Sunday, October 3, 2010

My First Purse, the Great Disaster

Like I said in my background blog, it was the summer of '08 I decided to try and make a purse. How hard could it be? Hell, I made pajamas! What was a purse compared to pajamas? In my head, purses made sense and they were easy.

Oh.... how naive was I?

It turns out that purses are a whole new ball game. You aren't just dealing with fabric, you are dealing with interfacing too! Zippers, magnetic snaps, button holes, pockets, edge stitching, top stitching and mass confusion for a novice sewer like me. No one had told me this before hand but then again, they probably thought I knew. BUT, I didn't and I had a thousand questions..
What the f**k is interfacing to begin with? 
Do I really NEED interfacing? 
Where does one even get it?
Can't I just have ribbon to close the purse with?

There was alot of "Do I really NEED to do that" throughout the project

And the answer is HELL YES to most of those questions. The others aren't important.

 To complicate matters more, It never occurred to me to have scrap material to practice with. I barely had materials to begin with! My step mom had supplies but fabric I had to go find.

And find fabric I did. But not just ANY fabric....

As I wondered through Joann's, I only looked at prints. Different textures, wafts, waves, stretchiness meant nothing to me. Fabric was fabric! So, I chose some really cool looking, soft feeling fabric for $10 a yard.... 

I found a free pattern (compliments of , had my fancy fabric, a fresh face and a determined look. I was ready to go!

But I didn't get just ANY fabric. Oh. No. I got probably the most difficult fabric to deal with, diagonal stretch cotton! Dun, Dun, Dun!!!! You know, that kind you can cut with the ut most care and it will still need manipulating when matched up with a lining? Yea, that's the one.

 One good thing was the interfacing. I actually asked the lady at Joann's where I could get it and she asked me what I needed it for. I told her a purse and she got the perfect kind I needed.  This was an actual success!

The best part was the lining! I chose an old, jersey cotton t-shirt. I could just cut it up and it would match the fancy fabric perfectly! 

Needless to say, this project was doomed...

Now, for those of you who don't know the ins and outs of fabrics, here is a list of what is wrong with this combo
1) The interfacing I bought was very thick and sewing through it when folded will make the sewing machine shake and stop in mid sew.
2) Diagonal stretch fabric moves when you cut it, pin it, sew it or look at it. 
3) Jersey cotton rolls when you cut it. This is why your favorite t-shirts are hemmed in the fashion that they are with a fancy $2,000 machine. You can't iron it so it won't roll, you just have to learn how to seduce the fabric.
4) Jersey cotton, especially faded black, looks terrible next to polyester blends. It looks terrible period. Jersey cotton needs some polyester friends.

Well, the first problem I ran into after cutting all the fabric and what not is learning the whole trick "right sides together". I make this mistake to this day and each time I scold myself. Each time, I find a new and interesting way to overlook it. This particular problem happened with the straps. As you can see from the picture below, the raw edge of these straps are supposed to go on the WRONG side of the purse, the side no one sees. You can also see why faded jersey cotton looks like crap next to this particular type of fabric.

 Here is the finished purse. It's all wrinkled because it's been stuffed in my purse tote for awhile. Trust me, the wrinkling isn't what is making the purse look like crap!

Here is the same shot but with a white background for more contrast.

If you try, you can see how the strap edges are pointing out! And you can get a glimpse of the horrid lining.

Well, let me some up what I learned with this purse:
 1) How to box corners. On this particular purse, I went over board and now the purse sits wide open.
2) How to get strap edges to go in the wrong side of the purse
3) Do not buy fancy fabric and use it on a pattern you have never made before
4) Jersey cotton is the devil
5) Interfacing is awesome but requires patience.

Everyone I showed it to was very nice about it. They told me I did a pretty good job and the straps were hardly noticeable. They were impressed that it could stand up and that I edge stitched the sides. Looking at it now, maybe it isn't as awful as I remember it but the result was not what I had hoped for.

The good thing is I didn't let this deter me. I went on and found some actual patterns to buy. But that is a whole other can of worms...

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