New Bags, Just For Me

In case you’ve been wondering whether I still sew, the answer is yes, I sew a lot. Most of the stuff I’ve been making lately has been fun goodies for my shop.

I have been carrying around this small clutch for the past few months.

I love this little clutch, but it’s actually better for going out at night, not for carrying all my usual purse stuff and a few extras when traveling. So I decided I needed a new purse.

I wanted something a little bigger to fit a sketchbook. It’s an 11-inch square just like these other purses I made for my shop. It has darts in the bottom corners to expand the inside of the purse just enough to hold my purse goodies.

I also wanted something youthful and a little funky, but still functional. In my true style, I always like to add piping for that extra finished touch. This bag has a zipper pocket inside to hold loose items, and an open pocket on the other side to slip in a notebook.

That’s what I came up with – fun, isn’t it?! I really love it.

I have also been wanting to make a messenger bag to carry art supplies when traveling.

I wanted this bag to be big enough to fit a sketchbook and drawing and painting tools. Since I couldn’t find a pattern I was in love with, I made up my own pattern for this bag, which measures 13 inches wide by 11 inches tall.

Once again, I wanted this bag to be youthful and fun, while still being functional. I like having the long natural webbing strap to sling across my shoulder.

I added a little pocket with velcro closure on the inside of the flap to hold my headphones.

This one is just the ticket! I used a print from the Drawing Room home dec collection by Anna Maria Horner for the outside and a print from her Garden Party collection for the lining. I wish all home dec fabric were this soft and lovely to work with! Hmm, wonder if she has plans to do more home dec fabrics.

Speaking of headphones, I made a tiny little pouch to store my headphones in my purse.

To give you perspective, I used a 4-inch zipper on this one! That is small. But it’s a great way to keep my headphones from getting tangled and tossed about in my purse. It is big enough to fit an ID and credit card, so I could also use this as a wallet.

It’s always fun to have new purses!

A Preview

I haven’t had time to sit at my sewing machine for two weeks, yet I have been holding back on you! I finally finished adding some new one-of-a-kind bags to my shop, so now they can all be found in the New Products section.

Some are meant to be functional and practical, like these Artist Totes below. (my sister has already claimed the one with the blue lining)

Others are fun because they are impractical, like these patchwork party clutches below! (Update: I sold the one in the middle at my craft show, but I can always make another if someone has a custom request.)

Some of these new patchwork handbags could be carried for daytime running around (pink and grey version listed here and maroon and grey version listed here) or

They could complement a trendier look for a girls’ night out. (Update: I sold the middle wristlet below at my craft show, but I plan to make another since I really love that city scape print.)

I have been wanting to try a new messenger bag/laptop bag with a flap in a more modern romance look. Check out the link to that laptop bag – it has the coolest newsprint fabric inside the flap! (Note: I also made myself a funky new handbag, shown below, out of plaid suiting with lace, sequin and stud accents.)

I am happy to offer all of these styles as custom designs, in addition to what I patch and piece together based on my own inspirations. I provided more details in the descriptions in my shop, if you’re interested in more specifics.

Sorry for the bag overload today! I’m super excited about all these one-of-a-kind designs. I’m hoping to develop most of these patterns into a collection, so this is a preview of a regular series of goodies to come. Thanks for hanging out with me today!

Handbag Experiment

Remember a couple months ago, I started a clutch experiment? It was fun to try a couple different designs and fabrics. I’m happy I have the sizes figured out, so now I am ready to put a few more together.

I have also been experimenting with different handbag styles lately. I made one for my mom for mother’s day, and then another one for my insurance agent , the new and improved version having inside zipper pockets.

After seeing this handbag in a magazine,  I thought a patchwork version of my own handbag was in order. (You know how I feel about leather bags and designer bags – not too crazy about either one.)

I made one for spring and summer.

I really loved working with these decorator weight fabrics! They are so soft and saturated in colors. I really love how the pink piping looks in contrast to the teal patchwork.

I love the teal linen fabric I used for the backing.

I love the pink zippered pocket on the inside, which I am getting better at installing.

While I was at it, I made another version for fall and winter.

