I've been needing a larger purse cosmetic bag for quite some time now -- the little zippered pouch I was using was just a tad too small for my mommy necessities (compact, chap stick, hand sanitizer, tiny hairbrush, bandaids, etc.). A "Mommy bag" was starting to seem more and more desirable, especially now that it's diaper bag season again. The obvious solution was to make one, since I have plenty of scrap everything in my stash.
But why not have a little fun with it? As a committed Anglophile -- but one whose tastes (and husband!) do not permit the blazoning of the Union Jack all over our dwelling -- the design seemed clear. Originally I planned to make it with fabric, but the more I thought about it, the less I thought that the fabrics I have on hand would be suitable. So if not fabric, then what? Leather, of course!
I was extremely skeptical about how well the leather would work -- especially stitching multiple layers of it together for the Union Jack pattern! I've had limited success stitching leather with my sewing machine, and the prospect of doing it all by hand... not appealing, to say the least. Fortunately, I gave the machine a try. It loved the really thick stuff, and only skipped a few stitches in toto.
I even had a salvaged red purse zipper with a red pull in my stash -- and it was just the right length! The brown suede leather is from a skirt that I bought way back when for $1. It's the skirt that just keeps on giving! The tan suede is from a jacket, and the red leather is from a bag of leather scraps my husband got for free at a local saddle shop.
The pattern was the same I used for the pouch in my makeup travel bag -- it's half of a sheet of printer paper (i.e., it's 8 1/2" by 5 1/2") with the corners rounded. The sides are 2 1/2" wide, and the whole thing uses 1/2" seam allowance. So the bag's finished dimensions are roughly 4 1/2" by 7 1/2, with 1 1/2" side gussets. I really like this shape for a cosmetic bag; it's easy to access everything, and it's quite simple to construct (the hardest parts are the curves, and making sure the gusset lines up with both sides of the bag).
Do you want a peek at the lining? Of course you do -- or, if you don't, here's one, anyway! *wink*
And here's a better view!
I found the British fabric at JoAnn's (so handy when trends coincide with my interests!), and knew it would be just the thing for the lining. So yes, technically this is not an entirely "stashed" project. But for a few dollars, I couldn't resist. Plus, I now have some of the British fabric leftover for future projects.
You may be able to tell from the picture that it's a tad shiny -- that's because I used some super thin vinyl, leftover from my Peter Rabbit table re-do, as a protective layer. I figure that I won't want to be washing this very often due to the leather outer (though yes, you *can* wash leather on a gentle cycle if you're willing to take the risk), but quilting cotton doesn't exactly repel liquids, lotions, or the other substances that might be stored inside. It gives the bag a bit of a crinkly sound, but it actually worked out much better than I anticipated. I think basting the vinyl to the fabric before stitching it did the trick.
So there you have it -- a new "Mommy bag" that's the perfect size (probably should have checked that before I made it, but all's well that ends well), while simultaneously sating my craving for British things. A happy ending, indeed!