Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A special request

I had a special request from my hubby's cousin to make her a bag. She saw the praying mat bag I made for my mum at my blog, and wanted me to make her a bag that she could put in a praying mat, the praying attire (telekung) and a make-up cum purse cum handphone bag.

I feel very honoured that she thinks that my bags are nice enough for her to want me to make her one. I am excited, but, at the same time, anxious and nervous! LOL!

I am excited because this is a special request from my hubby’s side of the family as most of the bag requests so far only comes from the immediate side of my family, and they are mostly requests from my nieces, mum, sisters, and SILs, or rather, I make bags mostly for them. They are my biggest fans! LOL! *wink* I have also made many bags for my stitching friends.

I am anxious and nervous because I am afraid that she might have expectations that I might not be able to fulfil, me being only an amateur at making bags with special requests. BUT, excited I still am, and I just hope that I will be able to fulfil all her requests. *smile*

Anyway, my hubby’s cousin, Idah, requested for a bag in black, a colour that I don’t usually work with, but, definitely it does not mean that I can’t work with black. Being architecturally trained, I tend to love bright colours more, and the only other black bag I have made was for my sister, Lin, who is a lawyer, and only dresses in black and white when she was still working as a lawyer. I made her that bag for her to be able to take it to work. I made a grey messenger bag for my hubby about more than a year ago.

Idah’s other request was for it to be in linen. She also wanted a long leather handle that can be slung over her shoulders, and maybe have some of the trimmings to be in leather. She also made a request for a make-up bag cum purse cum hand phone pouch to match the main bag.

I made two proposals for her, one which is almost similar to the praying mat bag, and another one is more like a tote, like the normal bags that I have always been making, but, this time with zippers. This will be the first time that I will be making it using zippers made this way.

Unfortunately, I had to tell her that I have never worked with leather before except to sew the handles on, which I think I did not do such a good job of, and I am definitely not yet confident to work with leather anymore than to fix the handle, what more the trimmings. I have never worked with linen either.

I feel bad that I couldn’t fulfil that part of the requests from her, but, rather than attempt it and do a lousy job of it, I would rather work with something I am more familiar and confident with and do a good job of it. Then maybe, she will recommend me to her many other friends, cousins, etc. LOL! *wink*

Idah has chosen the tote bag option and she asked if I could make a paper mock-up of the bag before I actually get down to sewing the bag because she wants to be able to have a feel for the size of the bag.

I asked a few stitching friends how do I go about doing it as I was afraid that the paper mock up might not look nice and do justice to the design, because I am quite confident that the bag which I will be making will look nice with the choice of fabrics that she had already chosen.

A few friends suggested that I make an actual bag but using a different fabric from the one that she had chosen as they said that I can always sell off the `sample bag’ once she has made her comments. That way she could have a feel for the size of the bag, and it would also give me an opportunity to try out this zipper method that I have never tried before without getting too stressed out over it if it did not turn out okay.

So, about 2 weeks ago, I sat down to cut out the fabrics to size with the intention to start work on it immediately. Unfortunately, however, I was down with the flu for about a week, and did not touch my sewing machine at all until during this Chinese New Year holidays.

I worked on it all day, well, almost all day Sunday, 14th February. Yup! We didn’t go out for any Valentine’s Day celebration this year as my hubby and I, together with our son had already gone out all day on Saturday, taking my mum, brother and niece out to lunch, we did some shopping and went over to my brother’s place so that my son can play with his cousin Miki.

We came home quite late that Saturday, and so decided to spend the Sunday at home doing our chores and taking care of the home, which I think has been neglected due to our never-ending stress at work! LOL!

Opps! I am digressing again! LOL! *grin*

Anyway, I finally completed the bag at about midnight that Sunday (I had to stop several times to do the household chores, see to my son’s needs etc. You know all those boring routine stuff that you have to do when at home, right? LOL!)

And here is the `sample’ bag........

As this is the first time that I am making the zipper this way, it was quite tough doing it.

It looked pretty easy, but trying to get it to align on both sides was tough, while trying to fit in the lining of the bag at the same time. I need to find an easier way to do it, but I like how it turned out. I just hope that Idah likes it too.

I have another way to put in the zipper like the way I had learnt at Epal, but it probably won’t be as nice as this one. I guess something that takes more effort to do will surely give better results. What I need to do now is to find a better and easier way to do it.

I kind of like this flowery black and white insert fabric to this bag, though this was not the fabric that Idah chose.

The one that she had chosen is the one on the furthest left in this photo below, which I think will also look really lovely once it is turned into a bag.

There is actually a pocket to the front of the bag, but, because it is all black, it is not that obvious. Maybe that should be good if you want to put something on the outside without it being too obvious.

As for the purse cum make-up bag cum hand phone pouch, I managed to complete the bag at 5.00pm today (took leave to give my MIL a break from baby-sitting Aiman).

It looks more like a handbag than just a purse to put in a hand phone and makeup. I actually designed it to be that way because I thought that maybe Idah might be able to use it to double it up as a handbag without having to transfer her personal belongings to another handbag should she find herself needing to attend a function that requires her to be dressed formally in black or white.

It wasn’t the easiest bag to make though, and I think it has to do with the thick interfacing that I had used for the inside of the bag. The front of the bag is quilted, and I had enjoyed doing the quilting as it gave the bag the body, and made the bag look really nice, if you don’t mind my saying so myself! LOL! *wink*

Should Idah find this bag suitable and to her liking, and I have to make this bag for the second time, I will be using a thinner interfacing for the inside so that it will be easier to work with.

The tough part was the curves on the sides as the thick interfacing was really tough to work with.

I broke 2 needles before I could finally finish the bag! LOL! I almost gave up working on it last night and wanted to just toss it aside and start designing a different purse this morning. But, after a good night sleep last night, I woke up feeling refreshed and determined to complete it.

I told myself that after completing it and it did not turn out nice, I will design a different bag. But now, after having completed it, I think it did not look too bad. *grin* I just need to make a few changes to it to make it easier to work with it though.

The inside of the bag is quite roomy, with 3 compartments.

It could definitely fit in a hand phone, a few make-up items and a medium size purse.

Putting the handbag together with the main bag, they do match and look like they have been destined to be together right from the start! LOL! *wink*

Anyway, now that both ‘sample bags’ are done, I hope to find some time to meet up with Idah to show her the bag in person. I just hope that she likes it.

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