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Topic: What do you look for in a purse/bag?  (Read 2927 times)
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« on: March 04, 2014 12:23:01 AM »

After 7 years, my faithful purse has started to show its wear/the orange flowered canvas I used to reinforce it instead of interfacing.  It's thick black corduroy on the outside, purple plaid on the inside, and has been great, but I think it may be time to design a new one.  When I made this one, I made one of the pockets to be big enough for my Discman.  Yeah...
So what do you look for in a purse/like that you can design yourself as a crafty person?  In addition to the discman pocket, I made one that was the right size for my cell phone, which died and was replaced by one that could only fit in the big pocket, pockets that were the right size for a few tampons, pockets for pens, emergency chapstick, etc.  I also added a hook which I intended to be for my keys when I wasn't using them, but ended up being for my spare key in case I locked myself out of my car as I often do.  I made it large enough to hold a normal sized notebook, since I often write, and never leave home without a book.  It is taller than it is wide, with a flap that goes the length of the purse when flat.
One of the main concerns I have with this one is that it is made of such soft materials, and since I load it up, I'm always afraid that the strap will tear off, though it's been a brave soldier thus far.  What is the sturdiest way to attach a strap, and if I can find this delicious soft corduroy again, do you think using canvas instead of flannel-like (but not fuzzy) on the inside will ease my worried mind?  And what to do about pockets?  I had a messenger bag with a big pocket in the flap, but that just encouraged me to put more junk in it and it became bulky and cumbersome.  I'm imagining a zipper under the flap this time.

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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014 06:33:00 AM »

Great question!  I think that added canvas or even strapping to the inside of the handles would work well.  As for reinforcement, I tend to either sew X's on the ends of the handles (where it meets/goes underneath the lining) and then a square around the X, or if that wouldn't work well with the design, I sew back and forth several times to make sure it's in there good and tight.

As for what I look for ... something that has lots of pockets so things don't get lost in the depth of the purse!
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2014 06:56:39 AM »

I have made several bags (different shapes and sizes) before but I haven't made a "purse".... yet..... it is on my to-do list....  But I really want to, but I don't want a pattern as I plan on drafting it myself.

But for me it's pockets and as dumb as that sounds, that scares me a bit as I know they have to be put in place before the bag is sewn together.... I want pockets all around on the inside to organize the bag, but also on the outside as well.   I like my cell phone (bigger smart phone) to go on the outside so I can hear it when it goes off but easy to grab, but I also am a fountain pen freak and carry at least 6-8 with me in my purse so having pens slots that work for bigger pens than cheaper skinny BIC type pens.

I also want to put a ring on the outside to be able to clip my truck keys to.  That is a must for me so they are handy to find.  I clip my key ring to a small Carabiner (3" maybe) that I clip to the outside of my purse.  But rather than the strap ring I want a dedicated ring sewn to the side of the purse to hook that onto.   If I don't put them in the same place every time I loose them....

Living in the land of thecold, ice and snow that makes it handy to be able to find my keys to use the auto start on the key ring while I am still inside so it's warmed up before I get there.  (also easier on the motor for cold starts)  Not just me, but often the kids will start the truck before we need to leave so they can do that without digging through my purse to find the keys.   

I agree if it's too big you just have junk in it but I do want it big enough to hold a larger notebook as I make notes a lot to myself but also for my kindle fire HD so I can take it with and have it when waiting for doctors appointments and such. 

My other must have is the handles.   I have looked at some of those that are handmade on ebay and etsy and I did buy two but the handles were so short to be functional for me.   So many have a short drop which is fine if your shaped like Barbie and live in California, which I am not and I don't......  I like to be able to put my purse over my shoulder and carry it that way, but I do carry a few extra pounds and live up north where you need to wear a warm winter coat which adds more bulk.  So my dream purse would have at least a 15" drop rather than the 9-10" usually seen.   

But I have made some cosmetic bags that I used the really stiff pellon (not sure what it's called but that is what the lighter stuff is called) that is used for things like the brim of a baseball cap.   But I used two layers of it, one ironed onto each side of the outer fabric and the lining fabric.  So it gave the bag enough stiffness that I think would be perfect for a purse to help hold it's shape.   Don't forget to sew it into the handles as well so they hold their shape.   I made a school bag for my daughter and didn't and the bag looks great but the handles look wimpy especially after being laundered.   The two purses that I bought just had a layer of batting (perhaps polar fleece) between the outer layer and lining.  It was a huge disappointment as the bag didn't hold it's shape at all.   They were also a bit smaller than I envisioned being a nice size for a purse, yes the seller gave measurements looking at a tape measure is one thing and looking at the real thing another.   Not sure if they gave the cut length - height of the fabric but it sure didn't feel that big but I didn't measure after I got it either.   But they weren't a total waste as my daughter uses them and they come in handy when we go on car trips to put her stuff into that she may want for the trip. 

fabric used is another deal breaker.  I think holiday purses would be fun to make and use, but I also see quite a number of them being sold using two prints that compete with each other and actually make it unattractive to look at rather than appealing.   Perhaps it's just me......  The bones are good as they have a great concept/pattern but they have a poor choice in fabrics IMHO.  That and very short straps because I think they are using a 45" length of fabric and using one strip to make two handles rather than waste a bit of fabric to make them longer.  I want to put my purse over my shoulder rather than just hold the handles.  Then using different print/solid for the handle looks odd to me as well.   

I do look at ebay and etsy quite often for ideas.....   Pinterest is also good for ideas as well.....

I make soap and other "cosmetics" as defined by the FDA and in my spare time I sew.... Sewing is therapy for me in dealing with life stresses and my chronic pain.  When I hurt and can't sew, I plan what I want to sew.  I also have a great husband, three kids and three fur kids.....
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2014 02:12:32 PM »

Well, the reason why we make our own purses is because someone else's idea of perfect isn't our own! At the moment I have my "work bag" that's a boxy thing with a button/hole closure, one open patch pocket that holds my late morning snack, extra eyeglasses and instant decaf, and a zippered "pocket on a string" that holds my phone, money and other essentials so I can take it out of the bag and throw it around my neck to make quick trips to the store or whatever when I'm not at work. It's big enough to cart my lunch to the work fridge, water bottle and a book. I don't really like hauling big bags all over the place, that's so tedious! I don't need to pack a suitcase every time I leave the house.

« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2014 03:56:05 PM »

Let's see. . .  Sturdy, long straps . . . At least long enough for over the shoulder if not cross body, lots of inside and outside pockets, color and fabric combos. Sigh. How to prioritize?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2014 05:33:04 PM »

I look for leather. Thick leather, at least 5 oz. Large, messenger-style, with a top handle, double buckles over the flap, and a detachable shoulder strap. The Cambridge Satchel Company's "batchel" had me drooling so much that I coukdn't rest until I made my own.  Grin And I improved on it, too, by making it convertible into a backpack. I made it pretty big-15"x10"x5", so that I'll never have to worry about running out of room. But no pocket on the front; I'm not crazy about pockets under the flap.
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