A few weeks ago someone came to my Embroiderers Guild with a gorgeous tweed handbag she had just made at a workshop, it was rather nice! My magnolia handbag which I made eighteen months ago was looking decidedly worn so I decided to make myself one. Yesterday I finally got around to it!
The tweed is a beautiful teal blue and slate grey, I spotted it on The Shuttle stall at the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate, I seem to remember it was about £18/m but I only needed a small amount, I just bought half a metre, I just love it!
The pattern is the Mini Miranda bag from Lazy Girl Designs. It’s a great pattern, easy to follow and the finished bag is a perfect size for me – any bigger and I just lose stuff in it! My magnolia bag is a Mini Miranda too. The bag has a contrasting base, I didn’t want to use another wool as I didn’t think it would be as hard-wearing. I searched my stash and finally chose a black denim, I bought it to make jeans from, I didn’t need much so hopefully it won’t impact on the length of my future jeans! The denim does have a slight stretch but I strengthened it with iron on interfacing so hopefully that will eliminate any stretch.
I wanted the bag to be fairly firm, so I interfaced each piece and added batting with spray adhesive before stitching together the four pieces which made up the front and back. As per pattern I then cut interfacing to cover the whole front (and back). The lining is a quilting cotton I’ve bought for the sashing of my Splendid Sampler quilt, I hesitated before using it but it matched so perfectly, I did do lots of sums first to make sure I would have plenty for my quilt! The lining is interfaced too, so the bag sides have two layers of fabric, three layers of interfacing and a layer of batting, it did make the stitching pretty heavy going for my sewing machine, especially when that was multiplied at seams!
I find bag making a little bit frustrating, just because there’s so much preparation before you start to have anything that resembles a bag! The front and back are each made from four pieces, with the seams top-stitched on both sides, the lining is meant to have pockets down both sides, I like a zipped one as well (then I can always find my bus-pass!!) so I had to make a strip of pockets on one lining and a zipped one on the other side. I also made a thin strap as a key fob, I like these, I attach them to the top half of the side seam so when I’m trying to find my keys I just need to pull the fob!
I wanted leather straps on this bag, I’ve not used them before but I ordered some black ones from Bag Clasps, they’re lovely. I stitched them on with 2 strands of embroidery silk. I couldn’t find my bag-making book which would have told me how to do it, I felt the silk would be stronger but softer on the leather. The holes are all pre-punched so I just did a back-stitch round twice, it was fiddly trying to find the hole from underneath but otherwise they went on very easily. I stitched them on before I put the bag together so the lining didn’t get in the way.
The instructions use velcro to fasten the flap, I like to use magnetic clasps as they’re very easy to insert and I think they look pretty professional. The tab was attached at the end, this is when I remember I’d not attached one half to the front of the bag so I had to quickly open the seam at the bottom of the lining enough to wiggle my way up to where the clasp needed to be, once that was in place I stitched to hole back up and my bag was finished!
I just need to make some new accessories now…