Posts Tagged ‘purses’

Just a Couple of Bag Ladies

I’m afraid to count. I feel like Imelda Marcos but instead of shoes, it’s bags. Handbags. In the past five months, I’ve made over 20 handbags. Wow – it would be embarrassing if it wasn’t necessary. Every time I made a bag, I learned something very valuable that I applied to the next bag. Eventually, I got the hang of it.

But I wasn’t the only one. My good friend, Nancy Zieman, also made bags (I’ll bet she’s up to 20+ too!) just for this project, Designer Handbags. We decided to tackle this subject together because she has a line of handbag templates with Clover and I developed a ‘functional embroidery’ technique that not only looks good but works too. It sounded like the perfect marriage. And it was – we had a blast and hope you will too.

In Designer Handbags, you’ll find a 30-minute video illustrating all of the steps – embroidery, stabilizer, foundation, hardware, pressing – everything you need to make your own Designer Handbag.

There are some very clever – or smart – techniques that simplify complicated sewing tasks with an embroidery machine. What pleases me the most is every corner, strap connector and tab are exact duplicates of each other. There is no ‘bad side’ to your Designer Handbag because the digital files do all the work. You will be so impressed with your professional results when you create your own handbag with Designer Handbags.

Of course, Nancy brings her years of sewing expertise to making bags. I learned so much from her! And you will too. Nancy enjoyed using her purse templates as a starting point for Designer Handbags while I just started with rectangles of fabric. So if you have a favorite purse pattern that you’d like to add smart embroidered accents to – you can. Truly, the choice is yours.

I have made cutesy bags, quilty bags, sophisticated bags, go-to bags, gadget bags, and travel bags (with a zipper sleeve!). But I’m probably not stopping because each one is sooooo different from the one before it. I’ve been feeling like a hoarder because I haven’t been able to share the handbags until the product is out. And now it’s out! Last weekend, Nancy and I showed a few of our bags with quilt shop owners at Quilt Market in Houston. Here we are – caught in the act of hauling our precious cargo.

Finally, I get to show them off this weekend in Orlando at the Stitching Sisters event at Sewing Studio. Click here if you want to join us.

Here’s your assignment this week:

I can’t wait to see what you do with Designer Handbags and I’m hoping you’ll share photos on Facebook in a few weeks but for now, tell me what size bag you prefer. Do you tote a jumbo bag, a mid-size or petite purse? Tell us what you’re carrying now and you could win Designer Handbags.

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

I would really like to know how many of you prefer books or ebooks when it comes to embroidery/sewing/quilting titles. So tell me your preference and you’ll be in the drawing for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate from All About Blanks.

And the winner is…. (drum roll please!)
“Your quilt is quite beautiful and I am sure your niece loves it!  I prefer books b/c I like to riffle through the pages which is hard to do on an e-book…just a little old fashioned, lol”

What do jeans, bathing suits and handbags have in common?

It’s almost impossible to find one that fits you! And the shopping experience is truly miserable. Let’s start with jeans. You have to bring at least six different pairs into the dressing room – a full range of sizes, cuts and lengths. Then there’s the joy of getting out of your clothes and trying each one on. The lighting is terrible, you need two mirrors so you can get a true view of the back of the jeans, none of them fit, so it’s back into your clothes, return the jeans to the sales floor and get another slew to try on. That is – if – there are more styles in that store. Probably not, most likely you have to head to another store. Of course, I didn’t address the pricing issue – that’s another whole scenario. And how come the only ones that fit really well have holes in them? I am not paying extra for holes. I refuse.

Bathing suits. This experience is so degrading I know many women who simply do not wear bathing suits. I don’t blame them. But sometimes, they’re necessary and I do love the water so I wear them. I am very comfortable in a suit with complete strangers. Any other condition is an entirely different story.

Back to the search for a suit. Again, a full arm of suits in a variety of cuts and sizes goes into the dressing room. Now, we have to strip down to our skivvies and stand in the fluorescent glare and look in the mirror. Oh for heavens sake, dim the lights, use the Crazy House mirrors that make us look skinny, paint the walls a soft, rosy pink – anything to make the naked, aging skin look youthful again! And I’m not even in the suit yet! Today the suits come with slimming linings so your tummy is flat, you’re having difficulty breathing and your thighs look like stuffed sausages. Oh a little skirt might do the trick! Every time I pick up a skirted suit, I remember the last time my mother wore a bathing suit. I was about 8 (she would have been my age now) and said, “Oh Mom, I love that swim dress!” Never again did she don a suit and join us in the water. And we lived at the beach. Sorry, Mom. It is a family rule – never describe a skirted bathing suit as a swim dress.

The best part of bathing suit shopping is buying the cover-up. I love the cover-ups! They can be glamorous, plain, tropical, beachy, you name it… they’re beautiful and comfortable! So if you have to actually purchase a suit always treat yourself to a new cover-up. And add embroidery – up near the face so everyone stops looking at your thighs!

Handbags. Shopping for handbags is even worse because this you have to do in public – on the sales floor. I always feel like I’m about to commit a crime because my behavior is so suspicious. I pick up the bag, examine it and open every pocket and zipper. Put it over my shoulder. Look for a mirror (they don’t exist in most handbag departments, they do in the shoe department but not the bag department, which is funny because you can see the shoes when they’re on your feet!) Then I travel over to the ladies clothing department in search of a mirror. Now I’m moving through the store with THEIR handbag on my shoulder (in addition to mine). I think that’s very suspicious behavior. What I would really like to do is, dump all the contents from my bag into the new bag and see if everything fits. But I think I would be approached by a badge-wearing security person with a very stern look on his/her face.

So? What’s a machine embroiderer to do? I can only help you on the handbags here. There is no rescue to the bathing suit-jeans scenarios (mail order might help but still it’s such a trial-and-error process). At least we can make our own bags! Thank heavens! And today we can make them soft-sided, stiff, small, large, shoulder or clutch. The list goes on and on. Right now I’m designing a collection of bags – and having a lot of fun doing it. But I am still behaving quite suspiciously in the handbag department. Now I’m actually measuring the bags on the sales floor! You know, ever-so-discreetly. Just how wide is that bottom, and how long is that strap, ooh look at that zipper placement!

Tell me about your shopping experiences. Do you bring a tape measure into the store and measure clothing or accessories? Do you find it helpful to examine the innards of bags? And feel free to tell us that last time you purchased a swimsuit!  Leave a comment for a chance to win this weeks bundle which includes Boatload of Bags and Contemporary Machine Embroidered Accessories!

Last week we asked what you would do if you had Loralie Designs and markers!  The winner is…Sorcha girl!  You’ve won the autographed drawing and Loralie’s Fast Women Light design collection.

“I’m a fan of Loralie and her characters.  Having her  autographed “art” in my sewing room would be delightful.  I missed Sewing Expo this year.  The first project I’d use with the Art Stamp “crayons” would be to add one of the  embroidered designs to a plain beige canvas tote and then, fill in with the markers.

Love to read the creative ideas your blog introduces.”