27 August 2008

Brown Tweed Purse

Here it is - my completed entry for the Delta Art and Music Festival!! I am really happy with the finished product, and was relieved to be able to drop it off Saturday morning. But getting this entry ready has a bit of a story......

About 20 years ago, I bought a skirt. I always liked the brown tweed fabric, and even when the skirt no longer fit, I kept it. By the time I lost weight and the skirt fit again, it was seriously out of style. But because I loved the fabric so much, I kept it to use to make something. I never could decide what-----until a few years ago when I got the idea to make a purse. Lucky magazine had a page of tweed purses and bags in one of their handbag features, and something clicked. I decided to make a purse, and since that wasn't enough of a challenge, I also decided to come up with the pattern for it.

The original purse was the same shape as this one, but it was larger, and I used the waistband of the skirt for the strap. Overall, I was happy with the results, but realized that I needed to line the purse with something stiffer - it needed more shape to it. And, I never liked the way the strap looked. So I took it apart and set it aside.

Somewhere in all this I saw Susan Khalje on a TV program make a purse and lined it with buckram. That was what I needed!! So I promptly waited a year or so to finally purchase some. Then it sat around a few more months, until I finally decided this was what I wanted to make and enter in the Delta Festival.

I pulled it and and made sure all the pieces were there. I cut down the tween fabric to make it a better size for my purse. I sewed the buckram to it, then sewed the pieces together. I loved the way it looked, the stiffness it had, but damn! Going through two layers of fabric with buckram was tough at times!

Since I wasn't using the waistband for the strap, I had to come up with something else - and figure out a way to attach it. I decided to use an old belt I had for the strap. I took two belt loops from the skirt and sewed them to the sides of the purse. Through these I ran D rings which I looped the belt through. Buckling the belt closes it, and also allows for a bit of adjustment in the length.

(I know the D ring isn't straight, but I was trying to hold the strap up while taking the photo!)

Then I had to try to fit my lining. I originally made the lining from an old blouse I had. It was a bright yellow, and I liked the contrast with the brown tweed - a bit of sunshine when you opened the purse. I tried taking up the seams of the lining, but it would NOT come out right. I finally resigned myself to the fact that it would have to be taken apart, cut down, then sewed back together again. By now it is three days before the entry is due, and I didn't want to take the time to redo the lining, but had to.

But the fabric didn't come apart easily. There were a couple of tears that I wasn't sure I could hide in the seams. I cut it down, but it still didn't fit right. However, taking it apart again proved to be a mess. It tore, there were stitch marks - it just would not do.

In a mild state of panic, I considered my options. Somewhere in the back of my head, I could hear Tim Gunn saying "make it work"! So I pulled out my fabric stash to look for something to make the lining from.

I soon found something I thought would work - a taupe/grey silky polyester. It looked great with the brown tweed. Once I pulled it out and looked at it, I realized why - it was the lining that was originally in the skirt!! Yes, the two fabrics were going to be paired together again. Using the bag as a pattern, I cut out the lining and interfaced them, and began sewing it together. I soon discovered, however, that I needed to quit for the day - I was sewing the pieces together the wrong way. Enough!!!

Now it is the day before entries are due. Amazingly, things went rather well. I got the lining stitched together, put it inside the purse (where it looked great!), and attached it to the purse. After getting everything turned and sewn, I trimmed all the loose threads, then I added the belt as the strap - and I loved the way it looks on the purse. Now the only thing left to do was sit back and enjoy looking at it while I had a drink.

Saturday morning I arrived at the venue and submitted the bag in the recycled clothes competition. Judging is this week, and the festival opens this weekend. I'll let you know what happens.....

And the future of this purse? Do I use it myself, or do I list it in my Etsy shop?? I haven't decided yet. It could be great advertising to use it myself. If anyone expresses interest, I can tell them I made it from an old skirt, and offer to make one for them, and use an old item of clothing they have or find something at a thrift shop. Come to think of it, I believe I have a couple of thrift store skirts tucked away in my fabric stash that would make awesome purses. Time to get to work!

12 August 2008

Life Gets In The Way...

Sometimes, stuff just happens. Nothing bad, just stuff. This week is an example.

Monday, my son went back to school. Yes I know it is not even mid-August yet, but that's how it's done here. While being back in a routine is good for me, getting up an hour earlier is tough. Neither one of us does very well in the early morning, but we are managing. However, couple that with the fact that I have had to be in the office first thing in the morning yesterday and today (and for the next two days as well) and my schedule is completely shot. I'm trying to get a few Redux things done, along with relisting items in my Etsy shop, but there is no hope of getting anything major accomplished this week.

Please don't think I'm complaining - I'm not. I'm tired and trying to accept that I won't be able to accomplish what I had hoped. I've gone through my "to-do" list for Redux Designs and re-prioritized what HAS to get done this week ( entry for the Delta Fair and for Craft Corps). Everything else will have to wait until the weekend - including my every growing podcast playlist on iTunes and some more clutches to add to Etsy.

But-----at least I managed to get a blog post up! Hopefully, more to come later in the week....

08 August 2008

Blog Changes - and Weekend Plans

I've been playing around with the Blogger template, to see if I can find a look I like better. I want something that is distinctive and stands out, but I want to make sure that my designs are what get noticed. I don't want them lost in the dark background. So I've made some changes.......and hope to work on it some more over the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, this one looks to be very busy! The day job has kept me very busy this week - and next week is going to be even busier. So anything I want to get done for Redux Designs must get done this weekend - or wait until the next one.

I need to write up my entry for Craft Corps, due next Friday. The application for the Delta Fair and Music Festival is due next Thursday - and while the application won't take long to fill out, I've got to work on my entry to make sure it is ready to turn in later this month. The deadline to enter the Venuszine "Make A Bag" contest is August 20th (which will be here before I realize it!). And I've got several clutches to sew, photograph and get ready to list on Etsy. That should be enough to keep me out of trouble!

But the temptation to simply sit outside is strong! The weather has finally cooled off in Memphis - with lower humidity - and all I want to do is be outside again. I'll try to take as much work outside as I can - and do the rest inside in the evenings.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!