Saturday, August 27, 2011

The selfless seamstress

Hot Patterns 1040 Bowling bag

Yes, I'm still here! Yes, I have been sick and on holiday. I have also being doing all that cooking by day. Most of it has been inedible. I'm sorry to say it but it's true. Firstly, because I take a recipe and try to make it more nutritious by the surreptitious adding of nuts, seeds, high protein flours, and at the same time, I try to "healthify" it by reducing fat and sugar contents. The results are rarely edible, except by me, my Scott's ancestry forbidding me to throw them out. (now please note, I consider this frugality to be a very good thing, a virtue-but I only wish we had some chickens I could send all that healthy food to instead.)

Still, things have much improved chez nous with regards to the special diet even if the food has been revolting. (mea culpa! Chocolate chip cookies were not designed to be vehicles for cauliflower, coconut loaf will not hide zucchini,) My son's pre school teachers have said they have never seen a child change so dramatically, so quickly. "Gluten" I said "is the work of the devil." Maybe, maybe not. I don't know if the diet is responsible for the improvement.

On to the sewing! Yes indeed this a birthday present for a friend. Of course it was the dreaded Hot Pattern's 1040 Viviene Westwood *inspired* bag that was so difficult first time round and no easier the second. At least the first time round I was making it for me, this time my act of altruism didn't spur me to completion. I want to keep it for myself, actually, because it was a pain to make, because it's totally my style, and there is no guarantees she will actually like it.

However, my son personally picked the fabric for this person, so now I feel committed to giving it to her, which is as good a reason to be generous as any. ( If I find it dumped in the local Sally Army I will feel no ill will in having to buy it back. A student once made me a set of ducks out of paper mache which I donated to our local thrift shop. I bumped into him in that thrift shop where the ducks were clearly on display. He was kind enough to pretend not to notice. Treasure in heaven for him, lord)

Now let's turn to details. This time, in accordance with my own advice, I rotated the bag straps on d-rings.

I made my own "bag feet" by sewing 2 vintage buttons to the bottom:

This is more Nick's liquidation skippy leather, which I topstitched in silver. The fabric is from that deceased estate - that one where the family ran a 3 day sale and still couldn't clear it all:

This is bag interfacing from Smart Dress Fabrics. It's very cheap but it isn't fusible, which means you have to zig zag it to an interlining after you have trimmed off the seam allowances.

Now let's talk bag handles. The best rope to stuff them with is the type with the woven exterior - it feels lovely on the hands. You have to bind it with tape first, then cut in the middle of the tape, otherwise it unravels something wicked:

I used a light denim for the lining and trimmed the pockets with bias strips of the outer fabric:

At the end of the day, I'll say this for the bag - it's interesting, very useful, and lends itself to a really funky look. But make no mistake: it is no walk in the park to sew.


  1. It's a great shape! I have a handbag of this shape, and it is superb. You can easily find anything in it, because of the wide opening and the flat bottom. I'm sure your friend will absolutely love it. Lucky gal!

  2. You don't have to tell me it was hard to sew. I can see quite clearly.The fabric looks great, lining and all and the wee feet are very cute. I've never been able to hide vegetables in anything except the beetroot in the chocolate cake and the kids were highly suspicious and just didn't really like it. That one is in the freezer; it's for when you can't bear to throw it out but don't feel like eating it yourself and no one else will.

  3. Hey, if your friend don't like it, you can send it my way! Great bag and I love the 'vintage' fabric. All the best with the 'healthy' cooking. We don't have food intolerances in our house (pre-diabeties count?) but I try and cook 'healthy' with suitable substitutes/additions and have had some disasters (which I have also eaten regardless!).

  4. I loved the last bag, and this one looks terrific too, but each post has made me even more reluctant to take up bag making. It sounds very labourious. I hope your friend is suitably pleased.

    I empathise greatly with your cooking endeavours. Buying some chooks sounds like a good plan. Eggs are gluten and dairy free :)

    It is good to hear that your son is doing better. I don't suppose I should send you a recipe for deep fried besan batter puffs - not at all healthy though avoiding the gluten!

  5. That bag is spectacular! It certainly looks like a lot of work, but all worth it.

  6. Oooh, that's a nice bag! I've not gone gluten-free, but when I went vegan I noticed that baked goods tasted like cardboard. So I read reviews for every vegan baking book on Amazon, isolating the book with the highest ratings from non-vegans. That's the one I bought, the one I bake primarily bake from, and the one whose product is indistinguishable from non-vegan sweets (according to omnivores BTW). Don't know if that might help, but thought I would share in case it does. :)

  7. It's a similar shape to the Ottobre Pea Pod Purse which was super easy to make.

  8. Wow. Lovely lovely bag. You are surely made of sterner stuff than I, no doubt also due to the Scottish ancestry! I do the same thing in adding nuts and seeds to everything. I just found a recipe for cashew chili that's actually really good and the nuts were an integral part of the recipe!

  9. I hope the recipient appreciates the hard work you put into the bag, even if in the end, it isn't her style. I really like the fabric and your button-feet are awesome!

    Glad to hear that the GF diet is having some positive effects.

  10. Gorgeous bag mary Anna. love those button feet!

  11. What a fabulous bag. I love it. The buttons for feet on the bottom are a brilliant idea. I must remember that. I hope your friend loves it! So glad to hear your son is doing so well. Yay!

  12. Oh you've done a TERRIFIC job! And you are the cleverest with your button-feet. They are really cute.
    I'm glad your little boy is on the improve!

  13. Are you sure you have to give it away? I would have to keep it for myself. I have started making bags in twos, one to give and one to keep, only the last one took me 3 days.

    This one is very groovy. I love the fabric. I can see that the details were agonised over. Anytime you want to add me to your gift-giving list, feel free.

    I have wondered about op shop refinds. Sometimes I drive to the other side of town to donate.

  14. Fantastic bag - are you sure you couldn't just give your friend a bottle of champers and keep the bag?

  15. Great looking bag! Bag making is something I haven't tackled.

    I'm glad to hear your little guy has made so many improvements. He's lucky to have a mom dedicated to "making it smirk" in the kitchen!

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