Purr purse

March 2014, Singapore, an emergency purse is bought in absence of a handbag needed to go clubbing.  Turns out it is -the perfect- purse, including a soothing kitten to stroke in times of need for something soft. In fear of it falling apart (it was dirt cheap), the search for a replacement begins, but fails miserably. The size, the phone pocket, the arm strap, the many pockets on the inside, and of course the soft kitten to stroke. All simple features on their own, but combined they make for an unique purse it seems. So a new search begins, for enough courage to make a copy. Loads of how-to’s on line are read, for purses with some of the features, but never all. Then, after more than 2 years have gone by, the Work begins! Fabric is bought, a toile is made,  then a first attempt which is soon ript apart to start again. And then… I proudly present you the Purr Purse, together with the inspiration.

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Since this was quite the project, I wanted to make a manual on how to do it. Not an easy task and it made me appreciate the sewing descriptions available even more. Also, drawing is hard! But I persevered, so here it is.

Stuff you need:

  • Fabric cut in rectangles of 12.5 x 19.5 cm, which is including 1 cm seam allowance:
    • 2x outer material (yellow)
    • 2x fusible interface (not used this time, but would recommend it)
    • 4x faux leather (purple)
    • 8x lining (white with constellations)
  • More faux leather for bits and pieces:
    • P: 2x zipper pull tags (1.5 x 2 cm)
    • E: eye for hook (1.5 x 6 cm)
    • Z1: zipper end enclosure (4 x 6 cm)
    • Z2: zipper end enclosuer (3 x 3 cm)
    • T: 2x enforcement top (3 x 19.5 cm)
    • S: arm strap (1.5 x 32 cm)
  • Soft fabric for kitten (5 x 10 cm, brownish purple)
  • Non-fabric things
    • 3x zipper (15, 17.5 and 21 cm) The long zipper might have courser teeth.
    • bias band to finish lining seams (roughly 120 cm,  white)
    • hook to attach strap to loop (copper)
    • 2x small rings (1 cm diameter, copper)
    • thread matching all fabrics (i.e. yellow, purple and white)

Instructions

At every step, consider which colour thread to use. Always use same color for top and bottom thread for the best result.

  • Step 1: Prepare the faux leather bits and pieces
  • Step 2:
    Step 2
    Step 2

    Inner pocket zipper. Insert zipper for the inner pocket, including the zipper end enclosure Z2 (see drawing). Don’t sew zipper into the seam allowance. Leave room to tug away the zipper ends. Add lining.

  • Step 3: Prepare inner pocket. Top stitch the zipper, be careful not to sew into the seam allowance. Sew lining and faux leather together within the seam allowance, to make things easier in later steps.
  • Step 3 and 4
    Step 3 and 4
  • Step 4: Prepare inner halves of the outer pocket. Sew faux leather and lining together (r.s. together), top stitch (w.s. together). Sew lining and faux leather within seam allowance (w.s. together).
  • Step 4a: Prepare ending of the main zipper, as explained with step 9.
  • Step 5:
    Step 5 and 6
    Step 5 and 6

    Combine. Sew inner pocket and inner halves of the outside pockets together at 3-4 cm from the edge. Inner pocket is positioned 1 cm downwards relative to outer pockets. Use thread in the color of the faux leather, this will show in the end result. Catch zipper enclosure of large zipper (see step 9) within this seam.

  • Step 6: Finish inner pocket. Put the inner pocket together inside out, i.e faux leather sides together (purple thread). While doing this, bundle up the inner halves of the outer pockets, to get them out of the way of the seam. Sew together, making sure to trap the zipper endings in the seam. Don’t forget to include the eye for hook attaching the arm strap at the opposite side of the ending of the large zipper (see step 5). Finish the seems with bias band.
  • Step 7:
    Step 7 and 8
    Step 7 and 8

    Side zipper. Apply fusible interface to outside material (yellow). In 1 outer side, cut an opening, similar to halve a welt pocket, to insert the side zipper (2 cm from the sides, 3 cm from the top). Add lining to zipper. See also the drawing for this step.

  • Step 7a: Kitten. Cut kitten shape and sew to other outer side. Position it, such that your thumb will rests on it when holding the purse.
  • Step 8: Phone pocket.
    8a: Attach faux leather top enforcement to other half of the zipper and top of the side panel, folding away the “welt pocket triangles”. Top stitch zipper.
    8b: Add lining to top half of zipper.
    8c: Sew outside fabric + 2 layers of lining together within the seam allowance. Trim excess lining fabric.
  • Step 9:
    Step 9 and 10
    Step 9 and 10

    Main zipper. Attach zipper enclosure Z1 to start of the large zipper (see drawing) and insert zipper to outer sides, similar to the inner pocket zipper at step 2. Make sure you enclose the zipper endings.

  • Step 10: Outer pockets. Fold away the inner pocket and 1 inner half. Sew together the first outer pocket. Repeat for the other outer pocket. Procedure is similar to inner pocket at step 6.

