Cirque de Sewing

Don’t be fooled by this simple purse. There is far more to it than meets the eye.

This purse required feats of strength and agility heretofor unseen in my sewing studio, and thankfully not witnessed by anyone in my family because I’m certain they would never let me live it down.

Here’s the deal: My mother-in-law 1.0* asked me if I could make her a quilted purse for Christmas, but it needed to be able to stand up on its own because she puts it on the floor under her desk at work. No problem, I said.

I’ve been carrying my own Run Mama Run bag for the past six months and thought it would meet her requirements with a little modifying. The biggest modifications would be to attach fusibile fleece to the exterior fabric and quilt it, and attach Peltex to the lining so the bag would be nice and stiff.

Now, I’m pretty much a big avoider of Peltex (and its evil pal, Timtex) on a good day, so why on earth I would decide to work with it on a bag this style is completely beyond all comprehension. Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice and stiff and stands up like a soldier at attention (OK, maybe at parade rest — it’s not tht stiff). But that stiffness is what makes it such a challenge to work with. Pinning the layers together proved a bit painful. Plus, there’s not a lot of yield when you’re trying to twist and turn a Peltex-stiffened purse around the free arm of your sewing machine. The sheer inventiveness of my acrobatic sewing surprised me and sometimes was a little uncomfortable (I’m not as flexible as I used to be).

And then I had to slip the purse exterior through a four-inch gap in the lining, through which I then had to force a very unyielding Peltex purse form through so it would be right-side out. Methinks I did not plan this project as well as I’d hoped.

The final product is, in fact, a quilted purse that stands on its own. While my sweet MIL may not be able to appreciate the work that went into it, she’ll still be happy with the gift and the love that went into it. And I’m pretty sure the little bit of blood from stabbing myself while pinning the Peltex-lined pieces together doesn’t show.

*I have three. You know you’re jealous. 🙂

9 Replies to “Cirque de Sewing”

  1. I also feel your pain. I made a purse for my MIL for her birthday. I used wooden handles and the mouth of the bag is not very wide – subsequently couldn’t sew the lining to the main bag as couldn’t bend the handles as I sewed around the top. At one stage I had my sewing machine standing up on a pile of boxes trying to get a bit more space/ better angle. In the end I just put the lining in and just topstitched it together. But I nearly had to finish it by hand! Note to everyone – when making bags – use FLEXIBLE materials!

    Brees last blog post..the Christmas challenge – pressie #13

  2. Love the material choice. I happen to work with a generic form of Timtex from time to time, and I don’t mind it as much. My trick is to cut it out a but smaller all around, base it to the main panel, and if I’m quilting, quilt it before I sew any seams. And I leave enough fabric difference that I can easily sew the seams and it turns for me when I need it to after I add the lining.

    Staceys last blog post..Crock O’Food

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