Friday, 30 October 2015

I've made a handbag!!!

Wow, I've made a handbag and I'm very pleased with the result [it being my first attempt].

I'm still trying to finish the jacket blogged last time but the sleeves are giving me some problems. I didn't want the puffed, gathered sleeves in the Burda pattern for the jacket so I redesigned the sleeve head but it wasn't that easy. Insead of having 1½ - 2" to 'ease' in, when I measured it was 3½" so no wonder I was having problems. 
Out came the seam ripper and a few modifications later and I've almost got one in. I still have three to go including the lining and I don't know about you but when a project doesn't go smoothly I get a bit disheartened and lose a bit of enthusiasm. Don't get me wrong, I haven't given up completely but I needed another project to 'lift' my spirits.

With Craftsy offering free classes for a small fee available only for October, I took advantage of the Design Your Own Handbag by Brett Bara class and found this to be exactly what I needed.

Brett was an excellent tutor and filled me with enthusiasm. I had fabric left over from the jacket and trousers so together with some hardware 'bits' bought from eBay, this is what I made.

I embroidered the front pocket before it was sewed to the bag. In fact sewing the whole bag was straightforward and fun but the order that you do things needs a lot of planning.
 This is the back of the bag with a zipped pocket. The outside pockets all had to be completed before sewing the sides and bottom of the bag. Each piece is interfaced and then a thick interlining is sandwiched between the outer bag and inner lining fabric.

 The view from the top of the bag shows the recessed zip which is a separating zipper so actually opens wider than shown.
 There is also a small zip pocket in the lining.

This view shows the inner zip closed to ensure contents stay inside.

The base of the bag has a stiffener provided by my husband and cut exactly to size. The stud feet are easy to apply and add a professional touch.

Well the bag is finished so I have no excuse now not to get back to the jacket sleeves. Making the bag was a good diversion for me. Do you find when a project is hitting a bit of a brick wall that it's best to move away from it temporarily and re visit it when your mood is in a better place to continue?

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Plaid Jacket - Why did I choose this for a first attempt?

It has been some time since I uploaded a blog and there are two major reasons for this. The first one is that we've been on an extended journey through Europe in our Motorhome. We left Dover early one morning at the end of August and travelled across to France by ferry before moving on to Bruges in Belgium for a couple of nights. From there we travelled to Luxembourg then on through Germany and Switzerland and finally northern Italy. We drove down eventually as far as Venice and then made our way home again via Switzerland France and Belgium. We visited many cities en route including Bruges, Verona, Luxembourg City and of course Venice itself and in every one of these plus many smaller towns my main focus was to search out fabric shops. Sadly there were very few to be found as they tend to be situated further out than the main shopping centres and not easily accessible but by far the best was in Luxembourg however, even here the fabrics were far more expensive than in the UK. I did indulge in some though but they're in my stash at the moment and will get blogged about when I decide what to make with them.

The other cause for the absence is that I am at last trying to tackle my bĂȘte noire which is a tailored jacket although as a first attempt it is a slightly casual and fully lined style.

I chose this Burda pattern from the August BurdaStyle Magazine [#106] because I loved the simple collar and patch pockets on the front which I thought would be easier to tackle than welt pockets. 

This was probably my first mistake because although the style was exactly what I was looking for, the instructions were less than helpful. I had to contact a friend and together we are trying to make sense of them. I did make a muslin first and tweaked the pattern by lowering the bust apex position and adjusting the waist line to mine. I also changed the top of the sleeve head as I wasn't keen on the gathered sleeve preferring the more classic set in sleeve look.

The second mistake for a first attempt was the fabric I chose. Well let me just say that I got this from a charity shop and it only cost £4.50 for nearly 3 metres so my thoughts were, it wouldn't matter too much if I messed up. It's actually a lovely fabric but the plaid design gave me a ton of pattern matching issues that I could have done without. Having said all that I am overjoyed at how I've managed to make the pockets and front pieces line up - so far so good.

As you see I chose to accent the shoulder, pocket flaps and sleeve detail in a plain fabric to add a little flair.
So this is as far I've got and I thought I'd share this with you now as I'm taking a lot longer to complete this project than I had hoped. I've got to tackle the sleeves next and having read the instructions over and over I'm still not certain what it all means. I do wish Burda would make it clearer as to which pattern piece the are referring. They number each piece for cutting but then refer to them by a description which doesn't help. For instance - On curved section, seam edges of upper sleeve and sleeve bands - why couldn't they use the number of the piece? I think they mean the overlap on the sleeve hem vent but it isn't really a 'band' as such and totally confused me. Instructions should make it simple to understand not leaving you feeling you've had to translate it from a foreign language!!

Do you find pattern instructions confusing sometimes? Does anyone else find Burda patterns particularly unhelpful? I'd love to know I'm not alone here so leave me a comment and let me know.

When this jacket is finally ready to wear I have some plain green fabric that I bought as a remnant from C&H Fabrics in Chichester before we went away and it matches perfectly. I am going to make some trousers with it and I also intend to make a handbag with the left over fabric of both the plain and the plaid. I've been inspired by a Crafsty Class by Brett Bara called Design You Own Handbag.

I'll keep you posted on progress.