Wednesday, July 27, 2016
I've had the fabric to make this bag for months, but just not got around to putting it together. Parts of it were a bear (why did I choose faux leather handles and trim) but I'm glad I had a great machine to handle the challenges.
I have made this Metropolitan Bag twice before and wore them both out. It has been my favorite purse of all that I've made, so it's time to make it again! (First version, which I still have, although it is too worn out to use now). Actually, I lost the pattern, and now it is out of print. I picked up a copy on ebay. It's a great pattern - IF you add pockets :-)
This pattern does not have pockets, and I am a pocket fanatic on handbags! I added a patch pocket with faux leather trim to the front, a zippered pocket to the back, a double pocket on the inside and a zippered pocket to the other side of the lining. Another change I made was to use fusible fleece instead of muslin to interface the bag. I did use the fleece plus timtex to reinforce the band.
Using the faux leather was a challenge. I did a sample first and tried topstitching thread and regular thread. I decided the regular thread actually had more of the look that I wanted. When it came time to make the actual handles, I kept having skipped stitches. I tried changing from a universal needle to a microtex 80, but still kept having problems. I called Toni at Dublin Sewing Center, where I got my machine, and she was a great help. First, I lessened the pressure on my pressure foot and used a 3.5 size stitch. She suggested a jeans 90 needle. (BTW, she said that the leather needle punches a different shaped hole and would not be the best for faux leather) I think I have every size and type of needle except THAT one! I wasn't willing to drive the 45 minutes to JoAnns to get one. Then I remembered that I had a topstitching needle on my machine when I made the sample. Once I changed back to that, it worked fine, but you can bet I will be buying some jeans needles the next time I am in town! The next thing was, how was I going to attach the handles. If I would have done it the way the pattern suggests, I would have had to have sewn through 8 layers of faux leather in addition to 2 layers of fabric and 2 layers of fleece. I ended up sewing the handles onto the band and then making little squares to sew over the raw ends.
My Babylock Aria
sewing machine has a feature of directional sewing where I can not only sew forward and backward, I can sew left and right as well as on the diagonal. This feature was absolutely the best for adding these handles. I had the bag over the free arm and it was so stiff, there was no way I could have turned it to stitch the square on the handles or the handle covers. I actually have this feature on my other machine, but never used it. Now that I see how valuable it is, I will be using it again.
Another issue I had was that I could not center the design on the fabric. I would have had to buy double the main fabric in order to do it. I figured that I would be the only one who would be noticing (I hope), so I went with it the best I could. Unfortunately, this makes everything look off center, but usually my bag is moving around as much as I am,so I think it will be OK.
This bag took me a few days to make, but I really like it. I have fabric in another color group ready to make the next one. Some changes I make will be to make the pocket on the front and the patch pocket on the inside a little bit smaller so that they don't interfere with the pleats. Also, I think I will try shapeflex interfacing instead of the fleece on that one. I need to make a note of how much extra fabric to buy to make the extra pockets. I had to piece the inside double pocket and use another scrap from stash to line the zippered pockets.
I'm going to the Bay Area tomorrow with a friend and I'm so glad I finished this purse to take on the trip!