Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And so it begins

A while back, I mentioned that I wanted to make the new (now not so new) Hotpatterns YSL Homage Tote in screaming orange leather. The idea never left, nor has my motivation; it's just been side tracked.

That's over now. When I finished most of my evil to-do list from several posts ago, I decided I needed to reward myself with a project that was more challenging than shirts - still somewhat challenging, but I've made 6 of that pattern now - and my favorite TNT pants. It was either the winter coat or the bag, and the wool was only just back from the dry cleaners and the pattern wasn't traced yet, so the bag won out.

First, I modified the size somewhat. I was hugely impressed with Ann's review of this bag, but since I would have a competition between cats to see who could ride around in it, I decided to make it slightly less than pet carrier size. I left the width the same but folded about 3" out of the depth and that seemed to be the right size for me.

Here's where we are so far. The entire bag has been cut out: exterior, facings, lining, straps, pockets. Speaking of linings, my original inspiration was to line this bag with zebra print. I thank those who dissuaded me without actually questioning my taste. The light orange dragon brocade pictured was actually from stash. (And I couldn't find any zebra print cotton anyway, so this is way better for several reasons.)

I changed the interior of the bag to suit my own purposes - on one side is a patch pocket, divided into two, sized specifically to fit my digital camera and my cell phone, both of which always end up in the bottom of my purse. The other side has a zip pocket (different size than original HP draft because I changed the depth of the bag), a leather loop and a doohickey to hold my keys.

Hot Patterns instructions for this bag seemed pretty straightforward, but since I was using leather, I knew I'd have to vary the construction so after giving the instructions an initial once-over, I put them back in the envelope and went my own way. I made the interior pockets first and attached them to the lining. Then I ironed woven fusible interfacing to the backs of the lining pieces. After that, I attached the linings to the top facings, trimmed the seam allowance and pressed it flat with steam-a-seam. I then cut facing pieces out of coutil, marked the magnet placement on the coutil, and glued it to the facings, using books to weight it overnight.

The coutil was purchased at Greenberg & Hammer during Patternreview's NYC shopping day. I had no idea what it was, or what it was for, I just knew it was the weight I was looking for. According to what I've found out since then, coutil is used in corset-making, which is logical because the stuff is extremely strong yet very flexible. It adds great strength to the leather without taking away any of the suppleness of the skins.

Because this is a leather project, it can't movea long at the speed I would like it to. As of now, the linings are complete - magnets attached, darts sewn and lining pieces sewn together, waiting for a bag to line. The bag pieces themselves have been lightly spread with glue and are under stacks of books with their coutil underlining drying. One strap is partially completed.

I'm still thinking on any embellishments that may or may not occur. Embellishment is not my strong suit - much as I love some of my ideas at first, I back off before I carry them through. I bought a whole variety of shiny silver studs and things when I was at Pacific gathering supplies for this, and I've laid them out in any number of constellations. All look good-ish; none will probably end up on the final bag. Maybe I need to go out snoop shopping and see how the pros do this - since Carolyn hasn't provided a primer for bag embellishment yet.

But tomorrow is another day, and it looks to be another cold, gray and rainy one. (Anybody not surprised to see it rain in Philly for the World Series?) I think I'll have plenty of time tomorrow night to do some more work on this. Heading into gray and chilly November, I'm going to want something loud and cheerful to see first thing in the morning.


Elaray said...

That's going to be a great bag! Love the lining (better choice than the zebra print LOL) I can't wait to see the finished project.

Lori said...

This is going to be wonderful, can't wait to see it.

stacysews said...

So far, it's gogeous! I can't wait to see the finished bag.

Gorgeous Things said...

You're going to love this bag. I like your changes to the lining, esp. the key holder. This bag is so huge, you really need it.

-E said...

oh so that's what you've been up to :) yummy :)

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

The reason Carolyn hasn't provided a primer for embellishing bags yet is because she is not as brave as you! *LOL* Clothing is my forte...accessories are bought! rotflol!!! That's my part in stimulating the economy!

BCN - UNIQUE designer patterns said...

Karen .- I always wanted to do this bag. you would have been fantastic, really. greetings from Barcelona. Paco