Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gussets aren't so scary

A while back, my mom called me up to tell me about a friend at work who wanted me to make her a bag. She described what she wanted and eventually got Amy, the friend, to send me a picture of her current purse, which she was looking to replace. The bag looked like this, more or less, only with a rounded bottom. It was a bag I knew well, as I have a larger version myself. The problem was that I had no idea how to make it or even what a bag like that is called, which led to a lot of Internet searching for a tutorial, all to no avail. What I ended up settling for was this tutorial, with some major tweaks, of course. I took the basic look and design from the tutorial and followed the instructions, the most helpful of which was learning how to sew a gusset (so useful!).

The problem was that this bag didn’t really look like Amy’s on the top, so I needed to tweak it. In order to create the look of the continuous strap in the first link above, I decided I'd just make the gusset become the handle, so that I cut one long, circular piece. And it worked pretty well. That is, until I tried to turn the bag right side out (after sewing the inside) and realized I couldn’t because the handle was one piece that couldn’t be pulled out one side. I ended up having to snip the handle in the middle, flip the bag, then topstitch the handle back together at the top, which actually worked out ok but wasn’t ideal. The other problem that didn’t really click with me until the end was the width of the strap. The gusset was 4” wide, which worked great for the bottom of the bag but was really too wide for a comfortable strap. If I tried this method again, I’d definitely taper in the gusset as it becomes the trap, which I think would work fine. However, I almost certainly won’t try my mishmash method again, because, as luck would have it, I found the tutorial in the first link some weeks after finishing Amy’s bag, and it is, of course, exactly what I needed. Doesn’t it just figure? Oh, well, Amy was happy with her bag, and maybe post-Christmas I’ll give it another go with the new tutorial.

It still turned out pretty cute, don’t you think? I also like the addition of the button/loop closure, another of my modifications. I love the feeling of figuring out something on your own! All these little sewing tips I’m learning piecemeal are starting to come together, which kind of makes me feel like I actually know what I’m doing. Ha!

Oh, and as I mentioned in the last post, I sent Amy to Hawthorne Thread’s site to pick out the fabrics. The outside fabric was one of her picks, and I chose the lining to complement, based on some other colors/styles she chose. I heart HT!

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