Sunday, June 24, 2007

The handbag and why it's important

I guess I'll kind of go back to the beginning and work forward.
I had been looking for a handbag for ages, but hadn't had any luck. The one I had (1950/60's style clutch with small handle) was showing wear, plus I was beginning to feel the need to have a slightly larger bag. What I wanted was one just like it, only slightly bigger. What I found were all slightly smaller. Or ghastly--with massive buckles and logos. Or outrageously priced. There was a bag I had liked in a Japanese store here that was shaped like a three sided pyramid with sort of backpack handles and a zipper down the middle of one side. Unfortunately it was in kimono silk and I was afraid that I would destroy it in no time. It was also $42 dollars--good for what it was, but more than I wanted to pay.

So I started to design one in my head. The pyramid was funkier than I've gone in awhile, but you can always pull of funky if you say you made it--really. Try it some time. I'm pretty proud of the result. There are things I'd fix on a second draft (because I foolishly never, ever do muslin's of things--d'oh), but I am pleased enough with it to think I might write it up for a design portfolio.
So here it is--sorry about the photo quality--I was going for speed. I made it out of upholstery fabric so hopefully it will last a little longer than the one of kimono silk. It zips in the middle instead of down the side, which was tricky to do. I finished the mini-pyramid at the top and it has a separate opening closed with snaps where I keep my car keys, clip-on sunglasses, chap stick, mints and hanky--things I might need fast. As you can see it has a little cell-phone pocket. I put the elasticized belt-clip holder I already had inside the pocket to grip it. You can't see it from the photo, but the black sides are actually two different geometric Jacquards. Half and half on each side. The handle can be pulled up to the top as a wrist strap, or pulled back down to sling over the shoulder. I also made a removable strap where I can wear it across the back and did that a lot walking in Montreal. There's a funky little trick where I put a gusset in the far edge so that I can unzip it and open it up more for easier access, but so far I haven't needed it. I was going to do pockets on the inside but I was so tired of working on it and I wanted to have it done before I left my last job to show people, that I didn't bother--an addition for Mock-2 (is that right? Mock/mach?--one would think it's for mock up two, not speed of sound 2...hmm) (addendum--asked my husband who said, "Why don't you just call it Version 2." He's so clever). Inside I sewed a d-ring and clipped my old Hyde lanyard clip to it with my house keys, flashlight, usb drive, and car beeper. I have my coffin shaped wallet and everything else (lipstick, SS card, seldom used membership cards, eye drops, etc.) went into a small cosmetics bag (which has skulls on it--heh, heh).
Obviously for the portfolio I will a) take better pictures, b) make some diagrams. In full-disclosure (which will NOT go in the portfolio) the under structure needs help. I put in that thin, cheap craft foam and spot stitched it in places. Were I to do it again, I would either use something harder and fuse it to the lining, or quilt it to the lining for support. I thought about a wire armature, but I don't want it to be rigid. It should have a little give. The Japanese one had batting which made it feel like a pillow. I did have to slip a dowel in behind the handle because it was sort of crunching up on itself when I carried it. I won't be able to carry it with me when I go on interviews--I wouldn't want it examined side by side with the diagrams. My execution is never quite up to par with my design. Or I remake it, but not yet, not now.
The buttons--which I made with a cheap little craft kit are: Pucca kissing Garu, and L'Arc's Smile album cover. I'm going to make some more but my printer ran out of colored ink. The nice thing being that if I loose them or break them I won't care as opposed to all my "real" buttons.

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