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Friday, 1 May 2015

Handbags and Wallets Part 7

It is very rare that I will go back to a design once I have finished with it, but this time I liked the idea of the suggested changes and decided to apply them. Besides which, it came with an order! My mom saw the vanity bag I had made and fell in love with the idea. I had no idea she was in the market for a vanity bag and this one came at the right time. She only had one request; she wanted a pocket or two on the outside of the bag for the things she wants quick access to. Then my sister-in-law suggested a pocket in the lid to keep things like razors in, which posed potential harm if kept in among the rest of the contents of the bag. At first I did not like either of the suggestions, but the more I thought about it, the more it grew on me. Finally I succumbed. You can download the pattern for the bag here from

Pattern design
The pattern was already in place and I merely needed to add a few pieces to the existing pattern. I started by sketching the new concept using Daler-Rowney’s Pitt Pens on a 100 gsm sketchpad.

I added a pocket for the lid which would have a zipper running through the centre of the circle where it is at its widest and would provided the best entry point for objects and/or hands. I designed a pattern piece that would create a series of pockets right around the circumference of the bag.

All that was left to do, was to transfer the design onto A4 paper so I could convert it to pdf and make it available for download on

Pattern Layout
I decided to use 2 different fabric designs and a lining for this version of the bag. From Fabric 1 I cut the Handle x1 and the Pockets, x 1 to stretch around the bag.

From Fabric 2 I cut the Lid Side x 1, the Top & Bottom x 2, the side x 1 and the Lid Pocket x 2.

From the lining I cut the Lid Pocket x 2, the Pockets x 1, the Side x 1, the Top & Bottom x 2 and the Lid Side x 1.

Construction – support elastic
Exactly as with the previous bag, I decided to add an elastic support to the lining that would assist in keeping bottles upright. I cut some wide elastic to the same length as the panel. I pinned it to the middle of the panel. I placed pins at regular intervals where I wanted to stitch to make the elastic compartments.

I secured the elastic in place with stay stitches on the sides.

I then stitched at 8 cm intervals through the elastic to create smaller ‘pockets’.

Construction – the zippers
I started with the zipper in the lid which was a new addition to this bag. You will need a zipper of 20 cm for this purpose.

Pin the zipper to the fabric of the Lid Pocket, right sides facing.

Pin the lining to the other side of the zipper, right side facing the back of the zipper, sandwiching the zipper between the lining and the fabric

Sew as close as possible to the zipper.

Sandwich the other side of the zipper to the remaining fabric and lining pieces in the same manner. Sew as close as possible to the zipper.

I put the lid pocket aside and concentrated on the bag zipper.

I sandwiched the zipper between the Bottom Side Fabric and Lining and sewed as close as possible to the zipper. Make sure that you do not sew any further than the metal stops of the zipper, i.e. only sew along the openings of the zipper and not all the way through form one side to the other. These small pieces need to be left open to attach the lid to the bottom of the bag.

I then repeated the same steps with the other side of the zipper, sandwiching the zipper between the fabric and lining of the Lid Side, sewing as close as possible to the zipper.

Pin the small openings before and after the zippers, lining to lining and fabric to fabric, right sides facing. Fold the zipper and other fabric away and sew from the side into the zipper stitching.

Both ends of the zipper should look like this on the outside as well as the inside.

Iron the small seams open as well as both zippers.

We will continue with the bag in the next blog and finish it the day after.
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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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