Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sewing with Cath Kidston: Quilted Purse Attempt 2 - 4

Ever since my disastrous attempt at making the "Quilted Purse" from Cath Kidston Sew book. I have decided to try again since it looked pretty easy and I know it couldn't be that difficult. Right? Anyways, this past weekend I rolled up my sleeves and tried again and ended up making three somewhat successful versions of the quilted purse with slightly different tweaks.

My first version is made using Hawaiian fabric purchased from Sweet Kapua Variety & Fabric Shoppe on Etsy and lined with some pink swiss dot fabric from Fabric Mart. If your wondering, I did follow all the instructions except for quilting the outer fabric and used some interfacing instead. I actually loved this version very much except for a few mistakes:
  • First, I sewed the white rick rack too close to the inner flap so that when I flipped  it right side out the rick rack virtually disappeared. Thankfully the pink lining peaked out just enough to give it a faux piping along the flap.
  • Second, I used interfacing that was too thin for a purse, which made my purse flopping and wrinkly despite my attempts to iron it.
  • Third, I did not notice that a small corner of my flap had a cut in it. The cut isn't too noticeable, but its in the worst possible location: the front flap. Boo.
  • Fourth, didn't really notice until the end, but if you have a design that runs one way then it will be upside down when you look at it from the back side. See the picture of the back the purses below and you will see what I mean. If you don't mind than its alright, but you have been warned.
  • Fifth, not really a mistake, but some bad planning. I didn't about what type of closure I was going to put until the end. I used a button maker and covered it with two layers of swiss dot fabric (fabric was really thin). I ended up hand sewing some super thin vintage elastic cord to the flap. This may not be the best way to do this since the cord may not stand up to constant use. Next time I would probably sew the elastic cord into the flap by sandwiching it between the two fabric layers.
  • Lastly, when I cut out the lining using the included pattern I noticed that it was the same dimensions as the outer fabric pattern. This meant that when I followed the directions and folded the top and bottom 3/8 inches and sewed it into the bag that the lining would be 1.5 inches short. I didn't really think this would affect the bag until I finished my third version. :-( Don't worry I will add my recommendations after my pattern review.
Front View

View of lining and hand sewn snap.
Version 2 of the Cath Kidston quilted purse was made using some japanese fabric from the Sweet Kapua Etsy store and a fat quarter I purchased from Joanns. This time I used mid weight fusible decor interfacing from Joanns, some vintage white jumbo rick rack trim, black ribbon and vintage sew on snaps. The results are as follows:
  • First, I like this version overall. The mid weight interfacing made quite a difference in the overall appearance of the purse. The purse looked smoother and was able to hold its shape much better.
  • Second, I also sewed the rick rack on correctly and looks nice with busy frog print.
  • Third, I sewed the flap portion closed before I realized I would need to hand sew the snap to the fabric lining only. This wasn't too bad since the fabric lining was really thin and could easily be pulled away from the outer lining fabric when you are hand sewing. Of course this might be a coincidence or dumb luck for me.
  • Lastly, I don't know what I was thinking using thin black ribbon. The little loop was just my dumb attempt at giving it a handle although I did make the ribbon too short and used a super thin handle that can snap at any time. Double boo!
I know you're probably wondering when am I going to actually make this a "quilted" purse like the instructions said on the Cath Kidston Sew book? Well look at version 3.

Version 3 with free motion quilting.

Made from quilting cotton purchased from Joanns. If the lining looks familiar than you are right because it was from the stretch cotton twill that I used to make my disastrous Fruit Salad dress. Of course I still had to make it my own by adding some brown pipping and trying to do some free motion quilting instead of making the quilted diamonds like last time.

Botched free motion quilting detail.

Despite this being my fourth attempt (aka third successful attempt) at the quilted purse I still hit a snag or two:
  • First, despite using a darning foot, lowering the feed dogs, setting the sewing speed to slow and using a quilting sewing needle on my machine. My free motion quilting results were not so good. I had a lot of long threads from pulling the fabric too fast and my swirls were not swirly. Of course, I didn't practice or anything like that since free motion quilting should be easy right?? Another classic experienced novice mess up.
  • Second, this was around the time I noticed that my lining was too short. So now I know that I should cut the lining fabric a bit longer.
  • Last, this was my mom's favorite and has promptly asked to have it despite my crappy attempt at free motion quilting. Mom claims it doesn't look as bad as I think it is, but then again I was thinking my results would like Vera Bradley and not "crappy".
Here is my full pattern review for the Cath Kidston Quilted Purse.

Three versions of Cath Kidston Quilted Purse.

Back view of the quilted purses.

Pattern Review (The Pros): This pattern review is for the "Quilted Purse" pattern that can be found in Cath Kidstons Sews book. A paper pattern is included in the book. I liked how the instructions can be followed by beginner, but you will need to read the instructions a couple times to make sure you have the sequence correct. I love how you have many options on trimming the purse and really making it your own. Also great that you can easily lengthen or shorten the pattern pieces to make it in whatever size you want. I see a bag for Ipad using this pattern! Also be warned that this pattern will try to get you to do a bunch of hand sewing so be prepared.

The Cons: The two cons I have about this pattern is the hand sewing required to achieve the quilted look. The instructions are included for marking out the one inch diamond grid, but the book doesn't include instructions on how to hand quilt the purse nor does it include instructions for machine quilting the diamonds, which would have helped me out. Another con is that pattern piece for the lining is too short once it is completely sewn in. There is an almost 1.5 inch gap between the bottom of the purse and lining. This issue can be easily amended, but someone doing this for the first time will be surprised. Lastly, not really a con, but something to keep in mind. I mentioned earlier that if you have fabric print that goes in one direction that it will the design will be upside down in the back because the outer fabric is one long rectangle folded in half. Just another surprise for the novice seamstress.

Did it come out like the pattern picture? Yes, despite my little "tweaks" in trim.

Do you need to make adjustments? Yes, will need to lengthen the lining pattern by 2-3 inches (includes the seam allowances) to make it fit the purse. I suggest being conservative and cutting the lining fabric long, baste the seam allowance and check it for fit inside the outer fabric. Also need to be aware when using one directional patterned fabric. See my previous comments.

Pattern Level: Beginner. 

What could I have done better? How about reading all the directions first and following them the first time around before I decide to be creative. Also to double check my work instead of rushing through it.

Would you sew this pattern again? Yes, I see a potential Ipad cover in my future.
Would you recommend this pattern to a beginner? Yes, just take it slow, read through the directions a couple times, measure twice maybe three times and enjoy the process. Also don't be boxed in with what the picture shows you. I have realized that trims and closures can be just as interchangeable as fabric and can drastically change the look of the end product. Also don't be afraid to mess up. Experiment and don't forget that interfacing is your friend when it comes to making purses look really good.

Pattern: Quilted Purse pattern from Cath Kidston Sew book purchased from
Fabric: Version 1: Hawaiian Fabric Cotton print from Sweet Kapua on Etsy & Swiss Dot Cotton lining from Fabric Mart.
Version 2: Japanese Kawaii fabric from Sweet Kapua & Cotton Print (fat quarter) lining from Joanns. Version 3: Quilting cotton from Joanns and stretch cotton twill from Fabric Mart for the lining.
Trim: Vintage white rick rack, black ribbon, self made button using button maker and brown cotton pipping.
Techniques: Lining, quilting, interfacing, button making, piping and rick rack application and hand sewing metal snaps.