Why do I do this to myself?!

Why do I do this to myself?!

Midnight in Paris

Front Pocket Close-Up


I’m stating up front that this bag, Midnight in Paris, was one of my most joyful creative processes–even if it did take twice as long as I anticipated and was WAY more complicated.  This was to be a simple bag…   As I unfolded the beautifully textured blue floral fabric I realized the first problem.  This fabric was much too delicate to use for a bag, to the point of having a see-through background.  Now what?  I pulled some heavier midnight blue with a velvety surface.  When I layered the delicate on top, I had the look I originally pictured.  First problem solved–simply layered and basted the two fabrics for the exterior of the bag.

My next plan was to fashion the exterior pocket from a piece of antique French embroidered table runner.  Stains on this antique led to the rather unusual cut you see for the pocket.  Another pocket flaw was covered by an additional piece of richly embroidered and beaded applique that was the perfect dark blue.  Second and third problems solved.

But wouldn’t you know it, whIle searching for the applique, I discovered plenty of delicate long fringe in the perfect color.  Nope, never applied fringe before, but how hard could it be?  Well, surprisingly, that process was a success!  Fourth challenge met and it certainly added to the romantic character of Midnight in Paris!

Oh, I must tell you about the fabulous little clips I discovered from Clover Products.  In earlier blogs I had recommended using mini-clothespins or small binder clips to hold layers of fabric together.  But I saw the Clover clips advertised and decided to order at least one box to experiment with them.  Wow!  I will definitely keep using for future projects.  One side is flat, and somehow, even though they are small, they’re amazingly strong!  Highly recommend…just sayin.’

The fifth dilemma came after I had interfaced, sewn darts, and almost completed the interior lining.  I decided that the fabric chosen for the lining, while appropriate in color, was just too contemporary for the interior.  Laying it aside, I fashioned a completely new interior from a golden silky lining that enhanced that romantic feel.  Once again, I created a pocket from the antique French runner and two more from the golden fabric.  Added a magnetic snap and the interior was ready.

Oh, a simple little bag, huh?  Now I find myself adding beading all around the top!  Romance just called for beads…  Should’a called the bag, Midnight ROMANCE!  Maybe next one…

The main difficulties had been overcome?  Actually, no.  I did not have enough fabric to make the handles!  At this point, the pattern changes to “my design.”  Instead of two handles that tie at the top, I created one handle from side to side.  That sounds even easier, right?  The problem is, the main part of the bag is cut for the original design.  Now nothing matches up.  What to do?  By doubling the top ends over where the handle meets the bag and sewing it shut and trapping the handle inside, the amount of fabric now matched up but looked a tad messy.  I spied some leftover fringe.  The leftover fringe was hand-sewn around both of the bag/handle meeting points and actually appeared tassel-like. Voila!  Problem solved–again.

Long story, but all of this is to say that even the simplest bag can throw many challenges your way.  Thankfully, this is when my learning curve takes a spike and the old creative juices get flowing.   Yes, it took longer and was fraught with difficulties, but I felt very proud of my efforts.  A special bond had been forged between that bag and myself which made it difficult to part with.  I’m hoping a “true romantic” gives it a good home.


About Anny

I am happiest during the creative phase of bag making. My studio is in a downtown historical loft built in 1890 with a view of the harbor. I have an armoire full of beautiful fabric and a map chest full of buttons, fringe, beads, and all the little pretties that make a bag one-of-a-kind. Every time I sew, my faithful Golden Retriever and English Setter are at my feet, and on REALLY special days, my precious granddaughters sew with me!

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