Monday, August 3, 2009

La Rue Messenger Bag

This was my weekend (mostly Sunday) project. I've been wanting to make this bag for a while, and since I had some Walmart pleather on hand I decided to go forward. This is my first time sewing with pleather, so I looked at this project as an experiment. The bag is an unusual color. I didn't have anything at home that would work, colorwise, for lining. I returned to Walmart hoping to score an inexpensive cut of fabric that would do. No such luck. Well, I actually found a fabric on their $2 table that matched perfectly, but it was hideous. Not wanting to drive into K-town, I rambled on over to Hobby Lobby. After pacing their fabric department isles several times, I decided on a beautiful home dec tapestry. The lining fabric ended up costing more than the pleather, but I wasn't going to spend my time and gas searching further (besides, I loved the fabric).

Having done several hours worth of homework in reading reviews and board messages at Pattern Review, I started my project. Reading that the armhole binding is a nightmare, I decided to face the armholes instead. I made a quick practice piece to test the facing and get a feel for sewing on the material. The facing seemed like a satisfactory alternative. I'm pretty happy with the armhole finish, although the facing was a lot easier to deal with on the test piece, before the two sides of the bag were sewn together with the addition of the lining. There's probably an easier way to do this, but I was nearing analysis paralysis so I kept the project moving.

I didn't have the hardware I needed, but I managed to cannibalize some small d-rings from an old handbag. They're really too small, but Hobby Lobby and Walmart didn't have what I wanted, and I really didn't want to spend any more time driving around looking for supplies. The strap is on my to do list. I'm still debating on how I want to deal with that element. I'm hoping to have it figured out by the end of the week and I'll update when I reach that point.

I winged it on the tassel. It was actually pretty easy to make (thank God for rotary cutters). The embellishment at the top is simply a cleanly finished cylinder of the lining fabric, completely machine sewn. I drilled a hole in the center of a tortoise shell button and pulled the loop through. That concealed the top of the tassle nicely. A more decorative button or bead would work as well, but I used what I had on hand.

I've read several comments about the size of the bag. It's a good size for me, but it wouldn't be difficult to enlarge the pattern if you like a bigger purse. Because the bag isn't large, I decided to leave off the pocket. Pockets are handy to keep stuff from getting lost in a large bag, but I didn't see the need for them here. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the end result. I love this pattern because it's so unusual and accommodating. The final product can be highly embellished, starkly modern, or something in between. The possibilities are endless. No doubt, I'll be making more of these.

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