Friday, May 20, 2016

Glenda Convertible Clutch #2

I finished this sewing project a few days ago, but I couldn't show it to you until now because it was a (belated) birthday gift for my "boss" (a.k.a. Jess - you know, of How About Orange fame? the fabric designer? not to mention, also my daughter), and she had to see it first so this post wouldn't spoil the surprise. 

Now it would hardly be much of a gift if it were made from her own fabric, right? So I chose to use something different (very different!) this time. Well, for most of it, anyway.

Here is the Glenda Convertible Clutch, from Swoon Patterns. I've made one before, and if you want more details about it, you can read the post about that one here. This one has some firsts for me. This was the first time I've put a turn lock into a bag. It was pretty easy to do, a lot like putting in a magnetic snap. It was a little scary cutting a big hole right in the flap of the bag, but I was very careful, and it worked out well. I think it adds a lot to the plainness of the fabric, don't you?

It was REALLY hard getting good photos! There was so much contrast with the dark fabric, and the fabric itself was... well... you'll see.

The strap is adjustable for shoulder or cross-body, and it's also detachable if you want to use the bag just as a clutch. (Look closely at that fabric!)

The lining of the bag IS one of Jess's fabrics... barkcloth from her In Theory line. The center of the bag is a zipper pouch that divides the bag and draws the sides into a nice little pleat.

Now, here's the most exciting part of the whole project! The outer fabric is actually cork! Yes, real cork! It came directly from Portugal. I ordered it from an Etsy shop called Orkideas. The seller was great - she shipped it immediately, and it only took 10 days to get here. I love that she also included tiny samples of her other colors of cork!

Yes, it's expensive. Very expensive, as far as fabric goes. But I've seen so many gorgeous bags and great reviews about it in the few months since I first heard about it, that I just had to give it a try. (And this was, after all, a very special birthday.) The fabrics are soooo pretty - photos don't begin to do them justice. Will I be buying more cork? I think so. Definitely not a lot, but I might just have to have a bag out of it for myself. Now, which color??? :)

The cork is a thin layer, and it's backed with fabric, a lot like pleather. It also handles much like pleather. Consequently, I once again appreciated my Wonder Clips!

My old sewing machine's bottom stitches don't look quite as nice as the top ones, so to make the strap (above) I had to very carefully clamp the strap so that the edges butted tightly together in the middle, and then sew it from the top side, hoping things stayed together like they were supposed to. It worked! Whew! I think I held my breath all the way along every row of stitching! (Not really - it's a long strap, and I went pretty slowly. I needed to breathe.)

Doing it that way, so there were only 2 layers to the strap, I was able to get it through the slider to make the strap adjustable. Those two little tabs next to the strap below were what gave me the most trouble of the whole bag. They were sewn into the top seam to hold the D-rings for the strap attachment, and they made for some VERY thick layers to sew through. But my good ol' faithful 46-year-old Kenmore came through for me again (even if I did bend one needle and have to hand-crank very slowly through those thick spots). I don't even know how many layers that was... something like 10 or so... and then folded over again for the final topstitching. Yikes!

The cork is navy, but so dark it mostly looks black. Below is a photo I took out in the sun, just to see what the color did there. It's probably the most accurate of all the pics - at least it looks blue.

This was a great project, albeit with some challenges. Would I do it again? Yep! And I just might, because I really like the bag and might eventually make one for myself.

Jess received the bag yesterday. She knew it was coming, but she thought it was going to be made out of pleather. She was surprised and excited about the cork fabric, and I do believe she loved the bag. ;) She took some more photos for me, to try and capture the fabric color and texture, also for a little size reference. Here are her pics.

I hope by now you get a little idea of what cork fabric is like, even though the photos still don't do it justice. Below is a photo taken by photographer Alex, for a little more size idea for you.

I'd say that's a pretty pleased look on her face, wouldn't you? That makes me pleased, too. :)


annie dee said...

So amazing! It's gorgeous! You are so brave to try such a difficult fabric. And yes she sure does look pretty darn happy!

Grandma G said...

Thank you, Annie Dee! I think my bravery came more in the cost of the fabric than its difficulty. It really wasn't that hard to work with. But I sure didn't dare mess it up! :)

Verna Groger said...

What a gorgeous bag! I want to make things with cork also and really appreciate your tips, especially about how to do the strap with less bulk. Always love to see the things you make and the special touches you add. :)

Grandma G said...

Thank you, Verna! I appreciate your taking the time to leave a comment. Yes, do try cork - I suspect you'll love it, too!

Geneviève Thiffault said...

What a fantastic bag you made, great work! The texture and the color of the cork truly is beautiful.

Will making one more for yourself be your reward? ;)

Grandma G said...

Thanks, Gen! I like your reward idea! :)

kathy said...

Cork. Love it. I'm pretty sure I need it in every color too.
I only have two colors so far.

Grandma G said...

Well, Kathy... it's nice to 'have' cork. The question is, have you made anything out of it yet? Or are you just collecting it? ;)

Jenny said...

What a cool fabric(?). I had no idea you could buy cork like that. And it makes for a stunning purse. At first I thought it was a suede leather. You should definitely make something for yourself! As for which color... I'd personally pick something in green (I'd say more than half of the purses in my liftime have been green- It's my favorite color), but that coral color in the upper left of the samples would be pretty (although maybe a bit bright). Maybe a mix of two colors? That's easy to say when I'm not the one paying the bill. :)

Grandma G said...

Thanks, Jenny! It does almost have a suede feel to it, very smooth and soft. And it's supposed to be very durable and easy to wipe clean. Too bad you picked a color that wasn't there! :) But I have seen greens elsewhere. I've been eyeing that dark red, because I've seen bags made with it... but they're ALL pretty!

LiEr said...

Very gorgeous! As earlier said, in my email. Very nicely done, GG! I commiserate on the thick strap bits. There have been times when I've sewn particularly sticky vinyl (not all vinyl is sticky, even in thick layers; just some) and given up machnining altogether, and just left long trailing threads to finish by hand. And yes, almost always, these are at the strap-seam-foldover junctions. Methinks it's time to invest in an industrial lockstitch machine, you and me both. I'm betting you have more room in your house than I in mine. Kick out a few cows/cats from the garage/barn/shed/field and make room for yours, while I er... er... hm. I guess I might have to wait till my kids are in college to get mine.

Unrelated, I am beginning to be won over by my own Wonder clips. I didn't love them at first, since I'm not a big pinner to begin with, preferring to just ease the fabrics along under the presser foot. BUT! Those wonder clips are great for just holding things together on my sewing table to keep different fabric stacks /bag sections organized! Truly a wonder.

Grandma G said...

Thank you, LiEr! I don't know about the room for that industrial machine. I've already been thinking I need to do some major purging before I get anything new. ;(

Yes, Wonder Clips have so many great uses... I find more all the time!