Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bag in Grey Vinyl

Occasionally, I will make myself a bag.

I'm kinda picky about bags I use, see. So picky that I often don't think homemade will do. Especially fabric homemade. I like my bags to be leather (if I'm feeling rich). Or vinyl (if I'm feeling middle-class). Or nylon (if I suspect I might be running through dirt and mud and snow). So I buy my bags instead, because commercially-made bags are often in those materials.


There's nothing original about this bag, incidentally. It's a complete knock-off of an Old Navy piece I saw earlier in the summer, except that the O.N. version was solid-color vinyl. And much as I like solid anything, I wanted something a little edgier, preferably in a very neutral color (but not black) that would go with all my clothes because I am too lazy to swop out my purses and handbags as I slide along the fashion color spectrum from day to day. And also preferably with custom pockets for idiotic things that only I put in my bags, like my entire cosmetic collection, 6 different pens, CDs and my travel mug of tea du jour.

So, grey.

In a combination of homedec fabric, stabilized with canvas, and upholstery vinyl.

Quick tour: 
Here's the bag opened up - piping around the base and vinyl strips along the sides, 

that terminate in buckles,

into which the shoulder strap fits, 

adjustable from short so the bag can be carried on one shoulder,

to long so it can be worn cross-body. I've learned that until my kids go to college and I no longer have to subconsciously leave at least one hand free for emergency herding and pointing, cross-body bags are my best friends.

The opening of the bag is drawcord through grommets,

fastened with a cordstop

and ending in tassels.

Here is the inside:

Quilting cotton, backed with sew-in interfacing, and with pockets,

not that you can see them,

so I'll flip the bag inside out.

Here's pocket #1 - a zippered welt.

On the other side are Pockets #2 and #3:

for sunglasses, cellphone and general flotsam and jetsam.

And here's a key strap, so I won't lose my keys in one of those pockets.

I am sorta tempted to sometimes use this bag inside out, because the aqua is so pretty with the vinyl. But one of those 6 pens is going to trash up that lining before long, so I'll just stick to grey-side-out.

Because I know you're going to ask, let me just say No, I'm not going to do a tutorial or pattern for this bag, okay? Like I said, it's not even original. You can go to Old Navy to see one like it in person and make your own facsimile thereof. And if you do make your own vinyl bag, consider a leather needle. It is the wonderfullest thing next to an industrial sewing machine, and infinitely cheaper. 

Now I must finish my wallets. I procrastinated and made an entire bag to justify it, but, still. 


  1. I don't usually sew bags for daily use. I am not very good at sewing (yet). But I prefer bags that can support heavy stuff, which I don't think I am able to make one. So, I do buy my bags too :P

    It's a separate story when I'm sewing small pouches, or bags for my little cousin (a baby/toddler). ;)

  2. What a perfectly lovely bag! So functional, and go-with-everything besides! And that lining fabric IS beautiful! Isn't sewing with vinyl fun? I've had my one taste (oops, I guess it's now two), and I need more!

  3. That bag is just gorgeous! I'm picky about my bags too... I usually buy them for much the same reasons you listed above, but I'll admit I'm getting fed up with them falling apart on me after 6 months. I should probably just buy some quality materials and make one. The adjustable strap is probably my favorite part of yours. I've never seen anyone make a vinyl cordstop before... I've only seen black plastic ones. I much prefer this.

  4. I found cross body bags are my friends too since having two boys 12 months apart. It was so lovely to hear another Mum say that. I can't understand these women that insist on struggling with a shoulder or hand held bag. I love having my hands free, fear of bag slipping off my shoulder, or having to put my bag down on some unsanitary surface to deal with a scraped knee, snotty nose, etc. love the bag, practical and pretty.

  5. I love that outside fabric with the dandelion seed profile in white. What.designer and collection is it from? I must find some. It would go perfectly with a project I have in mind.

  6. Even once your kids are older cross body bags are best. Less likely to get snatched, a shoulder bag is easy for someone running past to grab; cross body they have to cut and grab.

