Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Wool Purse, Part I: What Was I Thinking?

Sometimes I wonder what I've got myself into. When I was a teenager I drove a car full of my friends down this narrow dirt road an we wound up stuck in a farmer's field with mud up to the hubcaps. I'm heading off into goodness knows where with this purse, too. I just hope this adventure has a happier ending!

I make lots of purses and bags, but I don't make patterns for them. I can't, because when I start I don't really know what the final design will be. I have some general measurements in mind, but other than that, I pretty much make it up as I go. It's the only way that really works for me. Except for when it doesn't.

This past summer my daughter had a garage sale, and I found a treasure - a wonderful piece of heavy wool, caramel colored coat fabric from at least twenty years ago. It was just what I needed, so I'm finally ready to go with the wool purse I've been thinking about since last year. I pulled out my stash of felted wool and chose some pieces to work into a design. I even bought leather handles.

I couldn't use all of my fabrics, so there may be another wool purse in the future.
Wool is lovely, but the layers of wool and interfacing are much thicker than I had anticipated. I've already had to make some adjustments, but now I worry that my seams may be bulky and ugly. Fingers crossed.

I started with the pocket and fusible web applique, of course. To make this really special I did both the applique stitching and the embroidery by hand. I know - crazy, but I like details.  Fortunately I found some lovely wool thread at my local shop. I embroidered a stem and attached five fused leaves with a blanket stitch. I got a bit carried away and topstitched the pocket opening by hand, too.
The topstitching in this photo is pretty crooked and irregular, so I took it out and did it over again. 

I decided to make rounded corners on the top of this bag. It's a different look for me, and the zipper should be easier to attach this way.

Front, back, pocket, zipper, and lining.

I love working with wool. It's soft, flexible, and so wonderfully forgiving. Getting a sharply pressed edge on heavyweight wool, though, can be impossible. So it was back to hand stitching to keep the fabric against the zipper nice and flat.
I wasn't sure about this at first, but I like it. It gives the zipper a hand tailored look.

As usual, I've added a zippered pocket to one side of the lining, and a row of small pockets to the other.

I've ironed a lightweight fusible interfacing onto the wrong side of the fabric to give it more body and durability.

Then I had a sudden brainstorm! I may hate this when all is said and done, but I added  a small pocket  for my cell phone to the lining of the large front pocket. Actually, I added an extra pocket, too.  I'd cut the first piece too small, so I turned it sideways and sewed it on. I have no idea how these will work. 

There will be no more sewing before Sunday. I'm meeting a friend for lunch tomorrow, and I absolutely have no choice but to find some warm indoor clothes. The temperature was 46 degrees today, and my husband had our windows open!  

Stay tuned for Part II of the Wool Purse,
and don't forget to fall back!