Yes, more straight line sewing coming up. And looks pretty much the same as the self-drafted tote I showed you a couple of years ago. How exciting right!
Me: Sweetie, how do you like my new handbag!
MR: Erm, isn’t that the one you already have?
Me: And? So?
MR: If you’re making another why would you make it exactly the same?
Me: Why because it was such a huge success! Why change something that ain’t broken!
I did not lie. The first one I’ve used almost every day for the last two years. I’m obviously no Fashionista. The same neutral handbag does me just fine regardless of the outfit.
But that first one is now tatty. It was sort of a muslin. Most of the ingredients were from the Stash and not bought specifically for it. It frayed and peeled. The peeling got so bad that I cut away the bottom corner patches (only to discovered adhesive residue which now attracts all sorts of gunk). Even a Non-Fashionista has her limit. So sadly MMT the First was forced into retirement.
MMT the Second is the same basic design. But I took the opportunity to improve on a few details and on the construction process after learning a few tricks from Don Morin’s Making Leather Bags Craftsy class.
Fabric & Notions Used
- Fabrics: Fake suede scrap from the Stash (probably leftover from cushion making eons ago); Fake embossed alligator (?) leather from Deco Design Fabrics, 512 E 9th St in Downtown LA (bought a couple of years ago).
- Lining: water repellant nylon from B&J
- Interfacings: Thin woven fuisble + Thick collar type woven interfacing from the Stash
- Closure: Lampo 20″ #5 brass zipper from Botani Trimmings (the website seems more expensive than in store – mine was only $9.60)
- Bag bottom: 1/8″ grid plastic canvas from U-Handbag; Brass bag feet from Pacific Trimmings
- Handle: 10mm braided polyester rope from S3i (I couldn’t find 1/2″ braided nylon cord in the UK, so this was the closest I could get to Don’s recommendation); D-rings from Pacific Trimmings
- Decoration: self-designed clear stamp from English Stamp Company (it’s not cheap, but I squeezed 14 stamps into the largest size to make it more affordable); Regular office red inkpad; Jacquard Lumiere 500 True Gold Fabric Paint
- Other notions & tools: Coats Nylbond uphostery nylon thread; Guttermann extra-strong polyester thread; Double-sided tapes (one was the “leather tape” from Wawak); 2″ brayer; Fiebling’s Edge Kote from Tandy Leather
The Design & Pattern
The design is pretty much the same as MMT the First. The only changes I made were:
- Made the bottom corner patches one-piece (rather than 3-pieces). This was to avoid really thick seams since the fake leather this time is thicker than the vinyl I used last time.
- Simplified the lining pattern following Don’s example. So only front & back pieces that extends T-shape-like to cover the sides and bottom.
- Simplified & change the internal pocket sizes. I found of the two pocket methods I used last time, the patch method with minimum ease worked better. And the phone size section was the most useful, so this time I went for 4 of those. I also added a section for a pen.
- Added detachable elastic loops to hold the soup thermos upright on cold work days!
- Used the fake leather for the handle this time to avoid unsightly fraying.
One change that I wished I had made was to have cut-on sides for the exterior pattern too so that there’s a side seam like Don’s example. It would have made sewing the zipper so much easier. I’m not sure the side front / back style lines are really worth the hassle.
- I highly recommend Don Morin’s Making Leather Bags Craftsy class. Even though I’m unlikely to use real leather (too heavy) I still found the class very useful and informative. The construction order was especially helpful. And the bag he demonstrated looks more like the type I’d buy. I find most other bag patterns a bit too crafty for my taste.
- Orb Decoration: This should have been done before sewing started. But I didn’t have all the stamping bits then. So the illustrations show this step on a the mostly made tote.
Ink-wise I tried stamping directly with the gold paint I wanted (on a scrap of course). But that left no mark on this fake suede. Neither did other pigment metallic gold inkpads I ordered nor fabric dye solutions from the Stash. The only ink that seem to work was the normal office inkpad I have lying around. I wonder if it’s a solvent based ink, which you’re not really suppose to with the polymer clear stamps that I got. I reckon once is not going to destroy the stamp. So I used it to transfer the design onto the fake suede, then paint over the design with the gold paint. Not perfect, but at least neater than my freeland drawing on MMT the First.
- OK, I said I don’t do tutorials. But since I took some photos along the way to remind me how to make it next time I might as well share these…
- Someone mentioned in Don’s Craftsy class that Fiebing’s Edge Kote + Mod Podge are used to create the professional sealed edge finish you sometimes find on RTW leather bags. I tried Fiebing’s Edge Kote on the trimmed Handle edges. But it didn’t create the sealed effect I was hoping for. Maybe it’s Mod Podge that does the trick. Or maybe my fake leather is too absorbent. Must track me down some Mod Podge next time and try again.
I’m fairly happy with the result. The sewing is neater than last time though by no means perfect. The orb design is also neater, less amateurish looking thanks to the stamped guideline. I do prefer the old bag’s coloring. But this one being brown again should still be neutral enough to go with almost everything. I’m hoping the furnishing grade fake leather will stand up to wear a bit better. At least I won’t have fraying handles.
So here’s to 2+ more years of unfashionable pairing of the same bag with every outfit days in & days out!