Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bag B

More than a year ago my daughter and I bought three Simplicity sewing patterns at the Curiosity Shoppe. They were for a skirt, a dress, and a cloth handbag. We made the skirt and the dress last year but the bag slipped off the radar screen. Recently (and by accident) I rediscovered the bag pattern. In fact, this pattern will make any of six different bag shapes, and I couldn't even remember which shape we had originally admired. But when I showed the pattern cover to my daughter, she remembered that we wanted View B.

Next question: What about fabric? My daughter had an answer for that one, too. She and a friend had been vintage shopping, and together went in on an Eighties Spring Coat in a heavy-ish, linen-like printed fabric smothered in Warhol-style flowers. They were especially attracted by the Renaissance-type slashed sleeves with linings in hot pink raw silk. At home they attempted to transform this coat into a wearable contemporary garment but reluctantly reached the conclusion that it was never going to work.

But this very coat popped into my daughter's head when I showed her the pattern for Bag B and she jumped up and rushed to her closet, then returned and thrust the Warhol Spring Floral Eighties Coat into my embrace.

It turned out to be more difficult than I expected to cut the required pattern pieces out of the coat because it had been sewed in panels to enhance the fit and there was only just barely enough distance between the seams to fit the pattern pieces.

It is true that Simplicity Patterns are simple but I study and annotate them anyway before cutting, due to the memory of tragic mistakes in the past. Only after I have assured myself multiple times that I understand what I am undertaking, do I break out the sewing box and reach for scissors and pins.

It did feel a little unkind and brutal to be chopping up this somewhat interesting piece of Reagan-era fashion. But its soul will migrate to the finished handbag, I feel sure.

These are the 12 pieces that will, God willing, become Bag B.

And this is the corpse. I thought about using the coat lining (a different fabric and paler pink than the sleeve linings) for the bag lining but the weight seemed wrong. By a fortuitous chance I had some sizable scraps of heavy synthetic satin in a hotter (therefore preferable) pink. The lining and the interfacing could both be sourced from leftovers-on-hand, making this the lowest-cost project I have undertaken in many a day.

And getting everything cut out seemed like a good place to stop on Day 1. Tomorrow is one of those Monday holidays. If the weather stays as dark and wet as it did today, the sewing machine will undoubtedly want to come out of its closet and the sewing itself can commence. First off, I need to zigzag along all those linen edges, prone as they are to fray.