And here once more the same description, now in all it’s hand written beauty.

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Vinnies

An interesting difference between The Hague and Brizzy. In The Hague I lived within walking distance from a fabric shop, in Brizzy there’s a second hand shop (Vinnies) just down the street. Upcycling for the win! Sometimes upcycling is almost more work than to start from scratch, but not this weekend. I got myself three easy projects.

I found the perfect dress to take with on upcoming diving trips: all polyester to withstand salt water and lots of sun, and nice and loose fit for ease of use. But the puffy sleeves were restricting me. Off with their cuffs and on with the flow: my rolled hem pressure foot to the rescue. Bam, done!

The trousers were a good fit. One seem at the back was torn, and fixed before it knew what happened to it. The length though, an awkward 7/8th. A quick look inside revealed the biggest hem ever made, so in a snap these were too long. How is that for awesome? Add a hem, boom, ready for my trip to Adelaide this Wednesday.

And as if Frankenshirt never happend, I bought a loose fitted blouse. A women’s blouse this time, with a revealing neckline due to a poor fit. The colour is lovely though. So out with the scissors! I used a different (single) pattern this time, no need for impromptu fixes left and right so far. No guarantees though, I haven’t actually sewn any seems. And the sleeves still pose the usual challenge.

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Frankenshirt

My first attempt at revamping a mens shirt. Always a good idea to use a shirt of really nice fabric and color for an experiment, right?

Couldn’t find any examples on-line to rehash a loose fitted shirt to a fitted shirt. Makes sense, since a fitted shirt has the armpit placed much higher up, which results in the need for more width than a non-fitted shirt typically will offer.

That’s how Frankenshirt happend, using the arm scythe of a shirt, the bodice part of a dress and free styling the bottom half of the shirt, again to match fit the available fabric. Feeling master of my universe, I decided to let the darts of the bodice just end open, to get a sort of emperor dress style.

Then came the sleeves. I didn’t want to take the cuffs apart, so I had to cut the sleeve head and trim down the sleeve width from a semi constructed sleeve. I though I used the sleeve head pattern that went with the arm scythe pattern, but I had way too much fabric. Enter the pleats. This, of course, resulted in somewhat puffed sleeves. Like princess style puff sleeves. This is becoming one royal design!

I had some fun with the collar. Decided to go mandarin style by simply removing the collar and closing up the collar stand. The result is not quite mandarin, but I kinda like it.

Anyway, the result. Could be worse I guess, but not really what I was going for. Or my style. But I’ll take it for a test drive and see if it grows on me. Or I might just pop a seam stretching too far. Who knows, life’s a gamble :).

DSC_0282

 

Heaven

It’s interesting how close to the skin my sewing experience is to me (no pun intended). Before we left I joked that all I needed to settle in was a fabric store close by. Turns out this is truer than I knew.

Some disappointing experiences at Lincraft and the other options in the CBD left me feeling a bit out of sorts. Apparently fabric á 150 AUD / meter is a thing down here, while tracing paper is not. They buy single patterns and cut them straight out. I should have known, since they do not seem to sell sewing magazines like Burda anywhere. The Needlefruit Sewing Lounge in Paddington seemed promising online, but turned out to be just for sewing courses.

However, the lovely lady there did point me in in the direction of The Fabric Store in Fortitude Valley. This is where I finally felt at home. So much nice fabrics arranged by color and material. Mostly plain instead of busy prints, often really fun but just not me. And next to cottons they have jerseys as well, which is a rare thing in this part of the world. I got a mustard cotton and a beautiful red raw silk for the projects I have in mind, and some tracing fabric (when in Rome…). But I’ll be back for more! They are open on Sundays as well, and they are having a sale at the moment….

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To polo or not to polo

I’ve got my sewing machine in Brizzy! Time to make good use of it by vamping up my “uniform” a bit. I don’t really have a uniform of course, but I might take up the habit of my colleague down under of wearing Deltares polo shirts. It makes it clear to my office mates where I’m from. However, I don’t like to wear poloshirts, hence the sewing frenzy this weekend. Two down, two to go!

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Stuff, stuff, glorious stuff

Our shipment finally arrived on Thursday January 14th. It took a bit longer than the promised 10-14 days, since pick up in The Hague was on December 16th….

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Turns out that signing up for http://www.meetup.com/, the Fri-Arv-Grog (my attempt to translate vrijmibo to Aussie, but it doesn’t have the same ring to it) and even a quick chat in the elevator are pretty good ways to meet the locals.  Aussies are pretty friendly and welcoming folk, that’s for sure.

So what do you do on a cloudy, drizzly Saturday in Brisbane? Right, you sew!

Some originals, because..

And then I also made some originals tops with the same two patterns. Because Sunday. And also, because the fabric stash won’t come with to Brizzy, but completed tops might!

Cap sleeved top, blue Boat / portrait neck, butterflies