Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Gold Coast

Okay guys, I seriously considered titling this post "Don't Try This At Home!" I have recently survived a sewing adventure. It worked out okay for me, but I wouldn't consider this post an endorsement, as I think I'm merely lucky that I didn't injure myself (other than the occasional needle stick) or ruin my project.

So, a while ago, I dropped by the Gap Outlet and discovered this tote bag.
It was pretty much love at first sight. I was especially excited about the classic lines with the fanciful sequins. But, I had a little trouble deciding whether to buy it. The bag has a beautiful lining.
And, as you might be able to see from this photo, the bag gaps open big time. While I like the lining, I was worried my stuff was going to fall out. So, I decided to buy the bag and told myself that I would have to sew on a snap. I was a woman on a mission!

I was imagining one of those magnetic snaps that are oh-so-handy on purses these days. Only a small amount of internet research revealed that it would only be possible to use a snap like that if you were intending to make a lined bag and could add the snap before sewing the lining and the exterior together. This meant that a standard magnetic snap wasn't an option for this project.

I also considered using regular snaps, which would have a decent option. However, I have one other bag that features non-magnetic snaps and I find that I never use them. I never want to spend the energy pushing them closed, and while I know this might be the epitome of laziness, I've given in.

So, I investigated at JoAnn and discovered it was possible to buy a sew-in magnetic snap. YES! Even though it was like $6, which seems expensive for a snap, I got my little coupon and picked on up. I had this seriously misguided idea that it might be possible to sew it into the lining without detaching the lining from the exterior. Why did I think I could do this? I was clueless, I guess. Seriously, if you can make it work, let me know how! I was basically prepared to give up, until I realized that, because I had chosen matching thread, I could just sew right through both layers of fabric.

I pinned the snap on with straight pins. I used two at a time. Normally, you'd try to pass one pin through all the layers and then come back up to secure things and avoid getting stuck. That wasn't an option here because it was so thick. The vinyl of the snap was pretty serious action. I went to JoAnn the day before and selected some Coats and Clark heavy duty thread in a color called Dogwood, which is a perfect match for my bag. In fact, I think one important lesson I learned in doing this project is that a good color match is the most important thing. I decided to do a back stitch.  Above is the "wrong side" on that stitch.

And here is the right side! Look at that color match! It was 75% dumb luck, 25% that I brought the bag with me to JoAnn (because I was carrying it as a purse that day), so I had the chance to compare as many colors as I wanted. While it wound up a little like an eye exam (choice A, or choice B? A or B?, and so on), I got it done.
The biggest challenge in sewing this project was getting the needle through so many layers of fabric at the same time. It was extra difficult to get the eye through, and I found myself using a lot of pressure, with left me with a sore thumb and forefinger. I was reflecting on this when I thought of the idea of using pliers. It really helped! I think the fact that you have to use pliers is a sign of just how much of a bad idea this was. I mean, seriously! I could easily have broken the needle, which wouldn't have been a huge deal but it might have gone flying and hit me or gotten stuck somewhere. Yeesh. I really lucked out.
This is the finished product. You can see the place where the snap is sewn and if you look VERY carefully you can see the imperfections in the stitching. But, I think it worked out pretty well.
And with this parting shot, the Gold Coast bag and I are ready to hit the town!

1 comment:

  1. Great job! Totes are the best handbag but, you're right - stuff can fall out if they tip over. I especially like the side pockets.