Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Do you read the blog Made by Rae? Since you linked to a post by MADE recently, I have a feeling you must. I really like Rae's voice and projects. She is a busy stay-at-home mama to 2 little ones and finds the time to make awesome stuff AND blog about it. She also graciously shares the patterns for her awesome stuff and/or offers licenses to make and sell. Both smart and nice, me thinks.
Anyway, as you know, for this last Christmas, I made more gifts than I ever have previously. For the women in my family, I made bags. For my sister and my 2 brothers' girlfriends specifically, I decided to made Buttercup Bags. Rae's design for this purse is so cute, stylish and trendy -- you can't go wrong. I had a lot of fun picking out the fabric combination for each one and thought the results were very fitting for each girl's personality. (If they read this, maybe they can chime in on that in the comments!) I made quite a few mistakes along the way, but overall, they turned out pretty nicely. Here are pics of my Christmas Buttercups.
When a girlfriend of mine, here in Seattle, discovered I could sew things like purses, she "commissioned" me to make one for a fundraiser auction at her school. The request was: a bright, colorful, funky purse. The first thought that came to my mind was orange!
Here are the fabrics I picked from my stash:
And as a back-up, I chose that red Valori Wells print I love:
So, just like you with the Handmade Home towel rug, I cut and prepped two! (Note: Just like on my Christmas bags, I decided to skip the little tab embellishment that is part of the pattern. Since I was already combining fabrics, I thought it would be overkill.)
This time around, I kept in mind the things I learned from my first batch of Buttercup Bags. First off, use magnetic snaps and not regular snaps!! I don't know what I was thinking at the fabric store when buying my notions at Christmas time. Non-magnetic snaps are a pain on both ends: the sewing and the receiving one. You have to hand-sew them and they put a lot more wear-and-tear on the purse. Magnetic snaps can be set-up in a pinch (no pun intended). Just be careful not to cut too big an opening for the little metal legs! Tiny is better and just gently push the metal through.
I placed the snaps too low on this new one, I think. Oh well. Rae instructs you to place the snaps 1/2 inch from the edge, but when I did that on my first purses, the snap kept getting caught on the sewing machine foot when stitching the layers together. I compensated by moving the snap a bit lower, but maybe a bit too much. What you see in this pic is also the extra layer I cut for the purse: repurposing a plain flannel sheet to add bulk to the quilting cottons I used on both the outside and lining.
I love the pleats in this purse design. I think it is really what gives it such a sophisticated appeal. On my first attempt at making these purses, I sewed too far when stitching the pleats in place and had to carefully rip out some of the stitches that showed through on the outside of the finished purse. Yikes! So, lesson learned, on this one, I sewed just a tiny bit, probably under a 1/4 inch.
Let's see... Another trick I learned is that when pinning the top part to the pleated part, pinning the middle in place first helps do an even job. When starting from one end, I was never able to match the sides on the other end. I ended up an inch short or so!
I love the top-stitching in this project. I love top-stitching in all projects, actually. It really does give the final product such a "finished" look. For all my purses, I've used contrasting color thread which means I have had to be very careful in the top-stitching phase -- with mixed results! For the handle especially, the top-stitching proved problematic. Next purse I make, I think I'll top-stitch the handle itself, but will find a "blending" color thread for attaching it to the purse. I find top-stitching looks a bit awkward there, at least with my novice skills.
Here's my finished bag! (The other one isn't quite done yet... I ran out of time this weekend, with the munchkin running around, needing attention, you know the drill...) Jessie seemed really pleased with it (her comments included: perfect and super cute) so that was a quite a relief! And I hope it helps raise some money at their auction.
I am thinking of adapting this pattern to make myself a shoulder-strapped everyday bag. What do you think? Have you made any of Rae's projects?
Made by Rae
Buttercup Bag Pattern
Rae's recent post, all about boy-focused projects!
Jenny what a cute bag! Those colors look perfect for Sophie! I think the middle one is my personal fave though, I love the green and orange together. I always have that same problem when sewing too many layers together along edges. Is there a trick that we aren't getting? I need to research this a little. What type of pins do you use? I have some t-shaped dress pins and regular tiny headed pins, I might need to check out the other options.
Top-stitching is such a great finishing touch, and it's so easy! I think I'm going to start experimenting with thread color as a design tool, I've been picking the most neutral thread I can these last few projects.