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Bag Seven – Embellished Maximalism

The benefits of actually doing some maths become crystal clear on this build.


Honestly, Bag Seven isn’t even really number seven.  I made a couple more Bag Fives while I was in that groove, so the idea that I did not realize that I needed to check my own basic measurements when I decided to whip out this bag as a birthday gift for my friend Pam Delaney was just stupid.

On a side note, you maybe know about Pam’s father – Jim Dewitt – he’s a pretty famous artist, and Pam runs that business, along with her frame shop in Pt Richmond (San Francisco Bay area) which is a complete treasure trove of cool ass Dewitt artwork if you are ever in the neighborhood.  Make an appointment, she’s not just sitting there waiting for you to drop by with your checkbook.

Back to the bag construction story.

When I made Bag Three, with the front panels that angled to create a funnel shaped silhouette, I was still so new to bag construction that I hadn’t decided I was a know-it-all and could just throw all that out the window and start cutting fabric.  In reality I was so stoked to be using that animal print chenille, and even more stoked to be using my fancy new prong rivets and dinosaur appliques and the like that I just spaced on the concept of making a bag that would be the shape of a bag and look like a bag when it was finished.

So there I was, about to start sewing the pieces together, when the light bulb went off, and it occurred to me that this wasn’t going to work out right.  Luckily that light bulb was shining just bright enough that I got out the tape measures and a pencil and paper and realized that I was in deep shit and better think of something fast.  So I added the contrasting side panels onto the bag and everything worked itself out.  It did not end up as the exact silhouette that I was aiming for, but it’s a great looking bag – and super sturdy as far as glammed up tote bags with dinosaurs and animal print and stripes and plaid and all that can be.

I really like peeking into the pockets of the bags and seeing the linings done up in a contrasting fabric.

That’s not the only detail that I love but it’s one of my favorites.  When I am pulling fabric for each bag, I spend a lot of time working out the little details – what kind of contrast lining, what color hardware, will there be hand sewn beads and if so what shape and size, that sort of attention to detail.  It’s what makes my pieces special, and takes them outside the realm of ho hum every day and elevates them.   

This bag has an exterior slip pocket on each side, one interior slip and one interior zip pocket, a lobster claw key fob keeper, and a cinch strap top closure.  It features rolled handles, and it was meant to have the vegan leather panel trim across the entire bottom quarter, but that didn’t end up happening after the miscalculation.  It’s got my trademark wooden amoeba feet, so the bag wont get wet or dirty unless you stick in it a deep puddle of mud.

No precision cuts.

If you’ve ever shopped at a big box home improvement store, you know their stated intention is “no precision cuts”.  Whilte it’s supposed to mean they don’t guarantee precise cuts, when you look at hand cut bag parts – strap connectors and other repetitive pieces that really should be precise and the same for each repetition on the bag, it’s pretty easy to quickly fall into complete despair over the fact that your sh*t never matches perfectly.  If you don’t have OCD, or you don’t care, kudos to you.  I bought a Silhouette Cameo 4 so I can duplicate my vegan leather parts and get an exact match on them every time.  I was surprised at how expensive these things are but I am definitely delighted with how well they work.

This bag was meant to be 16H, 15W, and 5D.  I’d have to check with Pam to see what the actual dimensions turned out to be. 


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