Charlie’s Aunt retro handbag

31 Oct

Someone complimented me on my handbag today, and I realised I hadn’t reviewed the pattern, Charlie’s Aunt’s ‘Brideshead Bag’ like I’ve been meaning to. So here it is.

I fell head over heels in love with this bag! I mean, hey LOOK at it. Isn’t it gorgeous? Such beautiful style lines!

Let’s be totally honest: I’ve been very wary of Indie patterns for various reasons that have been well-explored by other people in the sewing community; no need to go into them here. So it took a lot of umming and ah-ing to decide whether to risk wasting money on a potentially lousy pattern, or just develop my own based on the pictures.

In the end I decided to buy it in the hopes a formal pattern might actually get me making a bag. Thing is, I don’t like bagmaking but I really needed a new handbag as the old one was falling apart. I couldn’t find one that suited my needs for a price I could afford, in any bag shop. And we won’t talk about the Amazon vendors who refuse to post beyond the US.

What also weighed in the decision to buy the pattern was that I did feel pretty strongly that if I liked the design enough to copy it, the designer ought to be getting some credit and financial recompense for it.

 

Alterations The silly thing in the end was that I actually did end up ‘designing’ most of the bag myself. The pattern size was just too big for my needs. I asked the designer before I bought the pattern if it would downsize ok. She said no, because everything was drawn up in correct proportion to each other and the seam allowances etc.

Pah! Proportion and readjusting seam allowances are bread and butter for me! No worries! So I bought the pattern and made it a good 5-10cm smaller and it did indeed come out just fine 🙂 I also added in a million more pockets as there were only the one shown on the front, and a similar one with no fastening inside.

The fastening in the pattern was for a magnetic clip between the front and back right at the top. Instead, I chose to put a zip along the top because I have a habit of throwing my bag into the back of the car or onto a chair when I get home and I didn’t want things to fall out. Yes yes I know, similar to my lack of respect for jackets. I expect a lot of my handbags!

I lengthened the strap as I prefer over-the-shoulder bags and widened them for comfort.

 

My biggest regret with the bag is that I didn’t interface the pattern because I like slouchy bags. But then of course the top was soft. making it hard to open and close the zip. *facepalm* Ok, ‘fessing up here, I almost never use interfacing. It’s just one extra layer to make clothes hotter. And the softer the better when the humidity is up, which is like most of the year here. But duh, I should have interfaced the bag. I talked it over (after the bag was made, not before, of course :-P) with a friend who makes a lot of bags and she said interfacing really helps a zip be zippy. Note to self: interfacing a bag won’t make your clothes hotter to wear and will make the bag’s zips work better.

The other negative issue is that the flap is also fastened with velcro. However the velcro disintegrated quickly and hasn’t gripped since not long after I made the bag. The pattern says to use a magnetic clasp, but I went with velcro because I wanted to keep the bag’s weight down. With the zip-top it’s really only decorative anyway, but yeah, I’d go the magnetic clasp next time, regardless of the extra weight.

 

Front (like my little polar bear zip-pull from a friend in Canada? His name is Little Polar Bear 🙂 I used two different but matching tapestry fabrics from Spotlight. I knew from the wear such tapestry stood up to with this hat, that it would last the distance.

A close-up of the front. The pockets (black tapestry on the lower half of the bag) close with velcro strips I kinda cut and spread to match the curving top. I added the velcro before sewing the side seams. The velcro works really well and stands up to heavy wear as I use them every time I use the bag. I’m pretty pleased with them, and also amused because I get so many comments from people about how they too need a bag with velcro-closing pockets!

Back I’m pretty sure there weren’t back pockets on the original pattern. I just cut two mirroring pocket pieces, then created the back pocket in the same way as the front pockets.

Yeah yeah, the base might have benefitted from some interfacing too! But I do like slouchy bags…

There’s no piccies of the inside because there’s nothing of excitement in there. The outside pockets are enough, and so very convenient to use that I am glad I didn’t bother with doing the inside ones, and they probably wouldn’t have been used.

I’m very happy with my bag! I’ve even gotten used to the soft zip. Little Polar Bear helps with the zipping, too.

Yes I would love to sew it again! I keep thinking I’d love it in a green leather, and it’s a simple enough style I think it would work very well.

But then again, I’m also so very much in love with The kitchen Bag from the same place …

Sewing pattern to make the Kitchen Garden Bag - PDF pattern INSTANT DOWNLOAD

 

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2 Responses to “Charlie’s Aunt retro handbag”

  1. bimbleandpimble October 31, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    Oh, little polar bear! That is the cutest thing ever- totally adds sass to any bag! Bummer about the interfacing (though if you are in the no interfacing groove it makes total sense!)

    Like

    • Tropical Threads October 31, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      He is isn’t he! He a great little fella, helping me open and close the bag easily.

      Argh Interfacing! Yeah not using any made sense at the time …
      Oh well you live and learn 😛

      Like

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