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Belle's Purse

I finally finished! I’m so proud of this purse, even the mistakes. In a few places the stitches are kind of wonky and I’m not the best at hand-sewing but still, I made a PURSE!

First of all, let me say that laughing purple goldfish designsEasy Peasy Crochet Bag is the best pattern ever! It was easy to follow and I love all the accompanying pictures. I was able to make the bag the size I wanted without having to do math (math hates me and the feeling is mutual) and with relative ease. No, not even relative. This bag was incredibly easy to crochet. Her tutorial on how to line a bag was essential in the making of Belle’s purse.

To make the size I wanted, I just crocheted a rectangle until I felt it was big enough. Once the purse started taking shape, I thought it was too big and wanted to rip it out. The Husband, knowing my flakiness, suggested that I just continue on. I often get frustrated when I rip something out and start over and then I never finish the project. So I followed his advice and continued on, with misgivings. At that point I hated the yarn I (*ahem* I mean Belle) had chosen, I didn’t like the shape of the bag, and the stitches looked too plain. This being my first purse and for my little girl at that, I wanted it to be perfect. However, I soldiered on and I’m glad I did.

As I got to the top of the bag, I began to think of the edging. I liked the frilly edging on the bag that laughing purple goldfish had made but I wanted something different. After a little thought I decided to crochet an alternating pattern of front post and back post stitches. It turned out beautifully and I’m definitely going to edge another bag that way.

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After I finished crocheting the purse, I weaved a little of the crochet ribbon through the bottom of the posts on the edging. Again, I messed up a little as part of the yarn bunched together and I couldn’t get it straight. Frustrated, I left it as it was and moved on. Perfection was not my goal, I was just trying to make something beautiful for my Belle.

For the lining, I used some tie dye material that I’d bought awhile back for diapers. I believe it is flannel though it is smooth and not the pilly kind. I followed laughing purple goldfish’s directions on measuring it, meaning that I didn’t. I just put the bag on top of the fabric and cut around it, leaving a bit extra on all sides. In retrospect, I should have used a little less on the sides as the fabric was too big, something I didn’t notice until I was halfway through handstitching it inside the purse. It’s ok though, I just folded the fabric over a bit and stitched it in. I sewed the lining together using my machine after starting to sew it by hand and realizing that it was going to take a long time. For the pocket, I just cut a piece of fabric into the size I wanted, leaving a little extra to fold over and stitch through, like a hem. I attached the pocket to the lining before sewing the lining together.

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The stitching on the pocket is a bit wonky as again, I’m not very good at sewing by hand. But I love it all the same, in fact probably a little more than if I’d used my machine to sew it in.

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After sewing the lining in, I decided to dive in and give it a zipper. I’d been wavering on that as I wasn’t sure if I could do it and I didn’t want to ruin the purse. But after the lining was in, my sister told me that it looked like a basket. At that point I figured that I wouldn’t be happy with the purse if there wasn’t a zipper so I dove in. I wasn’t able to find a tutorial on sewing in a zipper. I think I found one awhile back but I didn’t want to waste time digging through my bookmarks in an attempt to find it so I just stitched it in by hand, much the same as I did the lining. I matched it up with the edge of the lining and sewed through that and the front loop of the top of the purse’s edging. I like the way it turned out.

Finally I made the straps. I’d meant to do them prior to putting in the lining but I forgot and didn’t remember until it was too late and the lining was already mostly in the bag. So I improvised. If you remember, I’d been debating having fabric straps to give it some stability. However, I don’t have a fabric that I felt complimented the bag in the way I envisioned so instead I used two strands of yarn and crocheted them together. One was the yarn I’d used to crochet the bag’s body and one was the crochet ribbon that I’d just purchased (75% off!!). I ripped out and redid it many times as I wasn’t sure of the stitches I wanted or how to place them. I also kept changing my mind on whether or not I wanted the ribbon included on the straps in this way or if I wanted to just weave it through, like on the body of the purse. I ended up chaining six, then skipping a couple stitches and crocheting the rest in double crochet. Each row was four stitches, with the turning chain of three stitches counting as the first stitch on the next row. I skipped the first stitch and ended the rows by crocheting into the turning stitch of the row below.

By the way, if you are just learning to crochet or just need some tips, I love Crochet Kitten‘s site. The tutorial section is very easy to read and there are plenty of pictures to help you out.

At this point, Belle went to nap and I wasn’t able to measure the strap against her body. Because of this, I believe I made the strap too long. I won’t know until she wakes up and I can try it on her. Because she’s a toddler I decided that I wanted the strap to be long enough to put it across her shoulders like a messanger bag. Depending on how long it is, I might have to fix the length so we’ll see.

To attach the strap, I had a vision in my mind of how I wanted it to look. Basically I wanted to crochet it to the posts with the body of the purse easing up into the straps, seamlessly. However, that wasn’t what I got. I ended up crocheting it to the bottom of the posts on the edging using a double crochet across the bottom of the strap and then weaving the edges in. Not what I wanted but I still like it.

And finally, I am done. All in all, this purse was easy. I got bogged down in some of the details but it helped that I’d made some decisions (such as having a lining, a pocket, and a zipper) beforehand. Remaining flexible is what helped this purse to come into being as there were quite a few times when I would have given up in the past. I sewed the lining in wrong, the seams are not on the short ends of the rectangle which made the pocket be in a weird position. The strap is most likely too long and there are flaws that even a non-crafter can see. However, I think it is beautiful and I’m going to be so proud to give it to Belle. I’m already thinking of making another bag, slightly larger, as a Christmas gift for my sister.

And now, for some purse porn.

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Taking a peek inside the bag to see the wonderful, wonderful lining.

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All zipped up and ready to go.

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The bag is floppy but stable, much like many of my purses. (Um, I may or may not have a purse addition.)

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A little shrubbery in the shot to liven it up.

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And of course…

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The ever popular “Hey, I’m just a bag hanging here, minding my own business.” shot.

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