For a while now, I’ve wanted to make a little bag out of bleach discharged velvet. I’ve had the handbag frame for over a year, and I’ve had the velvet from yesterday’s post even longer than that. But I just never came across a pattern I wanted to use, and couldn’t motivate myself to draw my own (lazy, I know!). Last night I finally realized that this bag would never happen if I didn’t take a little initiative, so I quickly sketched out a shape onto my lining fabric and took it from there. The directions that follow are not precise, but will give you some idea of what’s involved in the process. If I make another bag with a sew-in frame, I will probably make it a lot larger so I can gather it into the frame. This will not only make it easier to get things in and out of the bag, but will reduce the need for precision in fitting the fabric to the frame. I think I’ll also add some fringe or rhinestones for embellishment. The frame I used has loops for a chain, so now I’m on the lookout for something I like.
I used a frame that was designed for handstitching onto the bag. You’ll recognize a frame like this because it has small, evenly spaced holes along the edges. Joggles has a great selection of these in various shapes, sizes, and finishes.
For my pattern, I simply sketched (directly onto the lining fabric) a top arc about 1/2-inch bigger than my frame, then loosely drew the remaining shape and cut out some darts so the bottom of the bag would have some volume. You’ll note on the photo that I extended the bottom portion of the pattern out about 1/4-inch beyond the frame area (based on some other patterns I came across). I won’t do this next time, as it really didn’t make things fit any better. Be sure to cut 2 pieces of lining and 2 of the main fabric.
Next, you’ll need to sew up the dart openings. Then, with right sides together, stitch the 2 lining pieces together from the end of the frame area, all around the bottom and back up to the opposite side of the frame location. Repeat this process with your main fabric pieces. Place the lining inside the bag, right sides together, and stitch the edges of the frame opening together, being sure to leave an opening for turning everything right side out. This is the difficult part, because in my case, the frame opening was a little too small to fit over the free arm of my sewing machine. (Looks a little like a gasping puppet’s mouth, doesn’t it? And note the debris from the edges of the velvet.)
Turn the bag right side out. Hand-stitch the remainder of the seam, then press the edges of the bag opening flat. Next, simply handstitch the bag to the holes in the frame.
When working with velvet, keep in mind that the edges fray a bit, so it can be a little messy. It can also be hard to handle on occasion, so keep your pins handy.