Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Simplicity 2551

I was feeling pretty snarky (my mom's word; not sure if it's totally made up and unknown to 99% of the population) after the apron, but I still wanted an "easy" project.  I mean, I made a tote(ish) bag, an almost-fits-if-I-don't-eat skirt, and an oft-forgotten apron so I'm basically an expert at this point, right?  No dismal failures yet at least.

Why did I think a purse would be easy to make???  I still ask myself that question because when I think about making another purse, I kinda get a little twitchy at the idea.  When I realized that I could buy pre-quilted fabric, I don't think I took into account that the fabric still had to be constructed into something resembling a purse; it's not magic fabric.

Sidenote: I had never in my life heard of Vera Bradley, but I've been told that this bag is a knock-off of her stuff.  Of course, now I see her stores everywhere and it's like every one I know has something Vera Bradley (including my 11 year-old niece, she has TWO things), so that shows how observant I am of current trends (read: not).

I actually really like how the purse came out, and I can vouch for its functionality because I still use it (and I made it back in March).  I love the colors and the size (it fits everything!), but if I made it again I would definitely make some pockets for the inside as opposed to leaving it as one big open area.  I know there are pockets on the outside, but they are totally non-functional because of my inability to translate the pattern into English.

Which brings me to my point: this was NOT a beginner pattern!  I was definitely biting off more than I could chew with my limited skill set for sewing and there were times I wanted to throw the whole thing in the trash and make a trip out to the Coach outlet with my 20% coupon (LOVE!), but then I remembered that this pre-quilted fabric was like almost $20 per yard, so I persevered.

In my defense, even now if I go back and look at this pattern there are some things that don't make sense.  For example, I never see a time when they tell you to actually sew the pockets closed.  So they're not and if you put something in one of them, it will end up in the no-mans-land between the lining and the outer fabric. They also had me stitch down the front of the purse in order to attach the pocket to the purse, so that's not very attractive either (but it's the only thing that I can get out of the pattern instructions).

The other tricky area was the front pocket piping/pocket facing area, but I think that was my fault because I couldn't envision what the instructions were trying to tell me.  I've used piping more now and I think I know what happened there. I definitely like the detail though (and in this picture you can see one of the random lines going down the front of the bag. Weird).  Oh, ignore the fact that I couldn't make a straight line on the brown part; I'm much better now, I promise!

The lining is the main tricky issue with this purse and the first time I put it in, I put it in backwards so you could see all of the exposed seams as opposed to it looking nice and neat. And actually, I thought it was supposed to be that way for some reason until I actually saw it put together and thought a lot of words I won't say here on the internets (I'm a lady).  That was one of the points I wanted to scrap the whole thing, but after walking away for awhile and regrouping/pep-talking ("you are a strong, confident woman..."), I returned and ripped the lining out and put it in the correct way. (You can't see to the bottom, but I promise it looks amazing!  Maybe the most amazing bottom of a bag you've ever seen).

So in conclusion, I'm happy with it.  I use the crap out of it and have gotten some compliments.  I wouldn't want to set it next to a Vera Bradley, but if there isn't one around it could probably be mistaken for one...ya know, if someone forgot their glasses and is really squinting at it.


  1. Despite your self professed lack of experience, your final project pictures are stunning! I started sewing in August of 2012. So I am truly a beginner. You are either overly modest or incredibly gifted.

  2. I am working on the other big bag from this pattern- your post made me feel better. I consider myself an intermediate sewer, but these instructions are in spanish! I think learning to sew off the internet has gotten me in trouble- I am no good at reading patterns. Anyway, one thing I am confused about- why a liner??? The fabric is double-sided. *Whiny voice* I don't wanna make a liner!!!