I used black suiting fabric for the backing, a black zipper and black piping, which blends in more than I wanted to, but I’m still happy with it. (For the next one, I need to pay closer attention to those contrasts on the front and the back.)

I used a piece of fabric from the Little Folks fabric collection for the lining, which was sooo soft and easy to sew with.

I am so thrilled with the patchwork on the front of these handbags! I loved working with some fabrics new to me for the backing – linen and suiting.

This handbag might be the inspiration for my next experiment.

I especially love how girly these handbags are. I get so excited trying out new things, from different patchwork to different shapes and sizes to different fabrics. Can’t wait to get going on the next experiment!


I am constantly tweaking one thing or another on the patchwork projects, handbags and clutches I make.

I just finished making the custom order purse for my insurance agent just like the purse I made for my mom for Mother’s Day.

This one also measures 12 inches wide by 8 inches tall, but my agent requested the inside pockets be zipper pockets to keep little things more secure. I think I have found another addiction!

I used this tutorial as a guide to walk me through the steps for the first zipper installation. It was actually pretty easy, and provides great results.

These purses were a little difficult to part with, so I decided I needed a new summer purse for myself, using more fabrics from this Poppy collection.

And of course, I had to add a zipper pocket inside of my new purse too.

It’s fun to experiment with different fabrics, but it’s also fun to tweak ideas and add more cool features like this.

– – – – –

Related posts:

A Purse for My Mom

Clutch Experiment – Part 2

Clutch Experiment

Monday Appreciation

To keep up with the Makes Me Happy Monday blogging theme started by Paula, I am happy that I had such a productive weekend.

I finished my Darla quilt and pillow.

I finished quilting my Mod Girls quilt, and just need to sew on the binding before I can share full pictures of it. I stippled all  58 inches by 78 inches with my little Husqvarna machine, and it was an exhausting couple of hours, so I’m happy it’s almost done!

My boss and several other people at work are out of the office this week for a conference. Know what that means? A quiet week where I can get all those work projects done that I’ve been procrastinating. You know me, I’m the queen of procrastination. Happy Monday!

Purse Set

Besides the curtains rods and pictures we hung last weekend, I finished several small projects, so I’m feeling a big sense of accomplishment these days.

First came the Artsy Clutch made from Chocolate Lollipop fabrics. I love this pattern from Amy Karol’s Bend-the-Rules Sewing. It’s an easy-to-follow pattern yet the simple design allows you room to create your own unique project. Or, you can let colorful creative fabric like this do the talking for you.

artsy clutch

inside of artsy clutch

Then came the No-Cash Wallet, also made from Chocolate Lollipop fabrics, using a modified version of the pattern from the same sewing book. After enlarging the pattern 140% as instructed, I still had to make the template wider to fit an ID or plastic card, which I just hand-sketched. It turned out great; I would make many more of these to match other handbags.

No-Cash Wallet

inside of No-Cash Wallet

Third came the zip bag, which I experimented with by adding a handle to make this one into a wrislet.

Zip purse with handle

I was not crazy about having to hand-stitch the lining to the zipper, so I would change that part of the pattern by machine sewing the exterior and interior fabrics to the zipper. I don’t mind hand sewing, but hand sewing a lining to a zipper is difficult, especially at the ends of the zipper.

inside of Zip bag

Finally, and best of all – The Purse, which I adore! This was loosely based on a pattern from a Sew Simple issue, which I changed for my own taste. The purse measures about 11 inches wide by 9 inches tall by 2 inches deep. I still have to sew on a button on each side where the snap closure is hidden, but I have to shop for more of those cute pink flower buttons shown above.

The Purse

inside lining and pocket

I’m so happy with how the handles turned out – pretty cool. Instead of using ribbon, I made small fabric tabs that measure about 1-1/2″ in length, attached them to 3/4″ D-rings, and sewed the tab ends in between the lining and purse fabrics. Then I made fabric strips and attached them to a D-ring on the same side to complete the handle.

the handles

I just love how this one turned out. I want to make more of this size purse, but I also want to cherish this one for now and show it off for a few more days. Hope you like my new handmade purse set as much as I do!