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So if you read the post about the last purse I sewed, you’ll know I have A Thing for leather messenger bags. Which is to say I love them and my idea leather messenger bag is the unicorn of purses and does not actual exist in the world (much less for a price I’d be willing to pay).

Being the crafty sort, this of course means I have to make it myself. While my ideal purse is soft, supple red leather lined with a funky cotton print and an adjustable strap, the one I finished making yesterday is closer than I’ve gotten yet:

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I’m pretty pleased with this one. It’s very sturdy and sits up on its down (as opposed to the last one which just sort of… squished). The pink leather is from a swap claim and I got it with a bunch of other fabric samples. The lining is blue canvas, which I got at a thrift store. Which means the total cost for this purse was like… a dollar. Actually, it’s a little more because I broke like, three sewing machine needles in the process (at a couple of points, I had to sew over three or four layers of thick leather and Leah, my sewing machine (pronounced LEE-uh, like the girl’s name) was Not Having Any of That).

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I actually managed to plan ahead in some places, so there are pockets on the sides:

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It’s top stitched mostly all around, including the strap (which, despite the messy stitching on the blue side is actually really awesome), which I think looks really good cause I have a desperate love for top stitching.

There is one place where it is not top stitched though.

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I tried for like an hour and a half to sew the strap into this side. The thread kept breaking and I broke a couple of needles and the layers of fabric were too thick… it was a nightmare. And then I gave up and glued that sucker in there.

I used a really strong fabric glue called Fabri-Tack, which is machine washable (not that I would machine wash a leather bag but still) and will basically glue anything to anything forever. I mostly use it for felt because it doesn’t get absorbed like most glues do with felt, but it’s also amazingly strong. I’ve been yanking on the strap where it’s glued into the bag side and it isn’t budging. I suspect I’ll have to re-glue it eventually, but for now, I’ve thrown all my stuff in the bag and it seems to be holding up pretty well.

So: yay, new bag! I am also still working on the gigantic man socks (up to the heel turn!) and I should have some swap stuff soon. I finished and sent my Whedon package (and the one to me has been sent), plus I signed up for another round of Ongoing Wish Swap and made a claim. So yay! Swap!

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I made a thing! Out of fabric! And it’s not a shark!

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It’s a new purse!

See, here’s the thing about purses. I love messenger bag-style purses. I love the flap for securing my belongings while easily allowing me to get in and out. I love the cross body strap so it stays in place and doesn’t fall off my shoulder. I love that it is wider than it is tall so I can find stuff relatively easily. I love messenger bags.

The purse I was using before this one is also a messenger style bag. It’s the one I got from the Rainbow Swap on Craftster after I was flaked on and had to have an angel. I adore that bag and I’ve used it for a couple of years–it’s sturdy and I love the side pockets. The problem with that bag is A, it’s just a tick too small and B, it’s a really casual bag so it doesn’t really work for occasions where I have to put on a pretty dress.

I have SCOURED thrift stores and regular stores and online, and it is absolutely impossible to find the exact purse I want as I see in my head. In my mind, it’s about 10″x12″6″, adjustable crossbody strap, flap closure, side pockets and inner pockets, and made of red leather.

That bag does not exist. It doesn’t exist for $20, it doesn’t exist for $200. It does not exist (not that I would pay $200, but still). Enter solution: I make my own damn bag.

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I love this one, but it’s still not exactly what I want. This is more formal, but still not right. Still, it was good practice and should I happen upon some cheap red leather (probably in the form of a thrift store skirt or jacket), I’ll be able to make the one I really want.

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For now though, this one is super cute and I love it. The outside fabric is an interesting gold/silver (depending on the light) brocade, which I picked up at a thrift store for about $2 for around 3 yards (hell yeah). The lining is two different brown cotton canvases, which I got at the thrift store for about $.50 each (around half a yard of each). I didn’t have enough of either fabric, but they go together well enough that I used both.

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I constructed the bag similarly to how I made tote bags, which means that it’s totally reversible and there are no exposed seams anywhere. The whole thing is top stitched (oh how I love top stitching), including the strap, which is a thing I don’t normally do but love how it looks here.

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So basically, I’m totally in love with my new bag. Now back to shark mittens.

I finally received my swap package from Rockmygypsysoul on Crafster, and it is rockin’:

KICKASS tote:
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Sweet coasters:
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Stitch markers:
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She used almost all of my quotes between the bag and the coasters, and the bag has such a great shape. Because I know you can’t read it, the quotes on the bag are:

“The one you love and the one that loves you are never ever the same person.” (Invisible Monsters)
“You know that old saying about how you always hurt the one you love? Well, it goes both ways.” (Fight Club)
“We are not special. We’re not crap or trash either, we just are. We just are, and what happens just happens.” (Fight Club)

And now, here are the things I sent to her:

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Notebook made completely from scratch (recycled cardboard, white paper, decorations from stash). Interestingly (I think anyway) it’s sewn together with dental floss–I wanted something stronger than thread but didn’t want to buy anything new. Stash item ftw.

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A set of notecards made from computer paper and construction paper. The quote on them is “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I will always be with you.” (AA Milne). They were lots of fun to make.

And finally:
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Tote bag made from red houndstooth fabric, a flowery bedsheet (the lining), and felt. I used this awesome-strong fabric glue so I didn’t have to fiddle with sewing on the letters, though I did cut them out free hand. The quote that this goes with is from the West Wing and is something to the effect of, “Victory is mine! Victory is mine! Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land!” The muffin is a t-shirt scrap and a scrap from a thrifted curtain.

Stay tuned for one more swap, which is finishing up soon.