Here's a little handbag that a friend asked me to make for her. I'm going to find it hard to let this one go!! I really love it I must say. Handbags are my thing, as anyone who knows me will attest and one of my favourite things about sewing and knitting is the ability to make my own for a fraction of the cost. I made one before Christmas last year that I got a tonne of compliments on, including probably my favourite one ever - "Is that an Orla Kiely bag?" (asked by 3 separate people no less!) So when S asked me to make one for her I was thrilled. I'm loving pleats at the moment and decided to try and work some into this bag. I took out my big box of fat quarters and spent a very enjoyable half an hour figuring out which ones to use. I had a lovely bundle of Freebird by Moda fabrics that I bought last month just because they were gorgeous. I adore the brown dotty one which reminds me of a dress worn by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and thought it would work great as a contrast lining. I had some difficulty deciding which coordinating one to put with it but finally settled with the floral because it was so fresh and to be honest, it just screamed "make me into a cute bag" to me.
The original fat quarter bag I made last year, I sewed using a great tutorial I found on Sew Mama, Sew. This time, I really wanted it to be my own. So I didn't look at any patterns purposely as I had a clear idea in my head of how I wanted it to look, with the dotty trim at the top, a pleated body and a medium length shoulder strap that would be comfortable to use.
First of all, I cut a long strip off both fat quarters for the handles and another strip for the trim at the top of the bag and then cut each remaining part of the fat quarters in half. I played around for quite a while trying different looks before finally pinning the box pleats on the floral, going for quite wide pleats. I sewed the trim strip to the top of all pieces and then did the side and bottom seams on the lining and the main fabric. I went for quite a wide handle, with the dotty fabric on the outside, and the floral on the inside for contrast.
I used fairly heavy iron-on interfacing on the fabric to give the bag some structure, and used a long strip of very stiff interfacing in the handle. Lastly I put in a magnetic snap button and, with right sides facing and taking care not to twist my handle, sewed the lining, outside and handles together, turned it right side out and finished the last couple of inches by hand. The main body of the bag measures about 9 inches high and 7 inches wide at the top / 9 inches wide at the bottom. Perfect for carrying wallet, keys and a few essentials. Voila!