Thursday, June 27, 2013

I love you. I want you. I want some tea, please.

For years, I never carried a purse.  I'm really more of a keys-and-ID-holder type.  But, now I have kids, and, kids require stuff, particularly when you're out in public:  tissues, sunscreen, clarinet reeds.

(Wait.  That's just my kids?)

Standard-issue ID holder.  (Black)

With the litany of new Scrip cards and library cards, I barely have room for my collection of VIP membership cards to the local fabric stores, which has forced me to upsize from my trusty ID case to one of those clunky old checkbook jobbies the size of a Birkenstock.  (Just happened to notice as I sit here lamenting my un-moisturized heels that my clog and my wallet are effectively the same size).

New(ish), clog-sized wallet.  (Black)

Add this to our recent upgrade from "dumb phone" to iPhone, and it turns out the $4 purse I bought at Michael's last year on a whim just won't cut it anymore.  To give you an idea of how dire my accessory dearth is, the only two purses I own are this black one, and the beige one just like it I bought at the same time:  

Sad-sack Michael's purse.  (Also black, shown here with its beige buddy).

So, I got to thinking...  Why not MAKE a purse?  I've got all this beautiful fabric stashed away in my sewing room.  Surely, I can find a pattern for a purse that I like!  Right?  RIGHT???

Um, no.  Actually.  Not so much.

I don't like floppy purses.  Tote bags, yes, but purses, no.  I want my purse to have structure.  Enough structure for me to snatch my clog-wallet in and out without issue.  Enough structure that the OtterBox case my husband bought to ostensibly protect our new phones won't also simultaneously maximize its adhesion to every possible surface under the sun.

Also, I want a zipper.  Maybe a magnetic closure, but even that's a little too "peek-a-boo" teaser for me.  If I'm carrying private stuff, I'd like it to stay private.

Finally, I want a shoulder bag.  Not a handbag.  Not a clutch.  If I wanted to inflame my arthritic "hot-dog fingers," I'd just carry my crap around in my hands, the way I used to.

So, I know what I want:  a structured shoulder bag, with a zipper, big enough to hold a clog-wallet and smart phone.  I narrowed and narrowed and narrowed my search, and eventually landed on THIS.  WITH tutorial (bonus!):

Cute, right?  (And, GREY!  Branching out a little, yes?)  Bag and tutorial by Arina Rasputina

Which I LOVE.  Super-cute, somewhat conservative, and I can customize the strap length so I can wear it over my shoulder but tuck the body of the bag under my arm.  Discreet, not too showy, and big enough to lug around all of my goodies from home.  There's only one problem.

The tutorial is in Russian.

(Of course it is).

Now, it turns out, I speak a little Russian.  VERY little Russian, and unfortunately none of the sewing variety.  I can say, "I love you."  "I want you."  And, "I want some tea, please."   But somehow, phrases like, "Insert the exterior right-side-out into the interior, right-sides-together," never came up during my Russian-speaking phase.

So, Google Translate to the rescue!  (Sort of).  Translating metric units to English was no problem.  I use metric for a living.  Working out the mathematical ratios used to determine the size of each pattern piece based upon desired measurements of the final bag was a tad trickier, but I managed.  Unfortunately, now that I've arrived at the meat of the tutorial-- construction of the body of the bag--I'm kind of at a loss:

"Add up the details of the basics and wrong sides of the padding, glue the middle of a spider web, and in places fillets.

Note the four sides midway parts combine, cutting away. Durable double thread sew details over the edge.

!Joint width should not exceed the size of the allowance, or after grinding parts on the outside of the car will be visible hand stitches!"

I don't know about you, but the exclamation points lead me to believe that this is KIND of a key passage.  And, I clearly don't want my hand stitches to be visible once I'm finished grinding parts on the outside of the car.  


Thankfully, there are a number of photographs to go along with the text, which are quite useful, until you come to sections like this:

"Turn inside the bag, stripped by hand, wrapped in a towel.   :)  (unfortunately this process is impossible to photograph)."

The smiley face translates.  The fact that this process is impossible to photograph translates.  And, yet I'm pretty sure this woman didn't complete her bag wrapped in a towel after stripping by hand.


So.  In light of my stubborn streak, I will likely continue to chip away at this until I work it out, one way or the other.  In the meantime, if anyone knows of a great tutorial for a structured shoulder bag, with a zipper, big enough to hold a clog-wallet and smart phone:

Я люблю тебя.
Я хочу тебя.
Я хочу чаю​​, пожалуйста.