One foldover clutch two ways

February 17, 2012 § 2 Comments

Hello! It’s been a crazy week at work and an even crazier one in my sweatshop. Surprisingly enough, I did manage to finish everything on deadline in both “jobs” (just please don’t drop by unannounced because my house looks like a tornado just went through it) and now I can post this week’s finish.

For someone whose bag over the years has been a shapeless oversized carry-all, I am turning out to be quite the bag lady. (Excuse me if you catch me oggling your bag on the train or bus. I am not planning to steal it, I swear. Oh okay, at least just the design :D) I’ve been obsessed with how foldover bags are constructed, so this week’s challenge was to finally make one – actually, two. But because I am me, the best motivations are the challenge of a tight deadline, a schedule waaaaay past my bedtime, and making it special enough to give as a gift.

I like the Lee who crafts. She’s a planner, highly methodical, has a good case of OCD and likes to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I wish she stayed around for the mundane stuff, like house chores. But she’s very choosy about what she does, so I’ll leave her alone to do what she does best: making things.

First, choose your materials. I did a Peter Jackson here and did two bags at one time. Same lining material, different outer fabric and embellishments. One would be black with white lace, the other a spiral blue and purple print. Once you’ve chosen your outer fabric and lining material, cut two pieces each to 12 inches x 18 inches. Your final clutch size will be a bit large and envelope shaped, so you might want to adjust the sizes according to your preferences. Just be sure you have enough length to fold the bag over once finished.

I was very caught up making these bags that I didn’t take as many pics as I usually do for a step-by-step but I think you’ll get the idea. If not, here’s the basic foldover bag tutorial from Noodlehead. Pictured is one of the linings. I used a very flimsy sateen fabric for the lining and lightweight cotton for the outer fabric but I wanted the clutch to hold its shape well, so I used some interfacing. That’s the white stuff you see there over the red lining. I also learned to add a zippered pocket to lining this week from the lovely Lisa Lam, so these bags should be quite functional, with room for coins, keys and mobiles. I finished both linings first and set them aside. Now for the outer bags.

The bags themselves will probably take you about 2 hours to make, tops. What bogged me down was the embellishments. Did I mention that Crafty Lee is astonishingly patient? The lace on the black bag was just the beginning. I wanted to use Modge Podge (which for glue, I found out, is quite expensive at AED 56 a 236 ml bottle) but I experimented on this beforehand and found out I didn’t quite like the finish, so it was back to trusty fabric glue. You can even sew this on, but I didn’t want to risk my machine having another tantrum because of me mixing the wrong materials together.

Now for the other one. I originally planned for the blue bag to have a huge floppy, sparkly bow as its centrepiece.

Yep, there’s me putting on the sparklies one by one using fabric glue and nifty pliers. Yes, there’s an applicator that makes life much easier for noobs like me. But at AED 160 (about $35-$40), it didn’t feel too crafty for a tool I would use very rarely. But that’s not the funny part. I set it out to dry and went to bed, woke up in the morning and decided I didn’t like how it looked. So on to something different.

You could get the tutorial for the fabric flowers at My Sparkle. Shireen, the very supportive guinea pig for the black clutch, told me I needed to figure out my costings now so I could start putting a price to these things. But you now see my dilemma. It’s not a matter of wasting materials and time, it’s about getting it right and being happy with the results for me at this point. We’ll figure out the practical matters once OriginaLee is ready to open its doors 🙂

My newfound sparkle fetish satisfied, now it’s all business.

Sew the outer fabric and lining together. Once you’ve done the whole turning the bag inside out routine, you’ll want to iron the edges so they’re crisp and straight. Take note of the side where the zippered pouch is on. I wanted that side to be against the body when my giftee’s clutching the clutch, so you’ll know which side to foldover and iron.

For the black one I had to put on the lace embellishment before sewing it together. For this one, since the flowers would obviously make ironing the bag difficult, the detailing came later. Whenever you decide to put on your embellishments, at this point you’re about done.

I know a lint remover is invaluable in making sure your projects end up nice and neat. But my inner cheapo just couldn’t stand the idea of spending for something that’s not an actual tool, material, or has more than one use. So I McGyver-ed a lint remover using 3M tape and four oddly shaped fingers. Works perfectly well. Just make sure you don’t use tape with a sticky kind of adhesive, then you’ll be adding extra embellishments to your stuff that you didn’t plan for or want.

Finally . . .

I love it! I think I’m actually jealous and should make one of these for myself 🙂 Happy weekend, mah peeps!


And here begins the madness

February 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Two ladies, two gifts, two days; and this is where it all starts. It might look a bit pro-ey but trust me, that’s now. After learning that I did not like taking out huge bolts of fabric and putting them back in place neatly. I have finally learned the value of swatches. I really shouldn’t be posting works in progress since these are supposed to be surprise gifts but I felt like such a slacker not having posted anything today, so there – not being a lazy cow, actually doing things. Now excuse me while I get back to business. See you on the other side.

Grocery bag . . . well, bag

February 8, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’m on the fence with this one. I like the concept of recycling plastic bags and I admire the patience of crocheting it to make it something else, but . . . I think it’s because it doesn’t really become something else? Just a better-looking bag? In any case, I still love the eco-friendly effort, even though the last thing I crocheted was a friend’s dreadlocks. Have a look over at and maybe we can come up with some other way to recycle grocery bags.

My mama’s flan

February 4, 2012 § 4 Comments

Today was crazy bag making day, slowly ticking off the items on my must-make list. I made this:


Modesty Fashion has the tute for this Anthropologie inspired bag on Cut Out and Keep. Then I also made the final version of the practice bag I made last week, adding oversized rivets this time.

