Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This Is The Bag

.... that was supposed to be made as a dry run in this fabric. But - you know what? - I realized I don't have the time to do dry runs of bags. I mean, it's not as if they need muslins or something to check for fit. I still love that bright summer-fall striped fabric and I love all your suggestions for ways to coordinate and complement it, so someday I probably will make another bag from it.

Now, the actual fabric for the bag-in-my-head was this linen blend tea-towel from IKEA

the bag-in-my-head itself being:

This is the front

and this is the back

and this is when the straps fall down:

The fabric really makes this bag. That stitching! Already done for me, and all I had to do was lay it out as accent and pocket.

I thought the straps needed a bit of the same stitching to complete them. So I got out my embroidery floss and repeated the faux-herringbone pattern on the plain blue fabric. 

And added piping, of course. Piping -not designer fabric- is a bag's best friend, did you know?

Straps are my favorite part of bags. I could take a million pictures of the straps. 

Stop me!


Thanks. Moving on, now.

This bag is not an original design. Very few bags in the world are original designs, really. If you use completely different fabric and tweak it a bit, a bag can look unrecognizable from the original. Honesty compels me to tell you that my inspiration was a $20 reversible thingamajig from a big chain store called Kohls. I bought it some years back to lug diapers and other such babyphernalia around. It looks nothing at all like this bag, but it's the same.  

I liked the design so much that I reproduced it in this fabric. See- it can take on this common trapezium-tote shape

but if you fasten that snap-hook,

it becomes this roomy, boxy purse.

An invisible magnetic snap keeps the opening shut 

in either configuration.

It has just two pockets - the patch in the front, and a zippered welt inside.

I didn't make this bag reversible like its predecessor, for several reasons. First, I didn't imagine that a white bag (lining color) was practical, and second, I wanted to add purse feet to keep that lovely cotton linen off icky bathroom counters and floors.

This was a really enjoyable project. Its color scheme was so Wedgewood-y, the design was such a simple one, I got to add hardware and put piping everywhere, and it was prettily different from the kind of modern, bold-print bags I usually make. And also because it was a birthday gift, meaning I got to give it away. Hurrah! 

Alas, dear readers, I cannot offer you a tutorial. I did plan to, but it was thwarted by the children changing their Halloween costume ideas several times and driving me to near panic. I knew it was too good to be true when they told me, way back in July, that they wanted to go as Ariel (already sewn), Rapunzel (already sewn) and a vet (one easy lab coat). It appears that now I need to make three brand-new costumes with removable skirts. The only reason I said yes was because I knew they would wear them all through the year in their play. On Monday, Jenna and I went fabric shopping to gather all the fleece and satin and gold trim that we will need. The only things left to buy are rubber mats and purple, rose and turquoise velcro. It sounds bizarre, so let's hope it all turns out better than it sounds, eh?


  1. You always amaze me with your details. Very aspirational!

  2. Oh, and I do so love all your mysteries. Can't wait to hear more about the gold trim and rubber mats and turquoise velcro.

  3. Gorgeous bag! The straps are absolutely fabulous.

  4. I knew that was an Ikea teatowel! :D

    You should google "Ikea Hacks" and add this!

  5. Oh, my... what a truly delightful bag! I absolutely love it! I could stare at it all night, straps included! From every angle! And in my favorite color, even!!

    Then, being a "bag lady" myself, I can see how much WORK went into making it. Every.Little.Detail. You outdid yourself again, my friend! I hope she loves it!!

  6. Such a pretty bag!

    Looking forward to Halloween costume photos! We're working on that in our house as well, although the end effect here will be infinitely less polished.

  7. HOW do you get the folded bits on the straps so flat and tidy?! Mine are always so bulky and the edges sneak out.

  8. I love the design. I've been needing to make a new versatile bag for myself to carry to work.

    Quick question - What did you reinforce to bottom with to make it firm enough to add feet? That's one step I haven't tried yet!

    Thanks for the great idea.

  9. @Sarah
    Sarah, I cut up a flexible cutting board (also from Ikea). It's thicker than the usual plastic sheet used in commercial bags, but it keeps the base really sturdy and flat.

  10. I love the bag! I feel like waxing rhapsodic about the shape and the fabric and the stitching and the details. How Lovely!

  11. Oh LiEr! I love it! Love the colour, the style, the stitching, oh the stitching. Just beautiful!

    Anne xx

  12. And what a gorgeous bag it is too! Love the shape and the tea towel worked perfectly... I feel a trip to Ikea coming on!

  13. I love it, it's beautiful !
    For pink, purple and turquoise velcro, did you see that JoAnn now has a section of stuff for clothes diapers, including PUL fabrics, snaps and pliers, buttons, and velcro in a lot of colors ? That just in case you would not know where to buy them.
    Oh, and thanks for the Harris store tip, I went there, it's great !

  14. I am drooling over this,so so so adorable

  15. I LOVE how you did the hook detail! I've been trying to figure out how to make a similar bag that folds in at the sides, and have seen "cinches" that use velcro straps or snaps on the sides of the bag (that snap together to make the bag smaller). Your solution is much more elegant and easier to use!! I'm so excited to make my own bag now.

  16. @cecile
    Thanks, Cecile, for the tip! Next time I'm at JoAnn I'll look out for those velcro thingies. I've seen some there in light pink, green, blue, tan and red, and I've er... bought all of those colors for various projects. I haven't seen purple, rose or turquoise yet, so I'm hoping this is something new they've brought in.

  17. Lier, your bag are so beautiful. I admire it. Really inspired me for my next bag project!


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