Saturday, July 3, 2010

Peacocks make a lovely purse

Some people think peacocks belong only in the wild. Some would broaden the realm to include zoos and nature preserves. There are a few people (who are still amazed, in fact) who have found a peacock or two in their vegetable gardens. But it seems safe to assume that everyone would agree that peacocks should appear as often as possible on purses.

Sew anyway (after that fantastic intro), I had this fabuloose fabric, and I wanted to make a nice, tropical looking purse, but wasn't sure on a pattern. I wanted something new. I diddled around online, looking at Amy Butler's website and Anna Maria Horner's, but nothing clicked. Then I just typed "free purse pattern" into a google search, and I came up with TONS of hits. Now, some of them were just plain silly. A monkey could have figured out how to sew those things. But, I guess, free usually = monkey business, and I should have expected most of what I found. But THEN, I stumbled across this website. Should've known BHG would be generous with the freebs. They have lots of other free purse patterns (just look here!), but the one I found was EXACTLY what I was looking for. Well, pretty much...just didn't like those silly handles.

This is the picture from the BHG site

(See what I mean about the handles? things could be better)

(okay, actually, I just didn't have a third coordinating fabric)

(at the time, that is)

So, I knew I wanted to do everything BUT those--okay, you know what I'm talking about. Sheesh! I feel like I'm just repeating myself.

I basically followed the pattern, but I made it a teensy bit bigger, because I like my purses nice and large. Gotta fit the book in there, and I just feel so green telling clerks I don't need a shopping bag. (Plus, I hate all the plastic baggies. There are only so many one household can handle.) (And you should know I'm just talking about smaller purchases. I don't carry a purse large enough to fit the weekly groceries.) (That would be crazy.)

Get back on track, Kir.

Right. So, I had to add some piping along the tops of the peacock pockets, even though the pattern said to fold it. One can't have one's peacocks upside down, can one? (Especially if one's narwhal has no choice but to be sideways)

So this is the purse with the piping (see it? it's teal) but it has no straps yet.

This when I had to do a serious intervention.

That's right. I had to go visit the maternal unit. Since she is the font of all wisdom and knowledge, I knew she'd know how to make my purse straps. I finally found a nice coordinating fabric (thanks, Jo-Ann!)--but needed her divine inspiration. We tried lots of ideas and she came up with the perfect solution. That's right! Eyelets. Why hadn't I thought of that?

So here's what I did. Mom and I decided eight eyelets would do it, so after one false start (drrg! bought grommets instead of eyelets! read the package carefully next time, kir) and 8.45 (that's dollars and cents) spent on the package, I was ready to go.

First, measure your purse and divide by eight (cause you have eight eyelets, right?), making marks for placement. Since my purse was 36 inches around, I had a mark every 4.5 inches. I made them about 2 inches from the top so as to have some gathering space and marked each spot lightly with pencil.

Then, it's time to cut. Use your scissors to carefully make a hole and cut an X just big enough to pop the top of your eyelet through the hole. The back of the eyelet package (oh, and if you're a first-time eyelet purchaser, make sure you get the "kit" package as it has the setter and other thingy that holds the bottom in place included) says to cut circles, but an X will suffice and it's a lot easier. Especially if you're cutting eight.

You need a very hard surface, like an anvil (but you might not have one of those--or if you do, it might be all greasy and nasty because your husband uses it for nefarious purposes which he calls "building things"--but which we all know is just a shoddy ruse) or concrete. Cover your surface with something to protect your purse and then set it all up.

First, you set the base thingy on a piece of cardboard so it doesn't get all scratched up by the concrete. Then, you poke the "front" part of the eyelet through your X and set it on the base thingy. That's what the picture above shows.

Next, you lay the scary claw part of the eyelet claws-down on the inside of your purse and cover it up really quickly with the setter. Then smash the setter as hard as you can with the hammer. (You need to hold on to the setter, even though I'm not doing that in the picture. I didn't want my fingers to hide what it looks like). Smash away maybe 8-12 times, depending on your vengeful swing.

Sometimes you might get so crazy with the hammer, you might make the whole caboose stick together. No sweat! Just tug a little on the fabric and it will come apart. If your eyelet seems loose, put it all back together--setter-claw part-eyelet front-base thingy--and pound some more.

When you're done, you'll have this lovely purse with eight eyelets in it. You should stop and feel the pride fill you now, especially if you wimped out last time and asked your husband to set the eyelets for you. You might want to call him and gloat, or maybe just sneak into the kitchen and have a bite of chocolate. Whichever seems appropriate. Or, of course, you can do both--which is what I did.

Next, you have to make your strap. Cut two 5" strips of the fabric for the straps. Cut them all the way across the fabric, so they will each be about 45" long. Sew the strips together at one end, to make a really long 5" strip. Then fold it right sides together to make a tube. Turn and press.

Weave it in and out of the purse, starting on one of the sides and ending there. Tuck one raw end inside the other and stitch them together.

When you want to open the purse, just pull it apart, and when you're ready to carry it, just pull up on the straps in the middle and put it over your shoulder.

NOTE: the straps did end up being a bit longer than I'd like, so I ended up tying knots in each end to shorten them--I was feeling too lazy to get the machine back out and do it right. But the knots don't actually look that bad...

Finished product:

This is what my purse looks like when it wants me to take it shopping.

And this is my purse dreaming it's at a cafe in Paris (shh! don't wake it up! it's so happy)


One yard pink fabric (the lining)

2/3 yard peacock fabric (the outer pockets)

1/3 yard teal fabric (straps)

1 package extra-large eyelets (with setting tools, if needed)

1 package coordinating piping (if desired)



Ilona said...

Love this purse!!

Karen in Oceanside, CA said...

I have used this pattern 3 times now. I love it. I made a really large one as a diaper bag for my niece. Really cute! The first one I made the straps as instructed and the second, I made longer as a shoulder bag.