Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I Have Needs

Sometimes a girl just needs a new purse (or handbag, if you prefer). You know what I mean. I'm really picky about purses, though, so I don't even remember the last time I bought one. I hate thinking I got really suckered, and that's what I always think when I see the price of purses. They're never exactly what I want them to be, and they're too expensive. And, since I'm trying to make all the clothes and other goodies for the family, I figured I'd give designing my own purse a shot.

There are several reasons I decided to do this now. First, there's just no better time than the present, right? Then, there's the fact that I've misplaced the checkbook and my credit card holder several times lately. That's generally a bad thing. This fact makes the present a really, really good time to have a new purse. I actually haven't bought one in years. The last couple I had were hand-me-downs from my mom. She likes her purses. We don't have identical tastes, though. She prefers them larger than I do. I'd be perfectly happy with something that would fit in my front pocket, if that were possible. I think my favorite purse ever was a coin purse shaped like a backpack that had a key chain on it (Scooby Doo on the front, too). The backpack was the perfect size for my credit card, driver's license, some change and a few bills. There was even a little hook/clasp thing on it that allowed me to attach it to belt buckle if I wanted. It was ideal for the student lifestyle I had at the time.

Then children came. I haven't had a purse I loved since. I've got plenty of bags. They're all great for knitting projects, but my other necessities tend to get lost in the yarn and needles. What I really needed was a smallish purse with compartments and pockets to keep things organized. So, that's what I made. It's like a mini-messenger bag. I can just sling it over my shoulder or I can hold it like a messenger bag is usually held. It holds everything I need on an everyday basis, and it's just my size. Why didn't it occur to me before to make my own purse?

It's made of mauve corduroy that was leftover from a bag I made for a friend. The inner lining is some fabric that my mother and great aunt gave me recently. I'm pretty sure my great aunt must of gotten it from a garage sale. That, or it's some leftover fabric from a quilt my mother made. Either way, it was free to me, and the ideal match for the corduroy.

Every other bag I've ever made had very few embellishments and maybe one pocket. This one has two on the outside (front and back), two inner compartments and four little interior pockets (two of which have elastic on the top to hold their contents in a bit). I also had some fun trying out some new techniques. I've never really done any stripes on a bag before, though I do like the look. So, I cut some strips of the lining fabric and made a little design on the back pocket. I also sewed some pin tucks on the front pocket before sewing it to its lining. They aren't perfect, but I think it's a fun look, and it's definitely something I'd like to try again on a garment some time.

I've worked on it bit by bit over the past week, since I've had very little time to myself. I hadn't gotten much done till today. When we got the kids off to school, I put the baby to sleep and got to work. It took me many more hours than I suspected it would (what with all the pockets and embellishments), so maybe it makes a little more sense that purses can be pricey. I probably spent about 5-6 hours on the sewing and ironing of all the little pieces. The planning and cutting stage was significantly shorter.

So far, I'd have to say I like it. It fits a packet of Kleenex, my credit card holder, a checkbook, a diaper and some cotton wipies with extra room for other possibilities. There's even leftover fabric to make a coin purse. I thought I'd need a zipper to make it, but I'm now toying with the idea of using elastic or a drawstring so I can avoid a trip to the fabric store. We'll see how that turns out.

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