Sunday, May 15, 2011

Couch Bags

That's not a typo. It's not supposed to say Coach, haha. A few months ago my cousin called and asked if I could make a few handbags for the bridesmaids in her friend's wedding. Normally I shy away from weddings for a few reasons: most of the time the bags all have to be the same design and I get bored, or there needs to be an exACT color match and that is VERY difficult to do. The exception was my sister's wedding--each bag was different and the fabrics were supposed to contrast with the dresses so they were pretty fun to put together. Anyhoodle, she talked me into it. I asked her what kind of fabric and she told me they'd pick it out. I offered a few suggestions, but was told that her style is "weird--she likes vintage, and floral." So for any of you vintage and floral lovers--you're now categorized as weird :)  The box plopped on my doorstep a few weeks later. I eagerly opened that box and promptly thought "Oh." Definitely not my style. It didn't have to be, of course--but I just couldn't envision this fabric turning into bridesmaid bags and going with the dresses she described. Take a look:

The fabric is April Cornell's 'Flower Bouquet Rosella' from Joann's.

It has its own charm and its own place, but not for summery bridesmaid bags. My sister said she thought the fabric looked like a couch our grandma may have had. I was not looking forward to this because I didn't think I could make this print look cute on such a bag--as a larger tote, or as home dec items, sure, but not a tiny bag. She had picked out a bag from my site she had seen a while ago--very simple, very small, and very plain:

In my attempts to make it larger and a bit cuter of a shape, I ended up making a bag that was too large and waaaay too mature looking (not to mention a tad crooked where I sewed the magnetic snap too close to the edge):

Here's just how MUCH bigger it was:

She wasn't thrilled. Neither was I. We ended up deciding to go with my wedding bag stand-by (see here and here--a shrunken version of the good old Buttercup Bag:

And these I think came out pretty adorable! Because piping and pleats make everything better :)

I haven't used store-bought piping before so I was pretty happy with how it worked out. They're not my favorite bags, but by softening the shape and adding a few details it made the bags much more dainty. I shipped them off and she was thrilled with them. 

Usually when I say something is challenging it's because there are techniques that are new, or too much precision for my taste, or weird angles and curves. I don't know if I've had something I've made a gazillion times before be challenging because I was trying to transform the actual look of a fabric. But all's well that ends well so we'll cross this one off the to-do list.

Linking up here:

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  1. Oooh they're very very cute!!
    Em xxx

  2. I really do like them after all:) You can make wonders you know!!! They actually look so cute at the end!!! Nice job Beth:)
    Hope you have a great week!!!!

  3. Ok, I totally agree. Not exactly a fabric I would picture for a wedding. I can see a messenger bag out of the fabric tho'. Or a drawstring bag with tassels.

  4. As always -fabulous!
    Just to let you know - I just published the St. Nicholas church in Brighton that you told me about!! Many many thanks for the tip! It's a fabulous one!

  5. Stopping by from Sew Can Do. I love the pleats and piping. Very cute!!

    Stop by my blog when you have a moment:

  6. Love what you did with the fabric !

  7. So cute! You definitely made the fabric look fashionable. :) Thanks for linking up to Weekend Warrior!


  8. I went through something similar when I had a customer ask me to make a diaper bag with camo fabric. Sheesh! You made some rather doudy looking fabric into purses that are very sweet. I love the piping!

  9. very nice job! I'm glad she liked them!!

  10. wow!! its really pretty.. i just finished making two bags like this yesterday using a blue coloured fabric, almost silmilar to the fabric you have used. will be blogging it tomorrow!!

  11. Very nice. I'd love for you to link up at Inspire Me Mondays @ Singing Three Little Birds

  12. What a great post! I love the end-result. The fabric (yep, love vintage AND florals, so there) is gorgeous and the shape so nice. You've really done well, those bags are simply great and I've found a hidden gem here ;-) Hope your week is going well. Love from London xo

  13. Personally I love how they turned out. The buttercup bag is one of my favorite patterns. Visiting from Sugar Bee's Take a Look Tuesday.
    {Accuquilt Giveaway} 

  14. Consider me weird! I love them!

  15. Okay, so I must be way weird too. I saw that fabric and went...OOOOhhhh....ahhhhh...I luuuuve it!!!! So vintage, so feminine, and pretty...and I thought...perfect for a wedding!!! I LOVE what you did with them Bethany!!! You rocked it!!

  16. The piping and pleats really do make it look great! You'd never think that fabric would work, but it does. Great job!
    (came on over from the Made by You Monday link!)

  17. Oh l love the fabric and the coordinating piping. The are gorgeous. Visiting from TT&J.

  18. Because piping and pleats make everything better -- WURD.

    These look so pretty. And I laughed at you describing the other bag "mature." :D

  19. oooh i luv, luv the fabric you have chosen..
    Would luv for our readers to follow this tutorial.
    Please add this to our linking party.

  20. This is so great! They turned out so wonderfully! Thanks for sharing at Make Something Monday!!

    ~ Sarah

  21. So cute Bethany!! Def do love the piping and pleats :)

    Thanks for linking up to Your Whims Wednesday! Hope to see ya again this week :)

  22. I love the fabrics that you used, Bethany! so pretty! thanks for sharing and have a nice weekend!



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