Friday, October 26, 2007

I could make that! Episode 1

Maybe you've seen them adorning the underarms of various celeb fashionistas; I give you the Poppie Couture Fold Over clutch. It seems to be your basic trapezoid of fabric with a wire frame closure. What makes them distinctive is the funky fabric choices and their $350-600 price tag.

This bag really isn't that different in concept than the LaRue Bag from Hot Patterns. This one is designed specifically as a clutch, however, and has a 4" wide base.

So, how would I chose to replicate such a bag? Well, first I would find myself some really awesome pleather, or even genuine patent leather on pig skin. Fabric Mart has five of these left for just $25 and the one skin would be enough to make at least one clutch, with enough left over should you want to make a two-toned version. Heck, Fabric Mart even has the metallic/pearlized leather in two versions should you like to jump on the the gold/silver bandwagon that's so hot right now.

The website gives the measurements of this bag upright as 11x12x4 and folded as 11x6x4. I've looked for patterns and, well, they are slim pickings when it comes to clutches with this shape. However, all is not lost as the solid colors are just two pattern pieces (symmetrical sides and the bottom. We can determine through the bag descriptions that it is 12" tall and 11" wide. These are generous dimensions and should comfortably hold what you need. Grab your ruler, pencil and a couple of sheets of tracing paper and get crackin'!

Pattern piece one: Bag front and back
This piece is going to be kind of trapezoidal, since by examining the sides, you can see that the front and back are sewn together without a side panel piece between. We want our finished width to be 11" at the top and bottom, but we have to account for the slight triangular nature in the lower half of the bag. Also, we're going to do this a la Burda and add seam allowances later.

1. Draw an 11" line representing the top of the bag. Measure down 12" from each end and mark your paper. Draw the vertical lines on each side the horizontal line on the bottom. You should now have an 11" by 12" rectangle in front of you.
2. We can see that the triangular shape of the bag begins at roughtly the half-way point, so on the long sides, measure down 6" and mark.
3. We know the bottom piece is 4" wide and we want a center seam. Therefore, we want to extend the bottom of the panel by 2" on each side, since once sewn, the bottom will be 4" wide. Measure out 2" on each side from the bottom corner and mark.
4. Now draw a line connecting your vertical mid-point (6" on the side) and the new bottom corner.

You should have a pattern piece that looks like a rectangle on top of a trapezoid.

Pattern piece 2: Bag bottom
1. Draw a 4" x 11" rectangle. Easy enough right?

Please note my line drawing, courtesy of MS Paint, is not to scale. However, the numbers are correct.

Add seam allowances to your pattern pieces, probably no more than 0.5" to avoid bulk.

1. Roughly 1/2 yard of fashion fabric and 1/2 yard of lining. More if you want to add a pocket or something.
2. The same amount of interfacing, depending on your choice of fabrics. I would imagine skins will need less than lighter weight fabrics. One interesting feature about this bag is that it is advertised as being able to be flattened completely.
3. You would need an internal flex frame of some sort. I found a 12" one at, which would require extending the width of the bag by an inch. Entirely do-able, I think.
4. A bag bottom, probably card board or hair canvas if you can find it. Since the designer bag is collapsible, I imagine it shouldn't be too stiff.


Since I'm not sure I actually want this bag, I decided I would only make a prototype out of paper, and at half scale, no less ;-) After playing with it for a bit, I think the proportions are correct since it looked pretty good folded over. The thinness of the paper makes it look a little funky when upright.

What do you think? I think I could make it!


Adrienne said...

I think you could make this too!!!

coolobreeze said...

Perfect instructions. I just may go over to Fabric Mart for a skin or two.
Thanks for the excellent instructions.

rosanne said...

Coolobreeze, if you do make it, let me know and post a review on Pattern Review so we can see photos! I am on the lookout for good remnants and if I find the right fabric, I'll post the construction. Adrienne, I bet you could make it! How about some red suede since you seem to like red?

Anonymous said...

I have this bag and its much more intricate than suggested here. I recommend buying one instead of going through all of this only to end up with a far inferior product. This is a real hi-end piece.

rosanne said...

Hello anonymous visitor! I would agree that the original is more intricate than I described. However, the basic shell is just as I wrote it. I did so as an exercise, just for fun. Poppy bags are really cute and innovative in concept, which was what caught my eye. My little paper version is just to see if the basic design was correct, which would argue it is. I'm sure that the designer leather has been interfaced with a mounting fabric, lined, and has a pocket or two inside and has a specially designed frame at the opening. Bag making is a special talent all its own, and sometimes it does pay to go and buy the original. Other times, it's just as much fun to try to recreate the trendy piece of the moment :)