Earlier this month I signed up for Sew, Mama, Sew's bag swap. I've never done a craft swap before but I was feeling confident enough in my sewing skills to give this one a try. Perhaps I was a bit hasty in making that grand assessment of my skills because I had a devil of a time with the pleated clutch tutorial I tried to follow from A Lemon Squeezy Home.
My partner's description of her preferences was very vague: "I like reusing materials in new and interesting ways. My style is a little punk rock..." Hmm, not much to go on especially since my definition of punk rock style might differ from hers and the rest of the world's. Even after contacting her directly she seemed content with being mysterious and wanted me to come up with something that reflects me. Such pressure! My detail-oriented brain initially recoiled in terror and I worried I'd wind up making something she'll hate until I realized that she's probably easy to please if she's willing to leave it up to me. It was sort of freeing to be able to come up with whatever inspired me based on that tiny bit of information.
If you know me, you'll know that I agonized over the fabric choice for ages. First to choose the main fabric for the outside and then to find just the right fabric to pair with it. I picked up the fun skull fabric at Jo Ann Fabrics and found the purple and gray striped fabric in my stash. For some reason it makes me think of an old-timey circus although I have no idea why. Perhaps it resembles the stripes on a colorful circus tent? The combination of fabrics is strange but appealing, at least to me. Hopefully to my swap partner as well!
Because I personally prefer something small and subtle if I'm going with a bold or strange fabric I opted to make her a clutch, which is something I've never made before but have been meaning to make for myself. What better excuse to push myself and try something new? The pattern I chose would put my zipper- and piping-sewing skills to the test but, again, I was willing to give that a go. Well, turns out I needn't have worried about those as both turned out perfectly. The problem was the pleats, which I think I messed up by not keeping the fabric even enough while folding down. As a result the pleats were loose and wouldn't hold once the bag was all done. After several failed attempts at undoing stitches and re-doing the pleats I was forced to give up and start from scratch. Good thing I like the fabric so much since it looks like I'm stuck with a deformed clutch of my very own. Because the back piece was un-pleated I was able to flip the clutch over and see how lovely it would be even without those pleats, so on my second try I omitted the pleats and made the clutch a little longer. One of these days I might go back and try to get those pesky pleats right but for now I'm very happy with the clutch. The piping's a nice detail and I like that I was able to feature two fabrics on the outside for a little contrast.
My lucky find was a package of metal Halloween studs in the scrapbook section of Michaels. I saw no reason why they wouldn't work on fabric too so I adorned the clutch with a tiny silver skull. Love the little guy!
So we'll see how my first swap turns out. While I'm sure I'll like what she's made me, I'm hoping that she didn't put weeks of work into it while I whipped hers up in a weekend. But then that's how I tend to sew so it's not as if I didn't put hours of effort into it on top of all the time spent planning and shopping for the right fabric. Bottom line is I'm happy with the bag I've made and hope she is too.
Demonstrating that I have no idea how to properly hold a clutch