Monday, February 09, 2009

Sewing With Velvet - or "Why I Threw a Purse Handle At The Wall"

Back before Christmas, I bought a couple yards of fuchsia-coloured velvet, intending to make a purse with it.

Since I seem to be feeling the need to not just finish but start new projects, I pulled out the wasp bag pattern last week and got to work on the bag.

Now, I've sewed this pattern up before, which usually means that things will go a little smoother the second time 'round.

Here's my first bag, which I hadn't photographed in it's completed state:

Minou purse

I love this bag. I didn't do the best job on the detail stitching (Ang - what am I trying to say here? overstitching? hem stitching?), but I'm still really pleased with the results.

This bag actually holds quite a bit of stuff. In fact, there's a human skull in the Minou bag, and I bet you can't tell.

Sooooo... the velvet one must have gone well, right? Um. Not so much.

I didn't use the pattern piece to cut the handles. Choosing, instead, to cut them to the measurement of the original and using my yard stick to get a nice straight edge on them - I even used my fancy chalk line that I bought when I was in BC visiting Ang.

Everything was going smoothly until I went to attach the second handle to the purse. I held it up to the first handle, which was already sewed to the top. I wanted to see how much fabric I should tuck into the hem and was not so happy to discover that the second handle was SHORTER than the first.

That's when I threw the handles against the wall, stormed out of the craft room and started muttering about how knitting was easier, even if you had to make your own fabric, and blah, blah, blah...

I wasn't in the best frame of mind to begin with, because it turns out that you should always baste velvet before you sew it. Something about the nap and some crazy, sensible sewing advice that Ang gave me AFTER I had my hissy fit.

In the end, I gave it a night, then went back to sewing when I was in a better mood. Now I have a cute little, not perfect, but it'll do, velvet bag.

Pink Velvet Purse

Lessons learned:
1. When putting handles on a bag, measure to make sure they are the same length, FIRST.
2. Velvet is a tricky mistress. Baste it.
3. Sometimes you need to walk away.
4. Persevere - it pays off in the end


  1. Lessons easily applied to many things in life, n'est pas?

    Especially the one about tricky mistresses.

    Lovely bag.

  2. It's so deliciously PINK

    I love it!

  3. Topstitching? Am I right?

    I think they both look darling, but I have to agree with you on the "knitting is easier, even if you had to make your own fabric" point. I've often said that whilst sewing.

  4. I was going to say top stitching but I see Ingrid beat me to it.

    Where did you get that bag pattern? I like it. I am still getting the hang of this sewing thing. So far all I have made is a curtain.

  5. It is always handy to have a purse that can carry human remains. Darling purses. As a non-sewer they amaze me.

  6. You are very brave to get back to it. I was making a tubular purse pattern (can't remember what they were called) about four years ago and I have not returned to my sewing--I will sew curtains or felted pieces, but THAT is IT!!! She says with adamnant determination...

  7. yummy looking bag, and yup, velvet is a moody kind of fabric. in my opinion, cotton velvet is easier to work with than rayon velvet and silk velvet could be classed as "extreme sewing". and you know that you're the only one who is going to think that it isn't perfect, right?

    word verification: "fullyza" -the ultimate pizza perhaps?