Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Handbag Contest #1: Pattern and Materials

The PR Handbag contest is a go
Today is the start of the Handbag Contest on Pattern Review! One of my goals for 2013 is to enter at least two PR contests and given my love affair with making bags, the Handbag Contest was always going to be a good option for me. I should add I'm not doing this out of any expectation I'll win (or even that I'll get any votes!). I just think it's a good way to challenge myself. Not that bags are ultra challenging for me, but it's a toe in the water!

Those rules are pretty straightforward. It has to be a handbag (rather than a duffel bag or something), you have to use a closure, interfacing and lining, and you're encouraged to use hardware of some description. All pretty easy stuff as far as I am concerned.

Lisa Lam Too Cool For School Satchel

To be honest, I was spoiled for choice for patterns. I have so many great patterns that I've bought and I also have some design ideas I am keen to try out. However, in the end I kind of had to go for something relatively straightforward because I'm pushed for time over the next month. The pattern I chose is Lisa Lam's Too Cool For School satchel from her book A Bag For All Reasons (Amazon UK link).

I think the bag is smaller than this photo seems to suggest, based on the pattern pieces, but no matter. The bag has two sections, the main pocket and a front pocket. It has an adjustable cross-body strap and the original pattern calls for two slide buckles on the front. I ardently dislike all the slide buckles I can find to buy, so I have substituted a single large twist lock and lengthened the pattern of the flap of the bag to allow it to close properly. The bag is self-lined and I'll also be adding some internal pockets somewhere for pens, phones and so on. It's quite substantially interfaced in order to make it rigid.

I traced and altered the pattern a few days ago (the rules allow you to do that!) and pulled together all my materials. My fabric is a white and blue home dec fabric in a simple non-straight stripe. It's Ikea, but I picked it up on eBay. I previously used it to make a bag for my mum (I love that bag, actually, it's from a pattern in 1-2-3 Sew, which I recommend as a basic sewing book if you ever want one for a friend or a kid). I am using all silver hardware from a combination of uhandbag (Lisa Lam's shop, where I bought the twist lock) and Bag Clasps UK (A great shop. Really basic website, but fantastic customer service. I bought my rings and slider there this time but I've had loads of her stuff.)

Fabric and hardware for my Too Cool For School Satchel
I'm project monogamous for the most part, so I won't really be starting my bag for a couple of days because I have to finish up my second knitted object first. I've only got a couple of sessions of work before that's done though.