a long rest from heavy-duty sewing now.

I feel quite virtuous for finishing all these.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


  1. Wow!

    Fabulous bags and refashioned dress to bolero - love those prints and the detailing. Maybe the pleather will seem more appealing in winter - well done for sticking with it, looks awful to work with.

    I'm basking in the reflected glow of your destashing frenzy!

  2. Wow...when you put your mind to something you really get it done! I love all of the projects you completed. Good job!

  3. I am amazed at how much you have finished off!
    I love the bird and antelope bags especially and that you were so creative to make a bolero from the top of the dress.Genius!