Wednesday, August 3, 2016

i made some bags: manhattan purse


Despite huge pauses here on the blog, I do still have ambitions of blogging finished sewing projects that I've done. Newly sewn clothing has been pretty scarce around here lately (most of my time is still going into my sewing class and a little volunteer side project for a brand that I'm really excited about. And you know, my full time job). But I also have a fair amount of things I sewed last year and never photographed or just never blogged, so really I have no excuse but laziness (and busyness, for sure).

But hey! No blog apologies, I'm just going to try to pick things up a little bit. So I'm going to show you all a few bags I sewed over the course of spring and summer. I'm a very perfectionistic garment-sewer - I like clothes that fit well, and I've never been a fan of loose, forgiving outfits on my body, so anything I sew to wear takes a lot of time and iteration to get the right fit. Bags are a great break from this - the joy of just sewing a project start to finish, with no muslins, no fitting and pinching seams and ripping out stitches to resew a seam! And easy to photograph, since I can do it with no giant mirror or tripod (although this means no "action shots" for you).

The first - a lovely little purse, the Manhattan Bag from Emmaline Bags. I made the "Miss" size, which is the smaller one. It's exactly the right size for my wallet, phone, and sunglasses and pops right into my commute backpack when I head to work.


This was my first time sewing a purse, and it was pretty intimidating cutting out what felt like a billion pieces of three different fabrics and two types of interfacing. But the instructions were super clear, and the second half of construction felt really fast - everything just sort of came together into a finished purse, almost like magic.

I got a gray quilting cotton for the main body (in hindsight, I wish I'd gotten something sturdier but it works okay). The interior lining is another quilting cotton, which works fine, and I got a lovely Cotton + Steel canvas for the front panel. I agonized (slightly) over pattern placement and ended up centering the cozy pine trees and woodland creatures.


I really love the features of the purse. There's a front pocket (exterior, but sealed up with a magnetic snap when the top is down), and it's the perfect size for my phone and makes it easy to pull out. The zipper pocket on the front flap provides interesting contrast and is perfect for my transportation card (super easy to dig out even when the purse is buried in my backpack). The inside is just roomy enough to store what I need without losing anything in the bottom, and there's another interior pocket where I often end up stashing fabric scraps that I need to match thread to at the fabric store.

There are only a few small tweaks I would make if I did it again (and, spoiler: I did! As a gift). In addition to using a heavier fabric for the body, I regret some of my notion choices - the d-rings that hold the strap don't stay in place and always swing up vertically and bunch up the strap ends, and I wish I'd found a slider and made the strap adjustable. This was mostly because I ordered everything online (all from fabric.com, iirc) and options were limited, but I later went to Britex in downtown SF and had much better luck finding great metal bits for my later iteration.





Despite its imperfections, I use it almost daily since I made it in February and it's holding up great. I'm starting to think about making one (or something similar) in a nice leather, but I think it'll be awhile before I get that far through my "to sew" list, so I have some time to think about it.

Stay tuned for three (!) more bag posts, assuming I get my blogging shit together, including another Manhattan purse.

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