Saturday, March 31, 2012

Electric Youth in a Handbag

My knees hurt. My feet hurt. It's only partially because I'm getting old, harharhar. I'll let you know why later in the week (not why I'm getting old but why they hurt). Hopefully you can stand the suspense until then. So while I'm sitting here fussing on the internet and putting my feet up I figured I'd show you the order that I just finished.

The original idea for this one was supposed to be a yellow, gray and white combo. Naturally I could not find a single thing that pleased me. If I was looking for yellow, orange, and green there would have been an abundance of the yellow/gray/white. That's the way the universe treats my fabric whims. I called my customer (a.k.a. my friend who was ordering this for her mom for Mother's Day) and asked what she thought. I was staring at a cute print with some pink in it, and totally on my wavelength she goes "I was thinking that a pink and gray scheme would be cute too...." In my hands and off to the cutting table. A few evenings of the ol' hack 'n stitch and I was done.

I was waffling between gray and pink for the accents, but I think the gray is much better. As much as I like pink I think it would have made this bag entirely too sweet. I know it's such a little thing but that front pocket drives me crazy to sew. It makes the straps more difficult to stitch where I place them, and it bulks up the seam something fierce. Otherwise, this one goes together pleasingly quick.

Here's the back without the pocket:

I played with the shape on this one a little more so it's not as wide as it usually is. I've been very good lately about taking notes on things. I usually just follow a basic pattern and do the rest from memory. It goes so much faster if I write down what I did that I like and reference it later. What? You say "Duh, that's obvious!?" Yeah, it is. Slow learner over here...

I like the tapered shaping on the gusset. Usually I wing it and cut it the same width, but it makes the bag so much more barrel-shaped and shapeless at the same time. This offers some subtle shaping that's a little bit more feminine.

Suspension bridge zipper, slip pocket (and a zip on the opposite side). I find making pockets a little annoying, but they're a necessary evil -- I love having pockets in my own bags so I can't begrudge the extra work for someone else. I amuse myself by adding little touches like bias tape along the top.

Parts of this fabric--like the outlined pink flower above--remind me of the eighties (in a good way!--I used to loooooooove pink and gray together. When I was really young in the 80s. Because I'm not old. Ahem). Remember that song by Debbie Gibson - 'Electric Youth?' It kept playing in my head while I was working on this. Not that I remember it or anything. Because I'm not getting old, remember?

There was also a request for a few little zippy pouches. I was proud of my zipper economy skills. I started with 2 zippers, and got 4 out of them - 2 in the bag, and one for each zippy purse. Wanna know how? I took off the purse zipper, and replaced it with a larger pull (I always do this). I was crazy obsessed with getting the right measurement for it, so when I cut off the excess length (I buy loooong zippers--same price for more versatility) I had enough for the change purse (and used the extra pull for that. I used a long zipper on the inside, saved the other half, and luckily had an extra pull (that I had taken off aNOTHer zipper) to add to it. I was oddly pleased with myself for this. If you could have peeked inside my head you would have thought I had just saved the world or something.

Does this photo remind anyone else of those "look how many generations in one photo" pictures people take at family reunions? This bag started off as the Highbrow Hobo by u-handbag. I loooove the original bag very much, and have fabric set aside to make myself one. But most of the time I'm asked to make it a little larger, so I added the gusset, and of course use a zipper instead of a snap, but these are all doable adjustments. You can find the pattern for sale here if you're interested.

So that's about it. You may think I'd be making progress, but here's the thing. For every project bag I empty something else fills it right back up. Which is good. But busy! But let me tell you - I am really happy with my new organization system. Everything I need is right there in the bag, just like a little kit. When the bag is empty I'm all done. I like it. Plus it's much easier to keep everything out of the way in the bin under my sewing table than in scattered stacks all over the dining room.

I've got a baby blankie that needs some stitching. Have a restful Sunday!

Linking here this week:


  1. I love the color scheme for this bag. I think the gray makes if more versatile. Very cute!

  2. THAT IS PERFECT! Seriously, the colors (my elder sister had a dance number where she danced to Electric Youth. I still know some of the steps hahahaha!), the prints, the size, the handle! And the pouches! :)

    Also, I feel you on the pockets. I think "Ugh, I want to skip this step" when I make them. But after you've made the bag with pockets, you feel thankful that you didn't. :)

  3. I think it's really cute, well done.

  4. I actually think I prefer the grey and pink to the yellow/grey/white combo, and the grey contrast was definitely the way to go with the straps etc Looks fab!

  5. Gorgeous, I love it, the grey was the right choice I think! That flower reminds me of the spirograph sets from the 70's - 80's love it!
    kandi x

  6. Beautiful bag, love the fabric and colours, it's a great combo.

  7. I think pink and grey is great together. And pink on the inside would be a bit much. I find pink is one of those colours that get extreme reactions. I've done brown with blue and based on reactions at my craft market, I think it's pretty good combo. Someone suggested I try brown with pink. I'll try it one day.
    And if you find the bias binding pocket too bulky, why not use the trick you've used for the top in a previous bag? Use the grey for the lining pocket and have the top lining showing a little like a pseudo bias binding. That's how I make my patch pockets.

  8. I love this bag and I love the colors. I am your newest follower from TheStuffofSuccess. Feel free to stop on by and say hello. Enjoy your week. Thanks Athena

  9. So cute - will you make me one!!

  10. Love your bag and I agree the gray looks great :) I bought some fabric awhile back... I think I just found what I want to make with it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. BTW, I just grabbed your button and applied it to my blog.

  11. That tapered gusset looks very nice. I love pink and gray and florals so this bag is particularly endearing to me. Great job!

  12. This is a really beautiful bag. I'm sure your customer (and her mum) will be soooo pleased!

  13. CUTE!!! I am quite the artist, eh?

  14. such a beautiful bag, I love the fabric.

  15. Beautiful bag! I LOVE the gray details. I think they look really classy.

  16. Just beautiful! I love the shape that you created. I also love zippers on the inside of my bags. I'm still pretty much a novice at sewing, so I am going to have to learn how to do those next.

  17. how very pretty love the colorful flowers on the black

    come see what I shared at

  18. Beautiful colors in this bag. Hope you'll link up to my link party!

    Jessica, your newest linky follower.

  19. Lovely bag! I sympathise with the bulky seams problem - I make nearly all my bags from recycled dening, and when I get more than a couple of layers it becomes a pig to sew with!

  20. Beautiful job on this bag :)

    Love for you to share it at my Linky Party if you get a chance :) - "Made by ME" Wednesdays here:

  21. This bag is amazing, great job!! =) Hope you're having a good week, new follower!

  22. Hi Bethany: I'm Connie at, a new GF friend. I would love it if you stop by and be my friend, too.
    Any purse, or bag at a link party always catches my eye. This one is very nice. Thanks for sharing.

  23. This bag is very cute!! Stumbled upon your blog quite by accident reading about your rescued dog, and have enjoyed looking at the different bags you make. I'm your newest follower. :)


  24. I can't believe how amazing the fabric and your stitching is! Awesome. :) Thanks for linking up at friday fun party..

  25. This is so pretty and would make a great mother's day handmade gift! I am featuring your project today so grab the featured button if you fancy so! Thanks for linking up!




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