My fabulous Amy Butler Sophia Bag—the one that made my fingers bleed—has gotten kinda of dirty. Between taking it on the MAX, leaving it sitting on the floor of my cubicle at work and accidentally kicking it and the general wet grossness of the weather here, it’s looking pretty funky. Now, I’m faced with a bit of a problem: how to clean it up. You see, it’s interfaced with buckram, which can’t be immersed in water because the structure (starch) will dissolve. So, I may have to (break with my hard and fast policy) and get it—gasp—dry cleaned. (I hear there’s an eco-cleaner near our house, at least.) Anyway, because I didn’t want to deal with deciding to go to the dry cleaners just yet, so I made a new bag for myself. (I know normal people would not understand how completely, utterly logical this is—but I know y’all get it.)

I’ve mentioned before what a tremendous fan I am of the designs of Etsoku Furuya, produced by Echino. I really like a lot of the unusual Japanese textiles, and Bolt carries a lot of goodies, most of which I can resist—but not Echino. I’ve made the High Street Messenger Bag out of her wolf fabric already and it’s just some of the most dynamic, vibrant prints I’ve ever seen. (There’s something wonderfully dangerous about having such a bad-ass fabric store within walking distance of our house. We’re very lucky.) I picked up the cherry-colored version of Furuya’s interpretation of the leopard print and found some cheapo complementary fabric for the lining. (Echino is, as we Oregonians say, “spendy,” so saving on the lining helps.)

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Ever since I made Josh’s step-mother one of the Amy Butler Downtown Purses, I’ve been meaning to whip one up for myself. It’s a great size and when I say “whip one up,” I really mean it. It takes no time to make this back—just a bit of wrestling at the end when attaching the straps.

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I’m rather proud of the way the pattern placement ended up. I’m not as precise about that as I could (should) be, but this time I went to some fairly significant effort on the location of the leopards on this bag, and I think it paid off.

The pattern placement on the back turned out pretty well, too.

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The bag’s a little wide for someone as short as me (I know that sounds weird—but if you’re short, you know what I mean). But the fabric’s what is really shown off here anyway.

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I used buckram again for the interfacing to give this bag shape. I really like the structured shape that it creates. However, I just used what we had around the house, and Josh uses a much heavier weight buckram for his hat brims that I do for bags, so I had to do some more intense-than-usual wrangling with the finished bag. This included having to give up on the suggested attachment method (top-stitched to the outside) and going to attaching to the inside and hiding it in the lining. That’s a weird description, I know, but you can probably figure out from the pictures what I did. If I’d been thinking ahead, then I would have narrowed the flap just a smidge in order to account for the strap residing inside rather than outside the bag. I have a feeling I’m the only person this bothers, though.

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I also added a pocket to the inside of the bag. This was really easy—I just cut off the top of two additional pieces of lining fabrics, sewed them together, added the size of pockets (I made four, but wish I’d made three—the two on the ends aren’t that usable) I wanted and basted it to the lining. Much better than the original pocket-less version. What was Amy thinking? She usually goes overboard on details like that… (My attempts at photographing the interior of the bag were not too successful, as you can see.)

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(Sidebar for a short lecture: That envelope in my bag? That’s my ballot. Filled out and ready to go. Oregonians: don’t forget to vote by May 20. Postmarks don’t count. It’s got to actually arrive by the 20th. So make sure that your ballot in the hands of your county elections office by Tuesday. End of lecture.)

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Notice the blouse I’m wearing in these pictures? That’s the Project Runway/Simplicity blouse I made a couple of months ago. I haven’t worn it much because the elastic in the sleeves annoyed me beyond belief and basically looked 100% dorky. So, recently I got around to ripping the elastic out and all is well in the world again. I wear this a lot with jeans and this ancient black jersey pencil skirt that I believe will be with me for the rest of my life. An added bonus is that it coordinates quite well with my new bag.

So, I’ve got to tell you that while this latest project from me isn’t too thrilling, Josh is working on some really unusual stuff. I don’t want to say much more. But, I’m always amazing at his willingness to think of some of the craziest things to craft—ever.

Just wait. You’ll see.


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12 thoughts on “Bagged

  1. OMG! I LOVE the leopards! Great back Sarah. The bag I made recently isn’t nearly as cool, I think. Funky, but not as timelessly classic and fun as your leopards. You need to make a matching wallet now. Really. You must.

  2. How much do I love that you characterized the leopards as “timelessly classic?”

    You know, luck would have it, I just happened to acquire a wallet pattern. Hmmmmmmm….


  3. I love this! I agree with Diane – I love the placement of the cheetahs – especially the one on the top flap. And the one on the strap looks like he’s walking up to your shoulder! So cool!

    Barack! Barack! Barack! :)

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