Tuesday, August 7, 2007


I was really inspired by Bren and her bags!

I love bags...all shapes, sizes, styles and colors. I have a book on how to make a few different styles and am always drawn to books on bagmaking.

In the last couple of weeks, I was toying with the idea of making a new bag for our Mall of America trip this weekend, but dismissed it as unnecessary as I have many bags!

Seeing Bren's new bags got me thinking about it again, so I went to the store and got some supplies and dove in.

I had to do a couple of things I'd never done before. When first talking about this bag, I told my husband I needed a grommet setter, that I had no idea how much they cost and where to find one.

He said he might have one among his Dad's tools that were given to him when his Dad passed away 18 years ago.

Since I had no idea what I was looking for and I really didn't want to bother him to search for something I didn't need at the moment, I filed away that information and decided that 'someday' I will make this bag, but I didn't want to invest in a grommet setter if we have one here somewhere.

In searching for a tool for our son, what does he find? The grommet setter and a bag of grommets (isn't it weird how if you say a word enough times it starts to sound really odd? grommet, grommet, grommet....I'm now doubting that's a real word!)

It's a much simpler tool that I imagined, and of course had no directions with it, so I ruined 3 sets of grommets while trying to figure out how the thing worked.

That left me one short as the package had 10, I needed 8 and ruined 3. ugh. I asked Rachel, who is 15, has her driver's permit and will drive me anywhere, to take me to the hardware store. It didn't take too much searching to find this 24 pack of grommets...and to find they had 2 other sizes. One larger and one smaller. My mind is already creating cute little smaller bags with those smaller grommets!

In my pattern directions, one of their suggestions for the handles was braiding together 4 strands of suede, leather or decorative cording. Hmm. I checked Walmart (where I had already found the tapestry fabric for the bag) and couldn't find anything that seemed to fit that description, though I did find some decorations that could be used around the top edge. I filed that information and moved on to Michael's craft store.

Sure enough, they had leather lacing. It's sold on a card and relatively inexpensive. I picked two colors that worked with my fabric and went in search of something pretty to put along the upper edge. I found some beautiful prestrung beads and added them to my purchases.

The only part of this project that gave me fits was braiding the handles! I've never braided with four strands before. My pattern book had instructions on how to do this and it looked quite easy! Ha! While it should have been easy, I still kept getting mixed up and restarted at least 5 times before I finished the first one. I did finally figure out how to find my place if I got mixed up in the middle and I LOVE how the handles came out.

I had some corduroy fabric that was given to me years ago in both blue and burgundy. Both colors are in the tapestry fabric and either would work with the fabric I bought (though the blue was definitely more prominent.) My fashion conscious daughter who is into matching said the blue was better (I thought so, too) so I began to cut.

I'm quite pleased with the finished product, so much so that I think it will become the every day bag when I need to bring my purse along with necessities for Ruthie and other odds and ends. I can put my purse and everything else we need in one bag and be on my way!

The other thing that I added to the pattern was a cardboard bottom for the bag...like many purses and bags have. I took a piece of cardboard, covered each side with fusible fleece and then slipped it into a corduroy sleeve. It gave the bag more shape and stability and I really like what this little addition has done to it.

Below is a side view, where the beading is shown a bit better.

I really enjoyed this little foray into bag making and have come up with some ideas to alter this pattern to make some smaller ones to be used as project bags, or even purses.

While I spent lots of time in my sewing room yesterday, only a couple of hours of it was hand quilting, so that will get my attention today.

And now, I'd better get to it, or I'll never get anything done!


Bren said...

That is a great bag!!! Love the beading and the handles look fun. Braiding with 4 strands? You'll have to show me that one!!!

Su Bee said...

What a cool bag! And what a clever idea - I bet you could pattern that one, it's great!

Solstitches said...

The bag turned out beautifully.
Pretty fabric and I like the braided handles.
The beads are a nice accent!
Bags are addictive - you can't just stop at one.