Saturday, 23 January 2010

Suits You! Tote Bag

A week or so ago I received an enquiry about custom making a Suits You! Tote Bag. I am always happy to try and make custom items, so discussions began between myself and a very sweet customer called Charlotte.

Having seen the Suits You! Tote Bag I had already made, Charlotte was happy with the style and background fabric. The only changes she wanted to make were a zip along the top instead of a magnetic clasp and an inside pocket.

Having established the basic remit, I emailed Charlotte photos of possible neck ties and also shirt fabrics for the lining. I knew she wanted brightly coloured ties but you also need to consider what colours and patterns will look right together. Charlotte chose the ties and lining I would have suggested, so we were obviously on the same wavelength.

I needed to purchase a brown zip for the handbag and remembered that the local hospice shop in town sold haberdashery items. I managed to find a new brown zip in there which was the right weight for the wear and tear of a handbag. It was a bit too long but that didn't matter as I just cut it to length when sewing it in.

Having assembled all of the materials, I spent an afternoon making the handbag. I was actually snowed in all day and couldn't get to work, so it worked out quite well time wise. I don't always use a pattern when making handbags, I just make them up as I go along, adding bits, cutting bits off. That is how I made the original Suits You! Tote Bag, so trying to make another the same shape and size was an interesting task. I did a lot of measuring, a bit of guessing, a bit of cutting and a fair bit of hoping!

In the end, the handbag turned out almost the same size as the original. I deliberately made the handles slightly longer so that Charlotte could carry her bag on her shoulder if she wished. I think the combination of ties she chose worked really well too. Thankfully Charlotte agreed ....

"My lovely bag just arrived and it's amazing! Thank you so much! Charlotte"

Bookmark and Share

Monday, 11 January 2010

Things That Make Me Say @£$%&#£!!!!

When I am sewing, there are quite a few things that seem to make me say @£$%&#£!!!!

In the past couple of weeks, I have said it for all of these reasons:
  • Not having the right coloured cotton/ribbon/buttons
  • Not having quite enough ribbon
  • Making a lavender bag inside out
  • Sewing up a lavender bag without any lavender in it
  • Not sewing in a straight line
  • Trying to sew really good heart shapes
  • Leaving an opening so small that I can't turn an item the right way out
  • Running out of cotton part way along a seem
  • Using a different coloured thread on the top and bottom in my machine by mistake
  • Trying to sew in a zip without the zip foot on my machine
  • Forgetting to put the fabric feeder back in place after lowering it for a button
  • Forgetting to change the machine stitch back to straight from zigzag
  • Snapping my sewing machine needle by hitting a pin too hard
  • Loading far too much of a coloured cotton onto the spool
  • Not matching up a pattern very well
  • Losing my ruler
  • Jabbing myself with a needle/pin
  • Sewing a pin into a hidden seam
  • My cat insisting on sitting on my lap whilst I am sewing and then digging claws into my stomach
  • Knocking over my cup of tea whilst sewing
  • Finding out that my pinking shears are really blunt
To be honest, having read through that lot I am amazed I manage to make anything! I'm sure quite of few fellow crafters will know exactly where I am coming from though.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Keeping It In The Family

A few weeks ago, my mother asked me if I would sell an old handbag of hers, either on ebay or in the vintage section of my website. Needless, to say, I was more than happy to do that, so my mother brought the handbag over to my house in a plastic carrier bag with some other vintage items she wanted to get rid of.

Apparently, my mother had bought the bag in 1974 in a second hand clothes shop in Southampton, called Pennywise. She thinks she paid around £7 for it, which is about £20-£25 at today's prices. Soon after my mother bought the handbag, a friend offered her £12 for it. As it was the first leather handbag she had ever owned, she declined the offer and kept the bag for the next 35 years.

The handbag is made by Middx, England and the label reads "Genuine leather". The outside of the handbag is a patchwork of rectangles in mock snakeskin, held in place with zig zag stitching. Measuring 25cm wide, 19cm long and 7cm deep at the base, the handbag is a really useful size. Inside there is a slip pocket on either side with a zipped pocket on one side as well.

It wasn't until she had left that I actually looked in the bag and got a big surprise. The handbag is gorgeous! I love it! It has to be said, there is no way I am going to sell it to anyone. I have told my mother that I will give her money for it and keep the handbag for my own use. As you can see from the photo, it matches a pair of my suede boots. I have had the boots for about 12 years, so it is a real coincidence that they are the perfect match. It was obviously meant to be.

I do wonder what other handbag treasures are hiding in my mother's cupboards. I might just have to go and have a rummage!

Bookmark and Share

Friday, 1 January 2010

Topsy Turvy Teapots

When is a teapot not a teapot? When it is a handbag.

When is a handbag not a handbag? When it is a teapot of course!

Confused? Then read on ....

I've blogged before about my mother's teapot collection, see "Fancy A Cuppa?" in April 2009, but thought I would mention it again. As I was over at my parents' house for Christmas, I took the opportunity to take a few more photos.

If you read the previous blog entry you will recall that my mother has a collection of well over 400 teapots which she has been collecting for as long as I can remember. When I come across an interesting teapot I know she doesn't have I can't resist buying it. The teapot which was the subject of "Fancy A Cuppa" was one of a number of handbag shaped teapots by a designer called Annie Rowe.

As well as the turquoise "Hollywood Gold" design, I have also bought my mother three others in the range for presents in the past few years. I know there are 3 or 4 more in the range, so I will have to hunt those out to try and complete the set. I think they look quite fun altogether.

A couple of years ago, I turned the whole handbag shaped teapot idea on its head when I found yet another superb teapot for my mother. This time it was a handbag in the shape of a teapot! Made by Pylones, the handbag is completely mad, totally impractical and yet utterly fabulous.

The lid of the teapot opens to reveal the inside of the handbag, complete with a makeup mirror. The lid also features a zip running down it, so that the lid can also be used as a coin purse. A long strap allows you to carry the bag on your shoulder. The teapot body is quite large, making the handbag quite roomy inside. Whilst my mother's handbag is bright red, I know the handbag was also available in green, black, pink and gold.

I don't think my mother has actually used the handbag but I know it is a cherished part of her teapot collection. What teapot lover wouldn't want one?

Bookmark and Share