While deciding what handle to make for this one, I’m taking a break to enjoy Number One on my long list of comfort foods: leche flan, the kind my mama used to make. When I was a kid, she’d make leche flan for very special occasions and upon my very persistent request. While I’ve learned to make it myself, it makes me miss home and family so much I avoid making it unless I’m seriously homesick – which for no apparent reason I am right now. So here’s my mama’s surefire recipe for joy:

1 can condensed milk (I used a 395g can)

1 condensed milk can of water

4 egg yolks

That’s it. Mix together till smooth, strain into a steamable container. Steam for about 15 minutes, let cool, refrigerate for an hour or two (or until you can’t control yourself any longer) and enjoy a little sweet taste of home.

Toby’s new pad

February 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

My friend gives names to inanimate objects. Just putting it out there. Toby is Meagan’s iPad. Originally I had just planned an update on the gadget organizer I made earlier but I came upon a beautiful piece of lace and an idea for a bag handle that I just couldn’t pass up. Besides, my last project was very butch, even for me, so it’s time for something pretty. Here’s what I used.

Check out the A Gift for Vida post for specs and how-to for the organizer. I just made a slight revision, after all we learn from our mistakes.

As I found out, felt doesn’t unravel. I didn’t need to hem in the seams (sheesh, noob). Also, pins can only pin so so much material together. Luckily I found these cutesy mini clothespins and they do the job pretty well. On to the carry-all.

Cut two pieces of fabric, 30 inches X 15 inches. I used cotton canvas for the outer fabric and a very lightweight cotton for the inner fabric. Since my main piece for the outer layer of the bag was this beautiful scrap of lace, I decided to leave that as it was and chose a grey, black, and white distressed rose print fabric for the inner one. You’ll have to cut a hole for the handles on top. I made mine 6 inches wide and 6 inches high. Sew in the seams of this “hole”. I kept my seams about a quarter inch wide. When that’s done, put the wrong sides of both fabrics together and sew the edges.

This was almost a disaster for me because I remembered to keep those seams I sewed earlier open at the last minute for the handles to go through.

Now for the pretty part. Let me introduce you to my new best friend.

Oh Satwa, is there nothing that can’t be found in you? I found out about fabric glue just a couple of days earlier and it was right there on the first shop I visited. It’s great for stuff you’d otherwise have a difficult time sewing on to your projects. I used it to cover up the rough edges of the lace with satin ribbon. You should leave it to dry for sometime so I took this as my cue to go to bed. And then I woke up to this:

Yay! Now only the handle/ribbon is left. Meagan has a tendency to hang her bags over her arm so I wanted the handle to be short enough to do that but still be adjustable in case she needed a longer handle for some reason. I cut a strip of medium weight cotton about 45 inches long and 1.5 inches wide and made a strap/ribbon type thing (yes, very technical indeed!). I originally thought of using a light cotton jersey but then I realized this thing had to be strong enough to handle (no pun intended) an iPad, wallet, mobile and various odds and ends that could most probably weight about a kilo or more.

Put this carefully through the holes you’ve made, tie the ends in a ribbon, and ta-dah!

Vewy pwetty and functional to boot! You know you’re on to something good when you can’t help but grin like an idiot as you work and really like what you are able to make. Have a happy weekend peeps! Me and my hem gauge are going to be quite busy churning out OriginaLees.

Oh, I made something after all

January 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

I just realized this week wasn’t entirely lost. I did make a practice bag that turned out quite well (for me, anyway). I wanted to do this really pretty bag I saw on Designsponge but didn’t have eyelets, rivets and the leather strap. And no, I wasn’t just being lazy. I travelled an hour to THE craft store but they didn’t have   any of those. But I thought this was just a practice bag anyway and I didn’t have to do it exactly as shown. I really just wanted to learn how to hide my stitching by using lining.

So, no eyelets? Improvise and learn a new skill along the way.

I realized my sewing machine can make buttonholes! I have a good feeling these stitches are strong enough to handle a wallet, a book, keys, a mobile and a pack of cigarettes.

I also added a pocket inside, just for practice, and maybe for my keys and loose change too. Then I added straps.

I think it works. But just to be sure (because I plan to make a better version of this as a gift – yes, one of the 4 must-finish projects of the weekend), I’m going to take this baby out for a test run. Thankfully my shopping buddy is a nut about oversized bags so if this falls flat I’ll have somewhere to put my stuff in 😀 Happy weekend peoples!


Yes, it is made from extra fabric from my curtains and my first dress 😉

The “Do or die” weekend

January 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

So here’s me, once again taking on projects much larger than I am. My dining/cutting table just wasn’t big enough for this one so I had to use my coffee table, which is thankfully hardcore enough to handle all 50kg of me.

I confess, I’ve been lazing about all week with unfinished projects lying around. My excuse was I didn’t have all the materials I needed. Well finally the day has come that I can’t use that as an excuse any more and have set Sunday as a deadline for myself to finish 4 projects, one of which is the one that barely fits my coffee table. Why such a tight deadline, you ask? Because I AM NOT SANE.

Anyhoo, I’ve found out that I can be quite efficient once I do get my butt off the couch (granted, my TV shows haven’t finished downloading yet). This weekend’s system is to get all the prep work on all projects done first and at the same time. That includes cutting, interfacing, and ironing out the seams. All that’s left for me now is to sew everything together (and for such a momentous occasion I have cleaned and oiled my machine in preparation).

Much as I would love to spend all day sewing, there is such a thing called life and it is calling me away so I’ve got to put all this aside for the moment and go out. But tomorrow, tomorrow, my friends, is most definitely a full on sewing day.

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