the dodgy purse


After a whole evening’s sewing, unpicking, sewing, unpicking, sewing, unpicking and sewing.  Then a whole morning’s unpicking.  Then another morning’s sewing, my new handbag is finally usable.


I started this the night before I flew off to Canberra.  You know how it is, when you have a deadline (i.e. 4 am trip to the airpot), a suitcase to pack, a family to feed, a shirt to iron etc. and yet making a new handbag is urgently essential.  The time I spend in the little sewing house in the back garden is usually limited to rummaging through boxes and making piles of forgotten things that delight me afresh.  That day, I found these dear little cane handles that Nanny gave me a couple of years ago and so, rummaged some more, found a pretty fat quarter that I was saving for something, some more curtain remnants and I was dashing back to the kitchen with a handbag forming in my head.

The thing is, I had no pattern and had never before made a handbag like this.  I do have the ability to put fabrics together and to come up with sweet little things, but when it comes to working through a new construction method in my head, I am HOPELESS!  UTTERLY USELESS!  You do not want me on your desert island.  You would die of exposure before I worked out how to put the shelter together.

Thus, I stitched up the bag stupidly, and unpicked it over and over again.  True, each failure brought my one step closer to understanding what I was MEANT to be doing.  But, 9pm came so quickly.  The family demanded dinner.  I began to feel a wee bit anxious about the lack of REAL preparation for 4 am.  So I gave the bag one more go.  I truly thought I was almost there.  I so wasn’t.


See – it was almost together in a manner that I hoped would work – but frankly, a bit wonky – and then I tried to open it.  Yeeeeees.  Told you – HOPELESS.

Since then, it has hung from the sitting room door knob taunting me with its uselessness.  Snickering “Look at me – you used Nanny’s special cane handles and that pretty fat quarter and you even spent an hour embroidering a doily and it’s all wasted.”  Ha! Ha!  Not so fast you dodgy purse.  I spent the bumpy flight to Canberra pulling you apart in my head and putting you back together and I think I know what to do this time.


So yesterday morning, in that small space that lingers sweetly between cooking breakfast, preparing lunch, finishing the chores and going to work, I sat down with a cup of tea and my trusty seam ripper.  You would not believe how many seams required unpicking.  I’m not telling – it’s too embarrassing.  Then this morning – a neat press, a couple of simple seams, a brief moment of dodginess (I’m sure I could improve that particular bit but still haven’t worked out how), and I finally have a finished handbag


I’m especially pleased with the inside pockets – I made one for my keys, one for my spectacles, one for my phone and one for my lippy – and it opens.  Fancy that.


Now I have to fill it with the essentials and head off to the prettiest shop in Melbourne – Amitie – I’m trying to finish quilting Abby’s Halloween quilt that I began four years ago and the bloody thread keeps breaking.  I’m hoping it’s the thread’s fault.  Probably isn’t.  Oh well at least I’ll enjoy a quick look at some pretty fabric.  With my new handbag.  Very sweet.


8 thoughts on “the dodgy purse

  1. 10 out of 10 for persistance. Now for that wonderful persistance you are rewarded with the most gorgeous bag. I absolutely love it!! The very next time I see handles like those I am going to snap them up and plan my own “Lily” bag. It really is fabulous.

  2. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who had days like that! Unpicking more stitches than I sew. Working it through in my brain while otherwise busy with something else. Now I won’t let it get me too discouraged! I just love how nicely it came out and am glad you didn’t give up!!

  3. Lily, Lily, Lily! I burst out laughing as I began to read your post….not about the travails of the purse (sorry about those!)…but about the absolute urgent need to prepare something just ahead of a trip. I am famous for making sure I have, oh, two ambitious applique projects, some hexagons and some hand piecing but don’t forget the knitting! All of these are probably new projects requiring hours of preparation, gathering of supplies and learning knew skills (or copying the pertinent pages from the knitting handbook). NONE OF WHICH ARE THEN TOUCHED ON THE TRIP.

    I admire your stick-to-it-iveness and I think your purse is LOVELY!

  4. I LOVE your sweet purse! And you can’t tell that you had a bit of trouble with it at all…just adorable. I am very challenged with putting things together also, more so than you I bet and I wish I could make something like this. I even found some cane handles similar at a thrift shop recently and bought them for “someday”..maybe when my daughter can help me…she can whip things up with no problems at all…

    Anyhow…love your blog, just happened across it! Very cozy and homey…my style completely.

  5. It’s so cute and well worth the inpicking because you ended with a real gem. They say a mistake is only a mistake if you make it twice. When you make your next little baggie it will be fine.
    Blessings Gail

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