I Can Make That!

While shopping in some little boutique stores with a friend and her daughters, my daughter Virginia came across a quilted, hipster purse that she was just dying to have. I glanced at the price tag – $50.00! Why was I shocked? After all I was out shopping in one of our area’s most affluent communities. But $50? A flat NO was my only answer. As the weeks passed and Virginia continued shopping for what I affectionately call her first purse, she pushed for a reason why she couldn’t have the quilted purse. “Because I can make it myself for way less than $50.00,” I replied. Why not? I could sew. I have sewn numerous items throughout my life. I’ve made totes of various sizes, quilts, and even some clothes.

So we ventured out to purchase the necessary supplies for me to create this purse for Virginia. I have made quilts in the past, but I decided to opt for the easy version and purchased already quilted material. But finding a pattern became difficult. Nothing fit the image we both had of what this purse should look like. I thought, I’ll just “wing” it. What was I thinking?!

I sat down with the material to cut the pattern that I had in my head and started sewing away. Now cutting the actual pieces to be sewn together seemed like a no-brainer for me. It’s the order in which you sew them together where trouble started to emerge. I ran piece after piece through the sewing machine and watched a cute little purse start to emerge. I sewed together a long piece of fabric for the strap. Now anyone that sews knows you sew with the right sides together and then reverse the item to bring the right side out and leaving the sewing edges inside and out of sight, but try pulling one end of long, skinny piece of thick fabric through itself to reverse it. I think this job took a good hour. Then came the zipper. I hadn’t sewn a zipper in about 25 years, and it was on a skirt — definitely a different technique would be used than on a purse. After much thought and determination, I had a purse with a zipper….but no strap. I forgot to sew the strap on before the zipper and sides. Fabulous. I wasn’t about rip it all apart, so I hap-hazardously sewed the strap onto the outside of the purse. It wasn’t easy on such a small object and with such thick fabric, but I managed.

Virginia thought her new purse was fabulous. That should have been enough, right? Nope. I didn’t think I did a very good job. But it was small, which added to the difficulty with such thick fabric. So I thought I’d give it another shot. After all, I bought a yard of fabric and her purse only used about one third of that. So I cut a bigger pattern and in a zip and a flash I had another purse. This time without a zipper, but with some velcro for the closure. But again…I FORGOT THE STRAPS. $!@#$! I did it again! Why?! I have made small totes in the past and knew the straps had to be sewn on first. So once again I refused to rip it apart, and instead I sewed the straps onto the outside. Purse #2 went to Klara. I was still unhappy with the outcome.

Tired and fed up with this project, Virginia brought me a small piece of fabric and begged for a matching wallet. Not the neatest little job, but without thinking I sewed the fabric up and created what resembled a wallet.

Glad to be finished with this not-so-glorious attempt at sewing my daughter a purse, I packed up all of my sewing supplies and pushed it aside. The next day, a friend of mine (whose daughter plays with my girls) told me her daughter was throwing a fit, because she wanted one too. She asked how much she could pay me to have a purse made for her daughter as well. Maybe I should charge $50.00. Just kidding….I love her too much to do that. Who knows, maybe the “third time is the charm.”


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