  7. Beautiful bag, impressive sewing. What machine do you have?

  8. THAT'S ONE INCREDIBLE SEWING JOB! VERY impressive! I love to make bags, but I make them because one, I enjoy the process, and two, I can never find one that I like to buy, because I'm picky! I have fabrics (Ultrasuede and silk) waiting for me now to make a combo tablet/purse bag. My tablet is larger than most that I have seen on the 'net; it is 10.5 inches long by about 7.5 inches wide in its leather case. I'd never find a purse to buy that would protect it adequately. I've been carrying a small purse, as I have cut way back on the junk I put in one, so a large pocket will probably do for that, on the tablet case. I haven't decided yet how I want it to look; any ideas? I could just make a messenger bag to carry separately, but most likely one or the other would get left behind in some doctor or dentist's office. That's not a good choice for me.

  9. The bag is gorgeous! And I wasn't going to ask for a pattern, I promise, your bag tutorials are enough to allow me to figure it out. I would go crazy trying to find bags with enough pockets to allow me to organise my life, until I found purse organisers. Made me look at the world in a different way!


  10. That is a beautiful bag! It is so professionally done. I love all the little details, the great topstitching, the beautiful hardware, that really make it picture perfect. Maybe I will go to Old Navy and copy one of their bags for myself!

  11. Beautiful! Did you actually sew this on a home sewing machine? I have done heavy things on mine (1984 Singer set into an old treadle cabinet, so very stable) but despite being less friction-y than I imagine vinyl would be, they were not remotely as tidy looking as this.

  12. I plan on sewing today, but this bag was not on the plan. I'll see if i can resist.

  13. Lovely bag. I have that dandelion fabric in the white/fuchsia colorway and the gray/white is so classy and different! I love the tassels you made!

  14. Thats so lovely and doesnt look self made at all. Looks like you picked it up in a designer chic boutique.

  15. Every time I see something you've made, I am flabbergasted by the skill and detail you put in. Absolutely lovely (like all your things), and so impressive that you can make something so professional and beautiful. I swear, woman--you never fail to inspire me to bring my A-game and make each project the best I can make it! Love, love, love.

  16. Thanks for the bag love, friends! And to answer the FAQ: no, I didn't use an industrial machine. I sewed the bag on my regular, home machine. But with the leather needle (MUST, not same as topstitching needle) and with the walking foot. My machine (Pfaff) has an integrated walking foot, so I sew with it engaged 99% of the time without thinking about it, but it really makes a difference when moving sticky and tacky materials under the presser foot. The presser foot, incidentally, is the regular presser foot, too. No need for teflon foot or Scotch 3M tape or anything.

  17. Perfection! You are tempting me to try doing a bag too! I so appreciate your bag posts. They are like a college course in bag making. The dandelion fabric is one of my favorites. Can't wait to see what you do next.

  18. So so lovely, L! Beautifully done.

  19. This is great! I love the vinyl details!

  20. this bag is gorgeous. i half expected to scroll down and see 4 more versions of it :) and maybe had my fingers crossed that they'd be in your shop! haha. top notch!!

  21. Te admiro profundamente. Un trabajo brillante!!!

  22. I'm the opposite. I dislike purchased bags and the more expensive the uglier they seem to get. I hate all that padding and metal hardware, they are just so heavy and unattractive. I love fabric bags most of all and I love handmade fabric bags more than any other kind. I have not seen a bag to buy in several years as they are so gross to me. They do nothing for me at all. I made one last year - all hand stitched and beautifully so if I may say so myself. It's very strong and perfectly neat with stitches that are stronger than my machine does, (another thing is that machine stitching unravels and hand stitching does not. I'm fed up with the expensive coat and jeans I bought where the stitches did just that. My sewing never does that.) It's strong and pretty and nicely made. I love it. Another bag I bought from etsy and it is gorgeous. Everyone admires it. Again fabric. Small and perfectly formed and uncomplicated. Beautiful. So as a new convert to making my own bags I shall keep on doing so.

    I hate emulation of factory made. I find it weird that machines were invented to copy us and now we try to copy machines. It's sad. We are better than that I think.

  23. Hello,
    I'm French, it's very beautifull site. I like that you make! The finition are nicely! Thanks for this partage! JOE


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