Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Flap The Snap & The Button

A few days ago, while I was journal writing at Starbucks, four young women walked in one after the other in a row. They were all wearing brightly patterned tights, a long dark t-shirt, a shorter medium toned grey or black cardigan, and an eternity scarf. Peas in a pod. It struck me as wonderful that I can sew and don't have to wear what everyone else is wearing.

Now that the snow is gone and the weather is warming up, people out walking. Yesterday, I watched women walking up and down the road in front of my house and almost all of them were wearing black exercise tights, a long t-shirt, a brightly colored hoodie - sometimes neon - and brightly colored running shoes. Again, it struck me as wonderful that I can sew and don't have to wear what everyone else is wearing.

We are SO LUCKY and yet it's not really luck. It's love, practice, and perseverance. I can't count the number of times someone says something to me along the lines of I wish I could sew.  Really? Well then sew. It doesn't just happen; you have to make it happen.

And the longer you sew, the greater your ability to not only know what you like but to problem solve and sew outside the instructions. One of the significant alterations I've made to this bag is to add a flap. I prefer a zippered top but definitely want some kind of closure rather than a completely open bag. The pattern calls for ties on the sides that are tied together across the middle. That just sounds like a pain in the behind every time you want to go in and out of the bag. I eliminated the ties and added the flap and some snaps at the side that I'll tell you about later HOWEVER... when I saw this button a few months ago, I knew right away it would be perfect for a purse.

These images are of the first flap I made. When it was finished, I decided it was too flimsy and made a second one only I accidentally deleted those pictures. Instead of extra layers of interfacing under the snap, there was a layer of stiffer interfacing on top of the fusi-knit (like the straps) and rows of stitching holding the layers together. The flap fabric is the fourth shirt from the four men's shirts I started with - the bright purple one.

On the right side, I stitch through all the layers just below the snap to secure them together otherwise the flap is quite weak and when you pull on the button to open the flap, the layers pull apart.

Above, I've drawn the stitching line to get the exact angle and you can see where I've marked to sew the button. It's easier to decide that in advance than to try to figure it out when the flap is smaller and more confined because...

... it becomes a pocket when you sew the two ends. Originally, I wanted to sew the flap over the back section and then changed my mind and decided to insert it in the top seam. If I'd known that in advance, I'd have left the end of the flap open and sewed the sides. If you don't know exactly what you're doing, you won't always make the exact right choice but if you do your best job at every stage, it'll still work out fine. I slip stitched the side closed.

The angle I was matching on the flap was the angle of the triangle accent below. When the straps are added, they are placed just to the left and the right of the flap with about 1" each side. The flap - especially with the button - becomes the focal point.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - that I can sew what I want


  1. Your purse is looking stunning to date. You are going to have some fabulous show and tell at Outside the Lines this year. It is wonderful that you have items to share with others.
    I had a chuckle at the "peas in a pod" comment. That is one thing I like about sewing. I am making what I want to wear not what others are wearing. But I had to draw the line at my running clothes. I am finding I can buy them cheaper than I can make them at this time. When I get to my goal weight, then I will think about making one or two interesting outfits. It will depend on cost per meter of the wick away fabric and the power stretch leggings fabric.

    1. Thanks. It will be fun to share what I enjoy doing. I hope others bring things too.

      LOL - I run on a treadmill in the basement in my pajamas so I'm not too exciting in terms of exercise wear BUT... if I was going out regularly... I could see myself buying the pants but probably making t-shirts or at least knit jackets (not hoodies) that were more flattering. Maybe one day. I have a really pretty knit I bought about five years ago for a jacket that I haven't sewn yet.

    2. Pants are the cheapest to buy. I can get them at Walmart and Sears at good prices and in the lengths I want. I am thinking of making the tops as I can colour block and do a better fit on me. I would like to do a jacket also but it depends on the fabric I can source. The runners I wear only for running are turquoise blue and the backpack I have to wear is lime green. At least they go together.

  2. yes, the peas in a pod comment is perfect and exactly why I sew. I don't think I ever really wanted to look like everyone else, although i did struggle with that issue when I was young and still finding my way. Although I tend to look like everyone else in running clothes, and like Ann, at this point I would rather buy them than make them. That might change, probably will.

    The bag is going to be stunning.

    1. I remember wanting to fit in a one point and then somewhere along the line came this shift of wanting to be more individual. Perhaps it comes with increased self confidence.

      I'm working on the lining for the bag - lime. VERY fun.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.