Sunday, February 10, 2013

Storm Update and Double Bag Prototype

The Blizzard of 2013 was a whopper of a storm, dropping 27 inches of snow on our town in central Massachusetts. The wind created some strangely beautiful sculptures on our cars. My sedan is parked ahead of the Volvo, close to the garage, and that's a 3 foot drift on top of its roof. Quite a powerful wind!

We're all dug out now and the landscape is dominated by huge piles of snow everywhere. We are grateful to have kept electricity throughout the storm, unlike hundreds of thousands of people in the southeastern part of the state. I can handle shoveling snow and braving the cold, but I really dislike having no power. So, we were fortunate.

One drawback to renting a studio outside the home is not being able to go there in the midst of a storm. I filled Friday evening and all day yesterday with knitting, which helped pass the time but didn't truly satisfy. I longed to sew, and was happy to spend 7 hours in the studio today, working on another linen jacket. More about that in a future post.

There are still some items I made in November and December I haven't blogged about, so I thought I'd show you some bags I made back then.

You may recall the double bags I made last September using Marcy Tilton's Vogue 8590. I had good feedback from others concerning the concept of two bags that hook together for pairing up. But I had an idea to change the shape into a clutch, making them a perfect size for tucking into a large tote.

This also grew out of some really great wristlets I've carried for several years, made by Hobo International. The bags have wallet-like interiors - zippered and open pockets, and slots for credit cards. They're also large enough for a tissue, lipstick, and phone. There's a wrist strap for carrying, but I usually stash mine under my arm. These bags are the perfect solution for running errands, when I don't need to take my entire tote into a store. I just grab the wristlet and go.

Using Marcy's pattern as a starting point, I melded both ideas into one. I maintained the shape of Marcy's bag, but drafted it shorter in height and longer in length. I added a shoulder strap, but have to admit I don't usually keep it on as I prefer a clutch. I kept the exterior pockets, but added a wallet-like interior.

My basic everyday clutch is the gray and black one shown below. The lining is the same green silk faille used in my charcoal felted tote.  The black spherical motifs are painted using Marcy Tilton's "African Suns" silk screen.

The second bag is in shades of blue, gray and black. It looks great paired with the everyday bag. I often carry them together when going out for dinner.

I love the cotton jacquard used on the face of this bag. The back and side tabs are a gorgeous deep blue crushed taffeta that carries the blue color further.

Pleased as I was with this duo, I decided to make a third bag that would coordinate with the basic bag. This time I went with shades of wine and gray.

This side is made with a chenille and metallic brocade. The reverse is silk dupioni painted with another Marcy Tilton silk screen.

All of the fabrics I used are from Sawyer Brook. Several of them are remnants that I truly wish I had more of, as they work so well together.

These bags are really fun to carry. The interiors are all the same, so I can use any of them as a wallet/clutch. When paired together, I can switch which sides are on the outside, so there's a variety of looks that can be achieved.

I'm planning to make several sets of these to sell. I've got a couple of kinks to work out first, though. I'm having trouble finding the metal slide that's used to adjust the strap length, in the black nickel color. I can find gold and silver, but I really like the darker color with certain fabrics. I'm also toying with changing the location of the rings the strap clips on to, from the sides of the bag to the top. I'd really like them to tuck into the top of the bag and slip out when needed. Perhaps most wearers would use the strap all of the time, so maybe that's not so much of an issue. I just think it looks a little strange to have loops and rings on the sides of a clutch. Any ideas?


  1. Dixie, these are both practical and gorgeous! I love them all, I especially love your silk screening on the third bag.

    This would not allow the tags to tuck in, but perhaps you could sew them into the zipper seam, with one ring on the front zipper seam and one on the back. Then when attaching the strap, the tabs will stand straight up, and not have to bend. I hope I've made sense! I suppose that you could attach a little charm to the rings also, which would help the rings hang down and out of the way when not using a strap. I hope I've interpreted your question correctly, but whatever you decide, they are beautiful just as they are.

    1. Thank you, Andrea, for your suggestion. It's a good one that I think will work!

  2. ps - that's a whole lotta snow!

  3. Thank you for starting with the snow, and finishing with those exquisit bags! I can leave with the memory of the bags :) Which, btw, I am in awe of - everything about them looks perfect! Like they should be on display under glass in a high end fashion store :)

    1. What's the matter, Jillian? Don't like snow?! Glad to hear you like my bags. Thank you for the compliment!

  4. That's a huge pile o' snow you got there, Dixie! And here all we have are snowdrops. ;)

    Lovely little bag collection! Very cute and practical too.

  5. I like Andrea's idea about having the rings pop in and out of the zippered compartment. But then the zipper would have to remain open when using the strap. Maybe little pockets to tuck the rings into when not in use? Is it possible to paint rings black if you can't find black ones?

  6. Thanks for your suggestions, Debra. I'm not sure about how well paint will hold up on metal. The color I'm looking for is black-toned nickel, not a solid black. I'll work it out somehow!

  7. Everything you do is absolutely perfect!