Monday, September 23, 2013

Girly handbag with piping

I love piping, but I haven't tackled too many projects with it because it still intimidates me.  Don't ask me why -- it just does.  I decided to try this little handbag (The Whim of a Trim Bag from Sew Can Do) solely because I thought the piping was awesome.  So, I took a deep breath and jumped right in.

The outer fabric is home decor weight that I found in  -- where else? -- the remnant bin at Jo-Ann's.  The lining is also a remnant bin find, but it's more of a quilter's weight cotton.  The straps are some I bought in the purse accessories section at Jo-Ann's, and they are the same kind Erin and I put on our crochet purses.

The piping went in great -- I think I have finally conquered my fear of piping.  I love how the tutorial taught me a foolproof way to sew in the piping.  I am going to have to put piping in more projects!  Now if I can only learn to sew straight and keep things pinned properly I will get a better finished product.

I added the pink button on the flap because I forgot to put padding over the backing of the magnetic clasp and it was making the fabric look worn there already!  I just hot-glued on the button because I obviously couldn't hand sew through a metal clasp.  The button ties in the lining nicely, which is important because the lining is so visible from the top view of the bag.

The lining matches better than this photo makes it look.  It's really overcast here and my photos didn't turn out so hot.  There is an interior patch pocket that I made from the outer fabric, but I wish I had placed it lower.  As it sits now, the top of the pocket is so close to the top of the bag that anything I put in the pocket would likely fall completely out of the bag if it fell over.

I really do like the bag, but I probably would have preferred a thinner gusset and a line of piping around the top of the bag as well.  It was interesting how the Peltex was inserted after the bag was formed -- I had to stuff it through a tiny opening in the lining and then wrestle with the three pieces to get them straight before the final topstitch on the outside of the bag.  That took practically as much time as constructing the entire rest of the bag.  I probably would have preferred to fuse the Peltex to the bag's pieces before constructing the main portion of the bag -- even though the topstitching is supposed to hold the Peltex into shape, the bottom of the Peltex pieces flap free.  It should be better once I put my stuff inside the purse though.

The original pattern called for adding super cute pleather handles and a spring snap for the flap.  I already had a magnetic clasp on hand so I used that instead.  The only pre-made pleather handles at Jo-Ann's would have cost nearly $20 for two of them, so I chose the fabric ones instead (for less than half the price).  I could have sewn some from pleather yardage, but I wanted a more finished look for the bag.  Too bag my top stitching around the top of the bag looks kind of cruddy because I just couldn't seem to get my tension right due to the bulk of the Peltex combined with home decor weight fabric and interfaced lining.  Come to think of it, adding piping to the top of the bag might have been a disaster.

It would made a cute camera bag if I added some padding, but it is probably too open on top to give much protection to the camera.  It was a fun sew anyway, even though the very last step (adding some tacking stitches to the creases on the gusset) made my machine throw a huge tantrum (I forgot that while sewing through one layer of Peltex was a headache, sewing through two layers is a complete and total nightmare) and nearly caused me to throw the bag out the window.

I'm going to have to keep a lookout for some purse feet, because they would be perfect for this bag.  I have never used any before, but I love when purses have those.

Time to come up with an excuse to leave the house to show off my new bag!


  1. This turned out great and I'm so glad my tutorial helped you get going with piping and make a new bag! I know hand inserting the firm stabilizer is a bit fiddly - I just find it a lot less frustrating and less likely to cause trouble than attempting to stitch a bag together with it already in place. I HATE sewing through that stuff. My machine was fine with the tacking, but in the past I've just hand sewed that part when I've run into the same situation - can you tell I've had many an expletive episodes with trying to stitch through that stuff? ;)

    1. You are totally right! I still love Peltex though -- it really does hold up over time and makes for a neat bag. So glad you liked my creation. Such a fabulous tutorial!!!

  2. You did a beautiful job. I love the fabric and the handles.