Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Jessica Purse

My everyday purse is a basic black, practical, easily organized, simple purse. It has clean lines, architecture, and a powerful lining much like my preferred garments combined with a statement necklace. I have more purses in all sorts of colors and shapes but the everyday one is the one I use all the time.

My daughter prefers purses with patterns like zebra print and bling like studs and snaps. Her favourite one was so badly worn that I literally took it away from her for fear she'd keep using it. I promised to make her another one. And then things got in the way. And it took me longer than I'd intended BUT... I finished the prototype before coming to visit and now she can try it out, see what she thinks, and choose her own fabric for the "real" version.


An aspect that is quite difficult - and more so because I live in a small town - is finding hardware. I found two purses at the thrift store that I bought purely for the hardware. One had six buckles and four D-rings and the other had four buckles and two very firm straps that could be recovered. They were $1.25 each. One plain, ordinary, nothing too fancy, buckle at the fabric store was $3.50. NICE savings.

For the prototype, I chose a black and grey leather-ish looking fabric that is 97% polyester and 3% spandex. The stretch ended up being a bit of a problem but I did manage to work with it. Here it is finished and I'm quite pleased with how close it is to the original.

The snaps from the fabric stores were totally useless IMHO, definitely not the kind of quality I would have wanted even if they'd managed to snap closed... which they didn't... so I ended up adding a button. I debated a buttonhole only when I called Jessica to ask her how often she unsnapped the side to fully open the bag she said, it unsnapped? Hmm... I think that means never - VBG. The button works perfectly.

Where I had trouble with the stretch was along the zipper edge. I sewed the zipper in four times. The first time, the two edges were different lengths. The second time, they were far too ripply and looked really cheap. The third time, I fused non-stretch interfacing along the edge and sewed the zipper in perfectly... sort of... unless you count that it was upside-down. The four time worked great.

I slip stitched the top of the lining to the stitching line of the zipper so that it would be evenly space along the top and then...

... top stitched from the lining side using pink thread on the top and black thread in the bobbin. Because of how I'd placed the lining, the second row of stitching on the front was parallel to the first.

The zipper is two way so no matter how she throws the purse over her shoulder, it'll be easy to open which is really good when you have two small children and not a lot of time for fussing. I couldn't find buckles the correct size for the straps I'd already made which taught me to gather the hardware first although I did get the straps through the largest D-rings I could find in a mostly smooth way. I'd intended to finish them with glitzy buttons only after I'd sewn two on, I thought they looked cheap and crafty in a bad way and my friend Caroline - who was visiting - agreed so I took them off. I have silver studs for the real version.

All in all, I think the Jessica Purse turned out great. Since it's a prototype, I'll be making another one and usually the second one is easier. That's good.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - snuggling grandbabies


  1. Very nice job at creating your prototype. Did you take a part the original purse and take a pattern off of it? Or did you take measurements off the original purse?

    1. I took the measurements so I could compare back and forth as I sewed it. She's using it and it seems to be working out well so now to decide on the real fabric.

  2. wow - that's quite an accomplishment. Good job!


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