Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Taupe and Gold

Hello, everyone!

The Harry Potter Party Posts are all finished and I am owing you guys a pdf file of printables. Which is all ready and scanned. But I do not currently have access to my files and other regular computer stuff so I am going to wait until I am before putting it up for sale. This way, if anything goes awry with the download process or the transaction process or there is some glaring typo I missed, I'll actually be able to fix it right away.

In the meantime, I will share a random project not related to parties or Harry Potter. 

Have you heard it said, "Less is more"?

I will add: "Especially with bags."

See - I've been craving what I generally call a Goes With Everything kind of bag. You know the kind: works with church outfits and supermarket runs and dropping kids off at school; big enough to hold your tea mug and a spare sweater when at the mall but not so humongous that it looks as if you've packed all your kids' beach towels and a year's supply of diapers. 

I own many different bags. Not because I like the variety, but because I keep making and buying new bags in my fervent search for a single candidate that might possibly transcend most social occasions and color schemes. Occasionally I will find one remotely suitable, and proceed to use it to death, until it's stained and ripped and the zipper jams and even I can't tell what color it is anymore. Or until I've realized my needs have inexplicably changed and I no longer need something so big, or so colorful, or so waterproof or so. . . whatever.

Anyway, last week, I made a new bag.

My ongoing craving might be an omnicouture impossibility but my (current) specific weakness is grey and brown and plain and non-fabric-looking, hence this taupe suede and chocolate strap ensemble. I haven't had the time to go shopping for leather of the right thickness to cut into straps, so for the time being, it's vinyl. 

Yes, it's completely featureless. The suede, however, dresses it up, I think. Isn't it interesting how the kind of fabric (not the print) defines a bag? I've always been partial to solid fabrics with extraverted textures. 

I will admit that I was tempted to applique a big accent detail on the front like I did with this bag, but eventually decided not to take the time to. Maybe for the next iteration - I have a milk chocolate suede that I could try that out in - I'll do some floral thing with saddle-stitching. Hm.

I do still like subtle print, though. So I always funkify the lining. 

See? Mildly distracting on the inside, but calm and easy-going on the outside.  

Incidentally, this bag has an invisible snap that you er. . . can't see, to hold the mouth shut. And the base seam is driving me nuts in these photos because I didn't want to get my ironing board out in the middle of all the home remodeling and press it open, and now I'm paying the price for it.

Just to see if I could turn this same design into something conventionally dressy, I made another bag in Jessica Jones' In Theory barkcloth (golden retro gorgeousness).

Instead of a hand-made strap, I used an actual belt. Amazing time-saver.

And put in one of those turn-lock flap closures to complement the brown strap (and the brown base, which you probably can't see in the photos).

And I'm trying out a new way to make a faux-welt pocket on the inside. Much easier than regular welt pockets because you don't have to do the crazy interface-the-welt-window thing.

Here you go: one fancy, one plain. 

When I have some time, I am going to make a few more variations on this design - a grommet-knot rouleau strap, for instance. And I must do one with those shiny screw-in grommets. So many possibilities. 


  1. I really like the bag! The depth and width look great. I did not know about "invisible" magnets--I like the idea of it. I have thrift-store belts to use for straps. Will look forward to the pattern release!

  2. I love the simplicity, for me that is the beauty that makes a classic. Hope your reno goes quickly (there is always an unexpected issue so breathe and laugh with your girls...)

  3. Both look great! I love the simplicity.

  4. Both bags are gorgeous! I can't wait to see what else you do with this design theme. Your use of a belt as a shoulder strap is genius!

    And now you have me wanting to research faux welt pockets. Must resist since I have a massive to-do list today, but throwing it on the back burner...

  5. Lovely! I can see why you enjoy those sophisticated solids but I need some kind of a print to distract the eye from how dirty I get everything! We are having RAIN here today in the San Francisco Bay Area and that's still exciting. I could use a vinyl bag right now but since rain is still a novelty, I'll just shove my bag inside one of those Trader Joe's Tyvek things and be at my usual height of fashion. Thank you for your inspiration!

  6. Love your bag(s). What type of sewing machine do you use for them? Any suggestions for a heavy duty home machine? I don't want a rocket powered industrial one but I would like to be able to sew vinyl and heavier fabrics (purses and home dec). Thanks!

  7. Oh! I think I am in love. That is just stunning. I love suede and this is just so pretty! I may need to try to make one.

  8. I'm a big believer in pirating straps from other bags or re-purposing a belt. I actually don't mind sewing a strap. I just happen to like a slight contrast in material/texture.
    Happy remodeling.
    p.s. I think you would like cork fabric.

    1. I like that the thrift store has a wide selection of bag straps in a variety of materials AND they are adjustable.
      Matching the hardware is sometimes interesting, but that is a light duty challenge (first world problems).
      As ever, fine work.

  9. I also have been looking for this kind of suitable tote. Maybe I will finally try a pattern after finding your blog sometime ago. But I see that this would be very nice for a new mommmy who desperately wants to have a little bit of fashion in her life after maternity clothes. Remodeling is great when it is done.


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